"While larger social movements may raise consciousness about the need for renewal in society, it is the smaller social initiatives, usually developed by small groups in communities, that do much of the renewing".Henry Minzberg, author of Rebalancing Society.
1. As far as possible, keep the group centred within the parish and made up of parishioners. Forming social and spiritual bonds are easier when you see each other regularly at Mass and at parish events. The parish will also benefit from your regular and committed presence.
2. Make sure the monthly social and spiritual activities are calendared on the same day each month e.g. Eucharistic Adoration every first Saturday of the month; drinks at a local pub every second Sunday. This ensures that interaction becomes habitual; it also encourages commitment to the group.
3. Don't be afraid to start small. Two men are enough to start a group; more will eventually join. Nonetheless, growth is important - growth in numbers, growth in knowledge and faith, growth in participation in the Sacraments and in parish life.
4. Actively invite other men. "Come and see" was a key phrase in Jesus' ministry; people respond to a personal invitation.
5. Make a clear distinction between activities that are primarily social and those that are mainly spiritual. The pub is for your relationship with one another and the church is for your relationship with God. However, a solid instructional programme like Bishop Baron's 'Catholicism', followed by drinks and discussion, is often a good way to bring men together.
6. Find a good spiritual director such as your parish priest or an experienced deacon. This will support your group's spiritual accountability in regularly attending the sacraments and Eucharistic Adoration, reading scripture and developing a strong prayer life.
7. Preferably avoid determining the nature of the group beyond the Four Foundations we recommend. The Catholic Church is universal and encompasses everyone. Men should be free to come and go, to participate or not, without any sense of coercion or the need to adhere to a specific code. A man can be a Knight of St Columba or a member of the Legion of Mary and still freely participate in his parish men's group - or vice versa. That said, all members must be open to accepting and putting into practice the teachings of the Catholic Church, in fidelity with the Pope and the Magisterium.
Subconsciously, many men know that fraternity will make humbling demands of them. It will challenge them to do the things they should be doing, but don’t because there is no one keeping them accountable. Isolation makes us inert, inertia makes us susceptible to temptation and sin, and sin further isolates us from our brethren and from God. Continue reading
For Catholic men's groups to have real meaning and purpose, they must follow the example of Christ and reach out to all on the periphery, saying Come and see! See what it means to be welcomed, to be accepted as you are, to be part of something bigger than oneself, to experience fraternity, moral support and shared faith. Come and see what it means to be a Catholic man, an authentic man, a beloved son of God. Continue reading
As far as possible, keep the group centred within the parish and made up of parishioners. Forming social and spiritual bonds are easier when you see each other regularly at Mass and at parish events. The parish will also benefit from your regular and committed presence. Continue reading
Aren't Catholic men's groups just a handful of old men clinging to the final vestiges of a dying faith? Aren't the Knights of St Columba or the Catenians some vague, shadowy sect your grandfather belonged to? Isn't it, well, a little un-PC to talk about men-only groups these days? Who knows what they get up to behind closed doors! Continue reading