Men’s ministries in American Catholicism are multiplying and inspiring fervent devotion and even activism, writes Dwight Longnecker on the Catholic news website Crux (May 27). At the turn of the millennium there were 16 Catholic men’s conferences; today there are more than 100 nationwide. The renewal of Catholic men’s ministries is also taking place at the parish and national level. Pastors and laymen are starting their own groups with larger organizations such as the National Fellowship of Catholic Men, That Man is You!, and the King’s Men, which offer content and guidance for the local expressions. Longnecker adds that, “much of the talk within the Catholic men’s ministry is militant. Speakers enthuse about spiritual warfare and call men to be soldiers of Christ and his cross.”
For example, Catholic catechist and body builder Jared Zimmerer delivers a “Catholic version of muscular Christianity, while football coaches Joe Hyland and Joe Lombardi headline as conference speakers linking the battle on the gridiron with the Catholic faith.” There is also a “Warrior’s Rosary” used in such gatherings that feature medals of five saints for battling the devil. Other programs, such as the King’s Men, hold wilderness retreats and seminars promoting chastity and anti-pornography messages. The men from these programs often are motivated to work through their parishes in evangelism, charity, prolife, social justice and other family issues, Longnecker concludes.