Finally: An Attractive, Powerful Program for Catholic Men
Men's ministry ("The King's Men") reaches men where they are at and launches them into a new, integral, active experience of Christ and the Church.
"When mature Christian men get together and talk about their responsibilities, their lives, their dreams, and their struggles as men, their spouses, families, and children are the definite beneficiaries... and that's the true sign of a Christian group."
Rev. Msgr. Michael T. Mannion, S.T.L., Pastor/Rector, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden, NJ
The need it meets
Men today are besieged by attacks on their purity, integrity, and even on their masculine identity. This ministry educates, heals, strengthens, and launches men to be integral Catholic leaders.
Where it came from
In 2004, three men met at a Theology on Tap in Philadelphia, where author Christopher West was speaking about the Theology of the Body. The three began meeting to discuss Church teaching, offer each other weekly accountability, pray, and receive the sacraments. Soon they began inviting others to join their weekly meeting. They met with Bishop McFadden on March 2, 2006 to propose their concept of "The King's Men." Shortly thereafter, they met Father Phillip Chavez, SOLT, who was also interested in developing a spirituality and leadership program for men. They organized a men's conference in July, 2006, entitled "The Quest for Masculine Spirituality." It attracted 86 men from 7 states. The King's Men began its full-time outreach to men on August 28, 2006, the feast day of its patron, St. Augustine.
How it works
The King's Men is built around four "prongs" or facets: education, formation, action, and healing.
Education: focus on the universal masculine call to be a leader, protector, and provider. Means: quarterly one-day conferences, retreat weekends, days/evenings of reflection, chastity education.
Formation: help men live out their masculine vocation via weekly "accountability group" meetings. These are parish based. These 90 minute meetings include prayer (the rosary), catechesis, and accountability. Facilitators guide each group. The catechesis uses six books which draw heavily from Scripture and the Catechism:
- "Boys to Men: The Transforming Power of Virtue" by Tim Gray and Curtis Martin.
- "Signposts: How to be a Catholic Man in the World Today" by Bill Bawden and Tim Sullivan.
- "Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul" by John Eldredge.
- "The Way of the Wild Heart: A Map for the Masculine Journey" also by John Eldredge.
- The field manuals for both Eldridge books.
Action: the goal is to put an end to pornography in their local area, mainly through apostolic and political initiatives which are explained on the Web site.
Healing: the goal is to free men from sexual addiction through one-on-one counseling, mentoring, small group accountability, seeking the guidance of priests, and encouraging frequent reception of the sacraments.
Since the apostolate was founded, over 200 men and more than 15 priests have attended.
Increased sacramental life. 75% of the men who come to the meetings are now going to confession monthly.
Increased devotion to Mary.
Vocational discernment. One man entered the Dominicans, another applied to diocesan seminary, and several more are actively discerning.
Active apostolic involvement. At least 20 to 30 of the 200 men are regularly evangelizing, engaging in pro-life protests and anti-pornography work. They are understanding that to grow as a man, they need to be bringing their faith into the public sector.
Better marriages, stronger communication with spouses and children, increased responsibility in fundamental duties and relationships.
- Having a priest on board to support the work and hear confessions.
- Having a place to meet.
- Promotion. Letting the women know about it can help, since they can encourage the men in their lives to participate. It also helps to have a forum to address the parish, with a table after Mass or a brief 5 minute talk before the final blessing.
How to implement it
- There is a two-page document online at www.thekingsmen.us entitled: "How to Start a Men's Group in Your Parish."
- The pastor should choose 2-3 men with a lot of zeal who can spearhead it for the parish.
- Call Mark Houck for long-distance guidance on starting the program (267-980-5507).
Rev. Msgr. Michael T. Mannion, S.T.L. is pastor of
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.