Catholic Family

Men’s groups have started to blossom in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Men’s groups have been cropping up across the archdiocese, and there’s probably one near you. Some meet for breakfast, others in the evenings. A few even encourage the men to bring a beverage to enjoy. As G.K. Chesterton wrote, “In Catholicism, the pint, the pipe, and the cross can all fit together.”

It’s no surprise that wives are pushing their husbands out the door for these groups. On the Milwaukee Catholic Mamas Facebook group, numerous women commented that their husbands are getting a lot out of these groups. Lynn from St. Charles in Hartland believes the Thursday Morning Men’s Group has helped their entire parish, while Monica, Katie and Sarah of St. Dominic’s report “That Man Is You” on Friday Mornings has been helpful for their husbands and their family life. More women recommended the groups at St. Anthony in Menomonee Falls, the Basilica, St. Stan’s, St. James in Mukwonago and Holy Trinity in Kewaskum.

My own husband began attending Catholic Man Cave at St. Monica a few years ago. In addition to finding strong friendships and solid Catechesis, I have noticed how it has made him more comfortable in his role as a Catholic father.

Our communities need good men. Ministering to and forming men is vital for the health of the Church.

Fr. Richard Heilman of “Roman Catholic Man” points to a study published in 2000 which  showed that “It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.”

He goes on to state that the study found if a father doesn’t attend Church, “no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions — only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper. If a father does go regularly, 75 percent of the children will continue as churchgoers.” It seems, more than anything, as goes the father, so goes the family.

Men are called to engage in the spiritual battle before them, but they need not do so alone. In 2015, Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix released an apostolic exhortation to the men of his diocese.  In it, he outlined seven basic practices he charged them with keeping. In addition to daily prayer and examination of conscience, Mass attendance, reading the bible, keeping the Sabbath and going to Confession, Bp. Olmsted calls them to build fraternity with other Catholic men, writing:

“Catholic friendship among men has a dramatic impact on their faith lives. Men who have bonds of brotherhood with other Catholic men pray more, go to Mass and Confession more frequently, read the Scriptures more often and are more active in the faith.”

Proverbs tells us: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (27:17)

Bishop Olmsted continued: “I call on each of our priests and deacons to draw men together in their parishes and to begin to rebuild a vibrant and transforming Catholic fraternity. I call on laymen to form small fellowship groups for mutual support and growth in the Faith. There is no friendship like having a friend in Christ. “

We’ve all heard that you are the company you keep. Keeping company with others on a similar journey toward Christ helps everyone stay on the path.