In my first article, I mentioned that my wife and I began regularly attending Mass around the time we began thinking about having children. After several months of this, many big questions began to dawn on me about aspects of my life where I was falling short – partly from ignorance and partly because I foolishly thought I had things figured out. After Mass one day, a man named Tom came to give some announcements about a new program they were starting at the parish: That Man Is You!
He explained that the program was a men’s fellowship, which focused on helping men to become better husbands, fathers, and men after God’s Own Heart. He closed his speech by saying that he was going to be in the back answering questions, and that he was looking for help to coordinate the program. Sitting in the pew, I felt a strong sense that this was going to help me answer some of those tough questions and might equip me better to know the faith. I leaned over to my wife and said that I wanted to find out more about the program.
I found out that the program’s founder, Steve Bollman, presents a different class each week focusing on a different aspect of the faith. After the 30-45 minute DVD session is over, the men are encouraged to break up into small group sessions to discuss the topic, share their experiences, and dive a little deeper into each topic. The topics covered in the first year ranged from a discussion about a man’s role in the family and how he can practice his faith in a more meaningful way. The lessons were all framed by looking more closely at Scripture, Biblical examples (and counterexamples), and modern examples of authentic leadership in action today.
Quickly thereafter, I had volunteered to help Tom coordinate the program largely because I had the necessary skills of knowing how to operate a DVD player. I mused to the priest that I had never volunteered to actually do anything outside of normal Mass attendance before. He remarked that it was the Holy Spirit that urges us to get up and participate, and that many people ignore that nudge. He praised me for being willing to help out. More than a year later, I’m very glad that I did.
The best parts about the program for me is the discussion groups that form after the DVD lesson completes. It was there that I got to sit and listen to life-lessons from men in their 70’s and 80’s, different perspectives from men in their 40’s and 50’s, and I gained some friends in the process. It helped me to get to know some of the people within our parish much closer, and again… this was something that I never really got to experience before. In my past, the people I knew at Church were my family members and maybe a few Catholic friends that I went to high school with. It was (and is) refreshing to have that situation change.
The That Man Is You! program started our second year’s worth of classes last month. I am pleased to report that things are going very well, and we have started a second session on a weeknight so more men can participate. If you are interested in how to participate, you can search for a parish near you running this important program.
Also, I want to take a second to thank my friend Tom for allowing me to help him coordinate and run That Man Is You! at our parish. It has been a great blessing to my family!