What Men Are Saying
Over the years we’ve heard from many people about the impact of men’s ministry in the faith lives of so many men. Hearing these experiences in their own words helps to tell the story and convey the importance of men in community.
Fr. Joe - CT
My participation in Men’s Ministry has become an important part of my own prayer life as well as my homily preparation. I meet regularly with a group of priests for support, insight and shared faith experience, but this gathering is different. Reflecting on the Sunday Gospels and listening to a great variety of men who are husbands and fathers from our parish connecting the Gospel with their life and faith has been a great inspiration for me. I am regularly inspired by the questions that the men ask and the insights they offer in our reflection and conversation. It is not formal, “churchy” or artificial. Just men who believe and who take religious faith seriously, talking about the Gospel and how they believe God is working in their life. I am a better man of faith and a better priest because of this ministry. I strongly recommend it!
Bob L. - CT
“6:30? A.M.? They’re kidding!” Those were my thoughts as I politely declined an invitation to attend a Men’s Ministry session a while after they had started. Then the prospects one week of a “late” start (8:00) and free breakfast broke down my resistance. That was in November 2015 and I’ve missed only a few meetings since. Why? Because the sacrifice of rolling out of bed that early on Saturday is far more than offset by the rewards gained by it. The unique opportunity to share the thoughts, experiences, and insights of a group of fellow Christian guys has helped me improve a sorely lacking prayer life and reinforced my attempts to live a more faith-filled life as a disciple of Christ. These rewards are concrete and I gain so much more than I give. I’m hooked. And “Thanks”, guys.
Tom L - NY
In 1973 I lived a Cursillo (Short course in Christianity) week-end. Prior to that time I was a “fill in the squares and I will get into heaven” Catholic. For the first time I had a real relationship with Christ. I saw Him present and alive in other men. I no longer just attended Mass, I was present to it. I heard the scriptures as never before. Men’s Ministry has helped me keep my new found faith alive, enriched my faith journey, and yes, see my brother Christ in other men.
“The Men’s Ministry is a chance to connect with other men about ways to make my life more meaningful. It is a chance to explore my relationship with God in a personal way, with help from the Gospel and some theological context from religious scholars. It is a way to assure I come back to God each week to reflect on the blessings I have, and the life I want to lead.”
– John G.
“Men’s Ministry is a weekly dose of humility and perspective which I can depend on. Our unique experiences are bound together by common struggles and questions. Perhaps I’m more aware to how the presence of God can emerge from ordinary conversation.”
– Fred W.
“Men’s Ministry” from the reflections of a Sister of Mercy who is a Spiritual Director
During the past 45 years, persons have been requesting me to offer them spiritual direction. This ministry has taken me throughout the three diocese of our state, to many other dioceses in our country and abroad.
While initial preparation to become a “spiritual director” requires in-depth study especially in Scripture, Theology and Prayer, now, after 45 years the term has become mellow with age and experience. To walk with another on their journey of faith becomes ever more simple: “We are walking each other Home to God every day”.
I have experienced this faith deepening in the lives of dedicated lay women and men, married couples, religious sisters and brothers, Catholic priests and clergy of various denominations. In these journeys of faith-deepening, I have discovered something unique as it emerges from the men involved in Men’s Ministry.
Listening to several men share their “take-aways” from the Saturday mornings, three experiences are significant: a) The content of the Men’s Ministry meetings opens doors of faith as an ongoing deepening of one’s relationship with God; b) Faith at its core is relationship, not a work. Such a perception touches all aspects of a man’s life. This can be new, challenging and all-encompassing for a man. Resistance can be an initial reaction. Such resistance requires further honest probing and discovery of one’s faith life; c) The process of each Men’s Ministry session is vital. It requires further honest probing. Through the large group presentation, accompanying prayer and honest small group sharing, men hear other men in their attempts to share their faith journeys.
We live in a present-day culture where men know that they cannot stand alone. They need others to listen, to share, to agree to disagree and to deepen and mature their faith. Emerging from Men’s Ministry, men move to other experiences of faith deepening, such as: small group sharing of their everyday experiences of God; spiritual direction where a man shares with a trusted and prepared other their ongoing home to God in everyday moments. The reality of Community lends support, encouragement and challenge to men in a culture where faith appears silent."
Sr. Jane Silk RSM
Men's Ministry grounds me in The Word. It is a weekly landing spot that allows me to reflect on my life and connect with other men experiencing similar things in their life. It helps embolden me to be a better husband, father, son, brother, worker and member of our community.
– Patrick F.
Men’s ministry has played a large role in deepening the spiritual life of our parish. Every Saturday of the year at least 20 men come and let the Scriptures shine a light on their lives. They share deeply, build community and then work for the parish in many ways. This ministry has been grace filled.
– Fr. Dave
“Our group is inter-generational which provides a foundation for rich diversity in our review of the weekend's scriptural readings. Often our sessions encourage me to review long held ideas and, at times, to modify them. They're always a great spark plug to start the weekend.”
– Jim T.
“Men's Ministry has grown to be a critical influence in my continued faith formation and development. Our weekly discussions of the gospel and how we are called to be living examples of God's love in every aspect of our lives -- as husbands, fathers, grandfathers, parishioners, friends, co-workers, brothers and/or many other roles we may fill as men in the world today -- are helping me to realize more peaceful, joy-filled moments in my life as I LIVE my faith more fully and discern God's purpose for my life. Whether or not I have anything to offer the conversation on any particular week, I always leave Men's Ministry meetings inspired to live my faith more fully in the week ahead!”
– Dave K.
“One of the things I like about my “job” is that people regularly share with me their spiritual journey, their faith, their questions about life and its meaning and the things that really matter to them, which is to say, their “inner life”. I love to talk with people about these things and feel blessed whenever someone shares their “inner life” with me. It is not easy to talk about and it can be difficult to get the words to express that dimension of who we are, but it is such a rich experience when you do it. Many people (often women…sorry, but it’s true) will say that men don’t talk about such things. While I understand that opinion, I have had so many great conversations with men about such matters that I strongly believe that men want to and in fact do talk about such things. This is one reason why I initiated our Men’s Ministry group: to give men an opportunity to talk with other men about the things that concern them, the things that really matter and to do so in the light of our faith. It has been a great experience to both lead and be part of, to spend time with other men for whom faith is important and to grow in faith together through our conversations, reflections and prayer. (I also get some great homily ideas out of our conversations!)”
– Father Joe
“I joined the men’s group last year. I found a group of men that were honest & open and willing to share their faith experience. I experienced a close relationship with all of them. It was an opportunity for me to deepen my faith and become more aware of a common spirit that we all share.”
– Gene R.
“Simply stated, Men’s Ministry reminds me each week that I am not alone. It reassures me that, there are other thoughtful, moral, Catholic men that go through similar struggles; whether they be at work, outside on the street, or at home with our wives and children. Often, these same men make better choices in dealing with these same struggles and I am humbled on a weekly basis. Men need to talk about these things and our culture doesn’t promote this type of discussion among men.(Insert joke about “locker room talk” here….) Seeing and hearing the experiences of similar minded men has been invaluable to me. In addition, discussing the scripture each week also deepens my connection with the reading at Sunday Mass. I feel like I spend less time listening and more time understanding the gospel.”
– Rich M.
“Men’s Ministry is a gathering of men where age, education, type of employment, and marital status are unimportant. We are companions on the journey - all are welcome in this place. What binds us together is the wisdom and strength we receive from each other as we share our struggles as we follow Christ, in today’s complex culture.”
– Larry G.
“Men's Ministry is my spiritual filling station. During the week as the hills get a little steeper, the curves get a little longer, and the headwinds get a little stronger, my spiritual tanks begins to run low. Lo and behold comes Saturday when we brainstorm together the scriptures and commentary, and surely my spiritual tank is being refilled, and I regain my focus, my thoughts are once again God centered.”
– Charlie L.
“Being a part of Men's Ministry provides me with perspective and insight to faith in my daily life. It helps me to find points in my daily existence where God is present. Being a part of the group gives the opportunity for reflection on questions that have both depth and meaning. The group at Men's Ministry is friendly, smart and supportive. I am always happy when I take the time to make it, and am a better person for being a part of this group.”
– Ray W.
“Thanks to Men’s Ministry, I have the opportunity to discuss daily experiences, from interactions at the grocery store to challenges at work to all manner of family matters, and reflect with other men in light of our shared interest in the teachings of Christ. Without formality, our conversation goes back and forth between question and experience: Is there anything of God in this experience? Is this related to God working in my life? Does this experience effect how I understand my faith and religion? Thank you, men of Men’s Ministry, for waking up early each Saturday to venture into the philosophical, theological, and often ‘hard to put into words’ conversations. Our discussions have enriched both the scope and depth of my faith.”
– Glenn D.
“Men's ministry has meant so much to me these past many months. A refuge in the storm of everyday stresses, a source of strength to keep persevering, a beacon of holiness to remind me I'm not alone and that like-minded men of faith continue to seek wisdom and guidance. I'm buoyed by the prayers and friendships. I'm spiritually stirred to seek the Lord in everyone I meet. I'm challenged daily to be a better Christian Catholic... All just by being a member of this group. Most of all, I'm thankful for the amazing examples of humble servant leadership exhibited by all.”
– Joe C.
“Evangelization has been a recent topic at our Men’s Ministry discussion tables. This conversation had always seemed somewhat esoteric to me. Seeing men from our group attending Sunday Mass with their wives, children and at times, Grandparents, has given me a vibrant model of public displays of faith. I now try to play this example forward in various secular situations.”
– Jim T.