Any ideas for a guy looking for a men’s group? I recently left the Cursillo because of the heavy push for evangelisation. I enjoyed the fellowship and theological discussions and miss them now. I told the members of the movement when I started that I was not an evagelical person, but still they pushed me in that direction. It finally came to a head when one of our guys in our group called me out for not evangelizing in the workplace. This person had confided to me about a year prior that he was let go from a job for evangelic action in his workplace.
I am now finding it difficult to find a men’s group to meet my needs, or a group at all. I have three school age children and work full time. My calling in life is very obviously to be a husband and a father. The priority for my time and energy is my wife and kids. I need fellowship with other Catholic men, but I cannot commit to any leadership roles. I don’t need others pushing me constantly.
Am I trying to reinvent the wheel by looking for another group? Should I try to find others in the Cursillo movement?
The problem with Cursillo in many areas of our country is that it has become “Americanized” (another name for “watered down.”) It was originally intended for community leaders, not everyone. And, unfortunately, it became more of a cliquish thing as time went by. An “exclusive club” if you will. That as never intended.
We are all called to “evangelize” but that doesn’t necessarily mean going around knocking on strangers’ doors or standing up on a chair in the middle of the office at work and preaching. LOL. We are to begin first and foremost within our “oikos” or our immediate circle of family and friends. And, most effectively, we do this by prayer, sacrifice, and our example. St. Francis once asked one of the brothers if he would go with him to the town square and evangelize. The brother said, “Sure.” So, they went to the town square and walked around quietly for a while. Then, they started back home. The brother asked St. Francis, “But, I thought we were going to evangelize?” St. Francis looked at him and smiled, and said, “We just did.” “Preach the Gospel everywhere, and when absolutely necessary, use words.”
I’ve been looking for a good spiritual group to join, too, but I live in Protestant Alabama, and commute a good ways to work every day, so there’s hardly any time. Most of the folks I know are busy, too I do work near EWTN, though, so I’m able to go to Confession and Mass there every so often. That’s a blessing.
Now, keep in mind why we need a spiritual group. For group prayer, study, and action. Action could be “plotting” for the conversion of a friend or loved one. Deciding together as a group to offer daily Rosaries for a week for someone. I say my Rosary every day. Commuting makes it a little easier. That sort of thing. Helping to build the Kingdom of God in our oikos. And, yes, part if it, too, is holding one another accountable for our spiritual lives. If we see someone starting to stray, we gently and in all charity nudge him back on the “straight and narrow!” Maybe offer him a ride to church when they’re having Confessions. LOL
it would certainly be best then not to join a group like Cursillo that has evangelization among its primary purposes. Rather surprised you did not realize this when you joined since they are very up front about it.
Find out if a parish in your area has That Man Is You, a men’s group out of Houston which is flourishing here. website is the same name.
Couples for Christ (CFC) is a movement intended for the renewal and strengthening of Christian family life. The members have committed themselves to the Lord and to one another so that they may grow in maturity as men and women of God and fulfill their primary vocation of raising up families under the lordship of Jesus Christ and for the service of the Kingdom of God.
FAMILY LIFE RENEWAL
An offspring of one’s personal renewal and the deepening of relationships between spouses is the call to bring Christ to the other members of the family. The CFC Family Ministries is Couples for Christ’s response to building the Church of the Home. The family ministries look to the spiritual dimension of our life in the Lord. It focuses on internal formation and is designed to help us grow in holiness of life.
CFC Kids for Christ, CFC Youth for Christ, CFC Singles for Christ, CFC Handmaids of the Lord and CFC Servants of the Lord provide a support environment for every member of the family. A person moves form one ministry to the next, as his state of life changes. Thus, the whole life of a person while on this world is covered.
We started last fall. We meet at 6:00 AM on Wednesdays. Over 100 men have registered, but only 40 or so show up every week. We always have a light breakfast and drinks. At 6:15, we open with a prayer, make a few announcements, and begin showing a video. The video lasts 30 minutes. After that we break up into small groups (5-10 men) and discuss the topic until 7:15 AM when we are dismissed.
It is run by a “core team” of men. Their responsibilities are to get the facilities ready, prepare breakfast, have name tags for everyone, assign people into small groups, lead the small group discussion, clean up. No one has to be a leader up in front of the group. The curriculum and presentations are all provided by the TMIY organization.
Is it work? Sure. Will some things get missed occasionally? Yes. Has this raised the spirituality of the men who attend? ABSOLUTELY!
I encourage you to look into this. It is not a “hard sell” program. It mostly focuses on making men better fathers and husbands by recognizing our natural leadership roles and filling those responsibly.
I remember a few decades ago back in the early 1980’s I was asked by a friend who was a member of the Catholic Cursillo Movement to join this so called exclusive men’s group in the Church parish I attended then. When I approached the leader of the group he took one look at me and said; Your Not Our Type. That said it all for me.
Sure it may have been this unorthodox negative Christian Catholic having an ugly hair day but I’ve never looked into the exclusivity of Catholic Cursillo movement since.
Just my views…but put yourself in my experience.
When I attended the weekend I very much got the feeling it was an elitist group. I remember discussing that with my wife that when it was over.
They were not up front with me that it was an evangelic organization. When I was invited to go on the weekend everyone was very evasive in their answers about the content of the weekend. I went because I was looking for lay organization to help my spiritual development. I very distinctly remember being disappointed early in the weekend when I found the level of emphasis on evangelizing.
We have a deacon who is the spiritual advisor to the organization. He attended the weekend. I discussed my concerns with him one on one. I told him that I understand when someone is exposed to the true there is a natural desire to share it with others, for some it is their calling share the gospels with others. I am comfortable that it is not my calling. It was disappointing to find out that the movement was not what I was seeking.
Several weeks later I got a phone call from a member who invited me meet with his spiritual group. I had an lengthy discussion with him sharing the same things I told the deacon. He told me there are two types of evagelizers: St.Paul and St. Joseph. He said that I was St. Joseph. Meaning that I lead quietly by example and action instead of preaching. That was the source of my discomfort with the Cursillo.
I still needed some type of spiritual fellowship so I reluctanly started meeting with this group. Supposedly they understood that I was not called to be a St. Paul. I got to know them and bonded with them in many ways, but there was always some concerns. They frequently discribed themselves as “militant” Catholics. They saw themselves on a “mission” to teach “true” Catholocism to others. We had one guy who was truly in the church police mode. He was frequently seeing a need to go to the pastor and tattle that someone wasn’t doing something right. He was very comfortable correcting someone elses behavior “out of love for that person”. He eventually left our group and started his own, because we weren’t “doing it right”. A couple of the older guys were constantly talking about the way it used to be. I was beginnng to see that much of what they thought was evangelizing was really just busy body behavior.
I have three kids, a wife, a full time job, an 86 year old mother and several brothers with emotional/spiritual problems. One of my brothers died from his alcoholsim last year. All of these things take up most of my tme and energy. I did not need the Cursillo group trying to change me from St. Joe to St. Paul. Especially when supposedly they understood that I was not called to evangelize. It came to a head when our leader called me out one night for “not preaching Jesus in my workplace”.
When I told him that I was withdrawing from the group this guy told me that there is nothing else out there to fulfill what I was seeking. Unfortunatley I know he is right. I have not found another group for fellowship. I live close to three large parishes. None of them have a mens group. One parish has some Small Christian Communities. I was told by the adult formation director of that parish that SCC communities were generally older people and that they probably would be resistant to new members. Wow!! She suggested the Knights to me. I am member of the Knights in my parish and do activities with them, but that does not fulfill my spiritual needs.
I have enough faith to know bring my problems to him and trust him. Maybe I just needed to vent until He presents the answer to me.
That Man is You began in Houston TX
our parish is on the 4th year, and participation grows each year as “graduates” take over and run it. Has resulted in stronger families and marriages for the men involved (and at least one member is discerning a vocation) and has energized leadership in the parish, because it is not composed of the “same six people.”
If you get an interested core group of 2-3 in your parish, contact them and they will help you get going, including communicating with your pastor and answering his questions.
II think it is wonderful that as a father and husband you realize the importance of surrounding yourself with other faithful Catholic men. So many Catholic men like Peter Herbeck, Curtis Martin (The Crossing the Goal Team), Terry Barber and Jesse Romero have a great radio show called “The Lord’s Gym” (St. Joseph communications) and Steve Wood (dads.org) are speaking out about how men need this support.
Have you looked into the Knights of Columbus? Also, there might be a Catholic men’s conference coming your way. I might not be a single mother now if my own spouse had surrounded himself with faithful fathers/husbands instead of more worldly influences. As Doug Barry says, you are the first line of defense for your family and it is a spiritual battle. Fortify yourself and protect them.
I am a woman, but here is something I have done. A group of us, Catholic women, started
meeting once a month on a Sat. morning at a local restaurant for breakfast and discussion of books of a spiritual nature. The discussion not only involves the book but our spiritual growth. Every one of us shares. We don’t get into theology, doctrine, etc., just our own reflections. What I like about it is that it keeps me on my toes spiritually, and I feel accountable to others in the group for keeping up with my reading and reflection. There are only 7 of us, which is a perfect size for small group discussion. We chose the restaurant venue because we are from different parishes, and because we did not want to burden anyone with hosting, providing food, etc., and we like the fellowship of sharing a meal. (We also like to eat).
What I am saying is that you can start your own group of Catholic men to fellowship with. You can meet as often as you like, and format it as you wish. It can be as big or small as you like, but it seems that if you go above 7 or 8 people, you don’t get to know everyone as well, and time becomes more of a factor, which might inhibit some discussion.
I might also add that I am a Cursillista and also attend a group reunion, but I have never experienced anything like anyone taking charge of the group, or calling anyone to task, etc., except for one instance in which a member was openly committing a serious sin and harming herself. We had to speak to her about that, but it was done without anyone acting as if they were in charge, and with love and compassion. The person did stop the behavior and come back to the Church. But that is entirely different than what you experienced, which is someone putting themselves in a position of authority. I would have probably left too. Cursillo’s focus is evangelization, yes, but not in-your-face evangelization or prosetylizing. You use the gifts the Holy Spirit has given you, and in your own environment in the manner best suited to your gifts, and there are a variety of ways to do it. Everyone is different and that should be respected.
I hope you can find what you are looking for. It is important for Christians to meet and suppport each other.
Here in Boise, ID a group of 4 men including the parish priest started meeting at 0600 on Tues morning about 5-6 years ago. We start promptly at 6 am, have a sharing of a (God moment) during the past week, or whatever is going on in our world that might be of interest to the others-Christian related, then read the main reading for next Sunday, and finally break up into small groups and discuss the readings.
New members continually join, some drop out for various reasons. It has become a vibrant group and most of the men who come every week would not miss it. There is no formal anything, sometimes not even a leader, but no matter. We do have priests and deacons also attend, just like any other man.
Our group has spread to all of the other churches in the city. The Holy Spirt is with us.
I was in a group at the Catholic Church as I was going through RCIA called “M.A.L.E. (Men As Leaders and Elders) Spirituality” that discussed the “teachings” of Fr. Richard Rohr. I wasn’t even Catholic and I saw big problems with what was written and discussed.
This prompted me to study the faith for the last three years and this trepidation has only increased. Father/Mother God, no blood atonement, and various eastern religious and Native American spiritualities with a Catholic name devoid of Catholic content.
I would suggest starting ones own group and I would start one myself, if able, (disabled back problems hence the time to study the faith) with the myriad of real Catholic books and sources. Reading moral theology books now has really helped to determine my acts as to the level of sinfulness and culpability and the book by Fr. Brian Mullady “Both a Servant and Free” is a great primer on this subject. It would be a great book for a study group as this subject is the number one problem since Vat II, man as a servant or man as free, that is, obligation vs freedom. The truth is both. Great book. A study group using the Bible Timeline by Jeff Cavins would be incredible if the church helped pay the 400$ for the DVD’s, or less for the Cd’s. It really opened up the Old Testament to see the New in a more complete way.
Volunteering at RCIA was good for me when I could do it as you get to help a newbie and the course is general in its content where you can add the specifics to help the catechumen live what is taught. Fun stuff until the deacon brought in Fr. Rohr teachings. Oh snap.
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