Guns N' Rosaries Mission

Through fellowship, education and charitable acts we seek to reclaim our Christian baptismal inheritance as Priests, Prophets and Kings. Priests are known throughout Scripture for giving sacrifice, so we seek to sacrifice our lives for Christ through donating ourselves to others, particularly our families. Being a Prophet means to speak on God's behalf. Through educating ourselves in Holy Scripture and Catholic Tradition we aim to articulate Truth through the way that we live and speak about the faith to others. Kings have three primary tasks; (1) Lead his people into battle, (2) Look after widows and orphans, (3) Care for the poor. We participate in this kingship by picking up the daily fight against personal sin and in particular by caring for the poor through personal relationships and material help for those in need. In order to achieve this mission we invoke the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Joseph.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pope Francis

A synthesis of how the media has misinterpreted Pope Francis - Fr. Pio Maria, CFR


"Look, I wrote an encyclical, true enough, it was a big job, and an Apostolic Exhortation, I´m permanently making statements, giving homilies; that´s teaching. That´s what I think, not what the media says that I think."

–Pope Francis, Dec. 7, 2014


There is so much to rejoice over and repeat from the Holy Father’s words in the Philippines but most of it was lost to us due to media manipulation and to Catholics reacting to the media’s take.

Some Catholics were bothered for the wrong reasons and others were bothered for the right reason; the former taking their cue from the New York Times and the latter from the Holy Father’s words (see: “What happened to the Nice Fluffy Pope Francis” or “Feeling Devastated by this Pope”).[1]

Because of this, I have laid out a few “Did you know?”’s for you to fill out the picture and help keep you from going the way of the lemming.


Did you know that:

• The Holy Father had a special gathering in Rome on December 28 to encourage and praise large families?

“The fact of having brothers and sisters is good for you: the sons and daughters of a large family are more capable of fellowship from early childhood. In a world often marked by selfishness, the large family is a school of solidarity and sharing; and this attitude then becomes a benefit for the whole society.  … The presence of large families is a hope for society. … Dear parents, I am grateful to you for the example of love towards life, that you preserve from conception to natural end, despite all the difficulties and burdens of life, and that unfortunately, the public institutions do not always help you. … Each family is a cell of society, but large families are a more rich cell, more vibrant, and the State has an interest in investing in it. … I always thank the Lord in seeing mothers and fathers of large families, together with their children, engaged in the life of the Church and society. For my part, I am close to you through prayers, and I place you all under the protection of the Holy Family of Jesus, Joseph and Mary.”


Did you know that:

• There is tension in the Philippines between the Church and the government because of the recently passed Reproductive Health Bill?

• The Holy Father called the Filipinos to be aware of, and reject, an “ideological colonization” which undermines and redefines marriage and discourages openness to life? 

Beware of the new ‘ideological colonization’ that tries to destroy the family. … And just as our peoples were able to say in the past ‘No’ to the period of colonization, as families we have to be very wise and strong to say ‘No’ to any attempted ideological colonization that could destroy the family. … The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life.”

[As the Pontifical Missionary, Fr. Bernardo Cervella wrote:

“It is impressive to see the figures of the funds that the UN dedicates to so-called ‘reproductive health’, which includes contraception, abortion, gender education: almost 70 billion US dollars for  Sub-Saharan Africa alone; 1.75 billion for South Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, added to which is the contribution of the World Health Organization which provides 7 billion US dollars a year to prevent ‘unwanted complications of motherhood’ and 16 billion for 2015 for generic ‘care of the mother, newborn, baby,’ which include ‘family planning.’

“The Pope asked Catholics in the Philippines and in the world to combat this colonization. The division created by the controversy about the "rabbits" has overshadowed this decisive message.”]

• The Holy Father broke from his prepared text to praise the courage of Bl. Paul VI in upholding openness to life against those who spoke of overpopulation?


Did you know that:

• When a reporter pressed him on “ideological colonization,” the Holy Father used the example of a poor school that was to be given funding only on the condition that they accept books that promoted a gender theory opposed to Church teaching?  (After that, he brought up the testimony of the African bishops at the recent Synod to this type of colonization.  Then he went on to say that this is the same as the approach that was used by the Fascist youth and the Hitler youth.)

• In the rest of the answer he recommended Robert Hugh Benson’s book, The Lord of the World, on the final battle of the Church and the world, then brought up Paul VI again, and then reaffirmed that “openness to life is a condition for the sacrament of matrimony”? 

“If it can be proved that he or she married with the intention of not being Catholic [on this point] then the matrimony is null. [It is] a cause for the annulment of the marriage, no? Openness to life.”

• It was here that he brought up the Church’s teaching on responsible parenthood?[2]


Did you know that:

• He did not teach that having three children or more is irresponsible? 

• His words were in response to a reporter who brought up the claim that “the poverty in the Philippines is due to the fact that Filipino women have an average of three children each?” 

• The Holy Father responded with the claims of scientists that three is the minimum for the health of a nation to keep it from falling into extreme difficulties and then gave the example of Italy and its underpopulation?

• He brought up responsible parenthood again – as well as the counsel of one’s pastor – in discerning correct spacing of children?

• The Holy Father knows that the Church is derided by its enemies who claim that the Church wants us to “be like rabbits,” apologized before using that expression, and clarified that this is not the Catholic approach?

“Some think that, excuse me if I use that word, that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood!”

• He went on to say that the reason why the poor in question have so many children is not because they are irresponsible but because they are generous and willing to sacrifice since they recognize that each child is a treasure?


Did you know that:

• He brought this up again at the next Wednesday Audience?

“It gave us consolation and hope to see so many large families that welcome children as a true gift of God. They know that every child is a gift of God. I heard it said that families with many children and the birth of so many children are among the causes of poverty. It seems to me to be a simplistic opinion. I can say that the main cause of poverty is an economic system that has removed the person from the center and put the god of money there; an economic system that excludes, that always excludes, children, the elderly, the youth, without work…- and that creates the throwaway culture that we live in. Recalling the figure of Saint Joseph, who protected the life of the “Holy Child,” so venerated in that country, I reminded that it is necessary to protect the families that face different threats, so that they can witness the beauty of the family in God’s plan. It is also necessary to defend them from the new ideological colonizations, which threatens their identity and their mission.”


Did you know that:

• Through Avvenire (the newspaper of the Italian bishops) and his Substitute for General Affairs (Archbishop Giovanni Becciu) the Holy Father has apologized to those who were offended by his words?

“’The Pope is truly sorry’ that his remarks about large families ‘caused such disorientation.’ Archbishop Becciu said the pope ‘absolutely did not want to disregard the beauty and the value of large families.’”



There are five recurring weaknesses which lead some of the faithful to miss all these things:

- being quick to distrust and abandon the Holy Father,

- being quick to criticize and speak ill of him (“with all due respect,” of course),

- accepting too easily the lead of the secular media with its distorted reporting,

- not spending time with words of the Holy Father which the media does not find reportable,

- not reading the context of the words spun by the media.


On “rabbits” and engaging the world

I know couples with large families who felt offended and others who laughed at the rabbits comment.  I also know some couples with smaller families who sometimes feel judged by large families.  We all need a bit of patience and humor.  The Holy Father did not say that generous parents are like irrational animals – I’ve read some who are frothy on this point:  “He’s saying that large families are like beasts that can’t control themselves!”[3] 

It is an inconsistency for us to gripe about the State when it wants faith and life to be sundered in society and then go down the same path when Pope Francis makes us uncomfortable.  “The Church needs to stay out of ‘non-Churchey’ things!”  But this is not our Catholic style.  This “either/or” is a false dichotomy.  The Church will not withdraw from addressing the world.  We have an obligation to help promote the common good and will continue to encourage that good in the world, especially while we have a responsive audience.

St. John XXIII’s intervention led to the end of the Cuban missile crisis.[4]  St. John Paul II’s interventions brought down the Iron Curtain.  Pope Benedict XVI spoke to anyone and everyone (non-Christian volunteers, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, football teams, acrobats, astronauts aboard space stations, Chinese orchestras, etc).  Pope Francis is not unusual in engaging the world.[5]

Misunderstandings are not the worst evils that we face.  Our Lord was often misunderstood and his words were taken out of context.  Closer to our day, there were several times that the words of Pope Benedict XVI became opportunities for confusion (think of the condom controversy in his interview Light of the World and also of his Regensburg lecture).  Misunderstanding can be a great opportunity for sharing the Faith with others who are already talking about it and might not have wanted to discuss it otherwise. 

May the sheep be quicker to defend the shepherd than to throw him (before the eyes of the world!) under the bus.  May these occasions open our mouths to explain the Faith to those who do not know it, and not close them even tighter.


Viva il papa!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pope's Address at Meeting of Families in Manila

Pope's Address at Meeting of Families in Manila

"What a gift this would be to society, if every Christian family lived fully its noble vocation! So rise with Jesus and Mary, and set out on the path the Lord traces for each of you."

Manila, ( | 1814 hits

Here is a translation of the Holy Father's address at a Meeting with Families at the "Mall of Asia Arena" in Manila, Philippines.

* * *
The angel of the Lord revealed to Joseph the dangers which threatened Jesus and Mary, forcing them to flee to Egypt and then to settle in Nazareth. So too, in our time, God calls upon us to recognize the dangers threatening our own families and to protect them from harm. Be attentive, be attentive with the new ideological colonization.

[In Spanish] There is an ideological colonization that we have to be careful of that tries to destroy the family. It’s not born of the dream that we have with God from prayer and from the mission that God gives us. It comes outside. And that's why I say it's colonization. Let us not lose the freedom to take that mission forward that God has given us. And just as our peoples in a moment in their history were able to say no to the period of colonization, as families we have to be very wise and very strong with fortitude to these initiatives of ideological colonization that could destroy the families and to ask the intercession of St. Joseph, who is a friend of the angel, to know when to say yes and when to say no.

The pressures on family life today are many. Here in the Philippines, countless families are still suffering from the effects of natural disasters. The economic situation has caused families to be separated by migration and the search for employment, and financial problems strain many households. While all too many people live in dire poverty, others are caught up in materialism and lifestyles which are destructive of family life and the most basic demands of Christian morality. This is the ideological colonization. The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life.

[In Spanish] I think of Blessed Paul VI, in a moment of that challenge of the growth of populations, he had the strength to defend openness to life. He knew the difficulties that families experienced and that's why in his encyclical, he expressed compassion for particular cases. And he taught professors to be particularly compassionate with particular cases. But he went further. He looked to the peoples beyond. He saw the lack and the problem it could cause families in the future.
Paul VI was courageous, he was a good pastor and he warned his sheep about the wolves that were approaching. And from the heavens, he blesses us today.

Our world needs good and strong families to overcome these threats! The Philippines needs holy and loving families to protect the beauty and truth of the family in God’s plan and to be a support and example for other families. Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself. The future of humanity, as Saint John Paul II often said, passes through the family (cf.Familiaris Consortio, 85). The future passes through the family! So protect your families! See in them your country’s greatest treasure and nourish them always by prayer and the grace of the sacraments. Families will always have their trials, but may you never add to them! Instead, be living examples of love, forgiveness and care. Be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death. What a gift this would be to society, if every Christian family lived fully its noble vocation! So rise with Jesus and Mary, and set out on the path the Lord traces for each of you.

Finally, the Gospel we have heard reminds us of our Christian duty to be prophetic voices in the midst of our communities. Joseph listened to the angel of the Lord and responded to God’s call to care for Jesus and Mary. In this way he played his part in God’s plan, and became a blessing not only for the Holy Family, but a blessing for all of humanity. With Mary, Joseph served as a model for the boy Jesus as he grew in wisdom, age and grace (cf. Lk 2:52). When families bring children into the world, train them in faith and sound values, and teach them to contribute to society, they become a blessing in our world. A family can become a blessing to the world. God’s love becomes present and active by the way of love and by the good works that we do. We extend Christ’s kingdom in this world. And in doing this, we prove faithful to the prophetic mission which we have received in baptism.

During this year which your bishops have set aside as the Year of the Poor, I would ask you, as families, to be especially mindful of our call to be missionary disciples of Jesus. This means being ready to go beyond your homes and to care for our brothers and sisters who are most in need. I ask you especially to show concern for those who do not have a family of their own, in particular those who are elderly and children without parents. Never let them feel isolated, alone and abandoned, but help them to know that God has not forgotten them.

[In Spanish]: I was very moved by the Mass today, when I visited that that home for children who had no parents. How many people in the Church work so that that house can become a home, a family! This is what it means to take forward prophetically the mission of the family.

You may be poor yourselves in material ways, but you have an abundance of gifts to offer when you offer Christ and the community of his Church. Do not hide your faith, do not hide Jesus, but carry him into the world and offer the witness of your family life!

Dear friends in Christ, know that I pray for you always! I pray today for the families. I do it! I pray that the Lord may continue to deepen your love for him, and that this love may manifest itself in your love for one another and for the Church. Don’t forget Jesus sleeping, don’t forget Joseph sleeping. Jesus slept under the protection of Joseph. Don’t forget to sleep is the prayer. Don't forget the prayer of the family.

Pray often and take the fruits of your prayer into the world, that all may know Jesus Christ and his merciful love. Please, sleep also for me, pray also for me, for I truly need your prayers and will depend on them always!

Thank you very much!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pope's Address to Young People

Pope's Address to Young People

"Real love is about loving and letting yourselves be loved"

Manila, ( | 2079 hits

Here is a transcription of the simultaneous translation of the address Pope Francis improvised in Spanish at his meeting today with youth at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.


Dear young friends, when I speak spontaneously, I do it in Spanish. No? Because I don't know the English language. May I do it? [Applause. Yes!] Thank you very much.
He is Fr. Mark, a good translator.

First of all, there’s sad news today: Yesterday as Mass was about to start, a piece of the scaffolding fell and upon falling, it hit a young woman who was working in the area. And she died. Her name is Kristel. She worked for the organization and preparation for that very Mass. She was 27 years old, young like yourselves. She worked for [an organization called Catholic Relief Services], a volunteer worker. I would like all of you, young like her, to pray for a moment in silence with me and then we pray to our [mother], Our Lady in heaven.
Let us pray.

[Ave Maria … Hail Mary]

Let us also pray for her parents. She was the only daughter. Her mom is coming from Hong Kong and her father has come to Manila to wait.

[Our Father who art in heaven]
[In English, from the prepared text:]

It is a joy for me to be with you this morning. I greet each of you from the heart, and I thank all those who made this meeting possible. During my visit to the Philippines, I wanted in a particular way to meet with young people, to listen to you and to talk with you. I want to express the love and the hopes of the Church for you. And I want to encourage you, as Christian citizens of this country, to offer yourselves passionately and honestly to the great work of renewing your society and helping to build a better world.

In a special way, I thank the young people who have offered words of welcome to me.
[listing the names of the youth who spoke] Thank you very much.
And only a very small representation of females among you. Too little, eh?
[laughter. Note: There were three young men who spoke and one young woman, who accompanied the first speaker, a child who had been rescued from the street. She asked the question to the Pope, regarding the injustices suffered by children such as prostitution and abandonment, Why is God allowing such things to happen, even if it is not the fault of the children? And why are there only very few people helping us? ]

Women have much to tell us is today’s society. [applause] Sometimes we are too 'machistas' and we don’t allow room for the woman, but women are capable of seeing things from a different angle to us, with a different eye. Women are able to pose questions that we men are not able to understand. Look at this fact today. She [Glyzelle] is the only one who has posed a question for which there is no answer. And she wasn’t even able to express it in words, but rather in tears. So when the next Pope comes [to Manila], please more girls/women among the number. [applause]

I thank you Jun that you have expressed yourself so bravely. The nucleus of your question, as I’ve said, almost doesn’t have a reply. Only when we too can cry about the things which you’ve said are we able to come close to replying to that question. Why do children suffer so much? Why do children suffer? When the heart is able to ask itself and cry then we can understand something.

There is a worldly compassion which is useless. You spoke something of this. A compassion which moreover leads us to put our hand into the pocket and give something to someone, to the poor. If Christ had had that kind of compassion he would have walked by, greeted three people, and moved on [returned to the Father]. But it was only when Christ cried and was capable of crying, he understood our lives, what is going on in our lives.

Dear girls, boys, young people, in today’s world there is a great lack of capacity of knowing how to cry. The marginalized people weep. Those that are left to one side are crying. Those who are discarded are crying. But [those of us who live a life more or less without needs don’t know how to cry.] Certain realities in life we only see through eyes that are cleansed through our tears.
I invite each one of you here to ask yourself, have I learned how to weep, how to cry? [When I see a child with hunger, a child on drugs on the street, a child who doesn’t have a house, a child abandoned, a child abused, a child used by a society, as a slave]? Unfortunately, there are those who cry because they want something more. This is the first thing I’d like to say. Let us learn how to weep, as she has shown us today [indicating the girl who asked the question]. Let us not forget this lesson. The great question of why so many children suffer, she asked crying. And the great response that we can make today is, let us learn, really learn how to weep, how to cry.

Jesus in the Gospel, he cried. He cried for his dead friend. He cried in his heart for the family that had lost its daughter. He cried when he saw the poor widow having to bury her son. And he was moved to tears, to compassion when he saw the multitude of crowds without a pastor. If you don’t learn how to cry, you can’t be good Christians.

This is a challenge. Jun and Glyzelle have posed this challenge to us today. And when they pose this question to us, why children suffer, why this and that tragedy occurs in life, our response must either be silence or a word that is born of our tears. Be courageous. Don’t be frightened of crying.
Then came Leandros Santos II and his question. He also posed questions. The world of information. Today with so many means of communication we are overloaded with information. And is that bad? No. It is good and it can help. But there is a real danger of living in a way of accumulating information. And we have so much information. But maybe we don’t know what to do with that information. We run the risk of becoming [museum-youth], who have everything but don’t know what to do. We don’t need youth-museums, but we do need [wise youth]. You might ask me, "Father how do we become [wise]? This is another challenge. The challenge of love.
Which is the most important subject that you have to learn in university? What is the most important subject you have to learn in life? To learn how to love. This is the challenge that life offers you: To learn how to love. Not just accumulating information without knowing what to do with it. But through that love, that that information bear fruit.

And for this the Gospel offers a serene path and way forward. To use the three languages: the language of the mind, the language of the heart and the language of the hands. And the three languages, to use them in harmony. What you think, you must feel, and put into effect That information comes down to your heart and you realize it in real works. And this, harmoniously. Think what you feel and what you do. To feel what you think and do. To do what you think and what you feel.

The three languages.
Can you repeat this? To think, to feel and to do. [Youth repeat three times] And all of that, harmoniously.

Real love is about loving and letting yourselves be loved. [It is more difficult to let yourselves be loved than to love.] That is why it is so difficult to come to the perfect love of God. Because we can love him, but the important thing is to let yourselves be loved by him. Real love is opening yourselves to the love that wants to come to you, which causes surprise in us. If you only have information, then the element of surprise is gone. Love opens you to surprise and is a surprise because it presupposes a dialogue between the two, [between the one loving and the one being loved.] And we say that God is a God of surprises because he always loved us first and he awaits us with a surprise. God surprises us.

Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by God. Let us not have the psychology of the computer to think we know it all.

All the responses on the computer screen but no real surprise. In the challenge of love, God reveals himself through surprises.

Let’s think of St. Matthew, a good financier, and he let people down because he imposed taxes against his own citizens, the Jews, to give to the Romans. He was full of money and charged these taxes. But then Jesus goes by, looks at him, and said, follow me. He couldn’t believe it.
If you have time, go and see the picture that Caravaggio painted of this scene. Jesus calls him and those around him said, "This one? He’s betrayed? He’s no good." And he holds money to himself. But the surprise of being loved overcomes him and [he follows Jesus.]

That day when Matthew left his home, said good-bye to his wife, he never thought he was going to come back without money, and concerned about how to have such a big feast, to prepare that feast for him who had loved him first, who had surprised Matthew with something very special, more important than all the money that Matthew had.

Allow yourselves to be surprised by God. Don’t be frightened of surprises. They shake the ground from under your feet, and they make us unsure. But they move us forward in the right direction. Real love leads you to spend yourselves in life. [Even with the risk of finishing with your hands empty].
Let us think of St. Francis. He died with empty hands, empty pockets, but with a very full heart. Not youth-museums, but wise youth. To be wise, use the three languages: To think well, to feel well and to do well. And to be wise, allow yourselves to be surprised by the love of God. That is a good life.
Thank you.

And he who came with a good plan to show us how to go in life was Ricky. With all the activities, the multiple facets that accompany young people. Thank you Ricky, for what you do, and your friends. But I’d like to ask you Ricky, a question: You and your friends are going to give. Give help. But do you allow yourselves to receive? Ricky, answer in your heart.
In the Gospel we just heard, there is a beautiful phrase that for me is the most important of all. The Gospel says that he looked at the young man, Jesus looked at him, and he loved him. When one sees a group of friends, Ricky and his friends, one loves them much because they do things that are very good. But the most important phrase that Jesus says, "You lack one thing."
Let us listen to this word of Jesus in silence. You lack only one thing. You lack only one thing. [Youth repeat] What is it that I lack? To all who Jesus loves so much, I ask you, do you allow others to give you from their riches to you who don’t have those riches? The Sadducees, the doctors of the law, in the time of Jesus, gave much to the people, the law, they taught them. But they never allowed the people to give them something. Jesus had to come to allow himself to feel compassion, to be loved. How many young people among you are there like this? You know how to give and yet you haven’t yet learned how to receive. You lack only one thing: [In english: Become a beggar. Become a beggar]  to become a beggar. This is what you lack. To learn how to beg. And to those to whom we give.

This isn’t easy to understand. To learn how to beg. To learn how to receive [from the humility of those we help]. To learn to be evangelized by the poor. Those we help. The infirm, the orphans. They have so much to offer us. Have I learned how to beg also for that? Or do I feel self-sufficient, and I am only going to offer something. You give and think that you have no need of anything. Do you know that you too are poor? Do you know your poverty and the need that you receive? Do you let yourselves be evangelized by those you serve, let them give to you? And this is what helps you mature in your commitment to give to the others. To learn how to offer your hand from your very own poverty.

There were some points that I had prepared.
To learn how to love and to learn how to be loved. There is a challenge which is a challenge of integrity.
[In English, returning to his text:]

This is not only because this country, more than many others, is likely to be seriously affected by climate change.
There is the challenge, the concern for the environment. And finally, the challenge of the poor.
[Returning to Spanish:]

To love the poor. [Your bishops want you to look upon the poor in a special way this year.] Do you think of the poor. Do you feel with the poor, do something for the poor. And do you ask the poor that they might give you the wisdom that they have?

This is what I wished to tell you all today. Sorry, I haven’t read what I prepared for you. [But there is a phrase that consoles me]: Reality is superior to ideas. And the reality that [you have proposed] that you all have is superior to the paper I have in front of me.

Thank you very much.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Man Night

Parishes opening up doors for ‘Man Night’ Group looks to strengthen the faith of Catholic men through events centered on encountering Jesus

Emily Stimpson OSV Newsweekly 1/7/2015 .

Men gather for Eucharistic adoration during a Catholic Man Night event at the Church of the Incarnation in Minneapolis, Minnesota

        In 2009, Matthew James Christoff and Phil Roeser sat down for dinner with their bishop, the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis’ auxiliary, Bishop Lee Piché. Also at the dinner table were several other Catholic men, all close friends, who gathered together regularly to talk about faith and life. Survey Do you think there is a "Catholic Man Crisis" in the U.S. Church? Answer here. Some at the dinner were converts, others cradle Catholics. To a man, however, each had realized, as Christoff had in the wake of his conversion, that they were “hungry for guidance and authentic friendship.” In their “man nights,” Christoff and his friends found the fraternity they needed. They lit fires, cooked meat and talked about “the most important things.” Near the top of that list was why more Catholic men didn’t seem engaged in their faith.

       At the 2009 dinner with the bishop, the men raised that question again, asking Bishop Piché why he thought many men were so casual about their Catholicism. “Because they don’t know Jesus Christ,” the bishop replied. “You can’t be casual in your faith if you know Jesus Christ in a deep and meaningful way.” Bishop Piché then posed a question of his own to the men. “So, what are you going to do about it?”

Planting the seed

 After looking at the data from the likes of Gallup, the Pew Research Center and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which consistently show Catholic men both engaging in the sacraments less regularly and valuing their faith less than women, the men came up with a plan: a parish-based program within the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis that would focus on drawing men to Christ and building Christian brotherhood. That plan also incorporated many of the elements that made the friends’ own “man nights” so successful: fellowship, food and beer. They called the new program Catholic Man Night. With the help of Bishop Piché and several archdiocesan priests, Christoff organized the first Catholic Man Night in 2010.

     Since then, 21 different parishes have hosted approximately 80 more gatherings. Some parish clusters offer as many as one monthly. Attendance steadily averages around 50-60 men, with some gatherings attracting close to 250. “The turnout, over time, is what has really surprised me,” said Father John Gallas, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Loretto, Minnesota, and St. Thomas the Apostle in Corcoran, Minnesota, both of which host regular Catholic Man Nights. “A lot of things start with fireworks and fanfare, but then they fizzle out. Not this.”

Focus on Christ

     The schedule for the evenings is always the same. During the first hour, men gather at a local parish and the priest exposes the Blessed Sacrament. During adoration, either the host priest or a guest priest delivers a 10-15 minute reflection on Jesus Christ. While he talks and the men pray, other priests hear confession. After adoration and Benediction, the men share a “manly meal,” with plenty of meat and beer (recent menus have included ribs, giant Italian hoagies and chocolate-covered bacon). During the dinner, the men socialize, and afterward, they have a guided catechetical discussion related to the person of Jesus. None of the evening’s activities matter more, however, than Eucharistic adoration. “Too many men haven’t been impressed by Jesus,” Christoff said. “They have a conceptual or historical idea of him, but they don’t know him as a man. Solid catechesis is critical but insufficient. Men need a personal encounter with Christ. And when a man kneels in front of Jesus Christ in adoration, whether he understands it or not, something happens.”


    The opportunity to go to confession also attracts men, Christoff said, as does the opportunity to eat good food, drink decent beer and just be with other men. “Men want to be around other men,” he explained. “There’s a real crisis of loneliness among men, and younger generations are falling away to virtual worlds that aren’t real. Men need more events that allow them to spend time together.” The differences between men and women, in part, account for the nature of the discussions during Man Nights, which focus on different aspects of Jesus and his life. “Men need to gather around a leader, one they can admire and want to emulate,” Father Gallas said. “So, we look to Christ in that fashion, talking about what’s admirable and inspiring in him.”

Getting involved

     The Catholic Man Crisis ◗ Although men make up 49 percent of the U.S. population, they only make up 46 percent of the U.S. Catholic population. ◗ Only 37 percent of regular Sunday Massgoers are men. ◗ 8 out of 10 men agree that “how one lives is more important than being a Catholic.” ◗ 4 in 10 men believe that Catholicism does not have a “greater share of truths than other religions.” ◗ Only 38 percent of Catholic men strongly agree that they are “proud to be Catholic.” ◗ Only 47.5 percent of Catholic men strongly agree that it’s important for their children to be Catholic. Sources: Gallup, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

     With five years of Catholic Man Nights under his belt, Christoff sees the size and commitment level of the events filling an important niche in Catholic men’s ministry. “We often think either too narrowly or too broadly,” he explained. “Small groups and Bible studies are great, but only a small percentage of men will do that. Men’s conferences are good too, but they happen only once a year. If we want to attract more men, we have to hold events that draw broad numbers of men together on a regular basis and have low barriers for entry.” It’s not only the men, however, of whom the event organizers are thinking. Recognizing how busy most pastors and parishes are, they’ve designed the program to require little to no financial commitment from the parish and only a minimal amount of time from the priest. “It’s really turnkey,” Father Gallas said. “As a pastor, it’s been easy for me to implement. If a priest wants to replicate it in his parish, he would be able to do that.” And many are, especially as the fruits of the evenings multiply, with men returning to confession and increasing numbers becoming involved in parish life. “One night, a man came up to thank us,” Roeser recalled. “He told us he never would have come if a friend hadn’t convinced him, but that night he went to confession for the first time in 50 years. That man alone made all the work worth it for us.”

 To learn more about starting a Man Night in your parish or diocese, and to see the 35 different talks available for the nights, visit Emily Stimpson is an OSV contributing editor. - See more at:

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Feast of the Epiphany

Angelus Address: On Peace in Our Hearts, Families, World

"We must convince ourselves, despite any appearances to the contrary, that concord is always possible, at every level and in every situation"

Here is a Vatican Radio translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Dear brothers and sisters,
A few days ago we began the new year in the name of the Mother of God, celebrating World Peace Day on the theme: “No longer slaves, but brothers”.  My hope is that the exploitation of man by man would be overcome. This exploitation is a social plague that mortifies interpersonal relations and impedes a life of communion imprinted with respect, justice and charity. Each person, and every people hungers and thirsts for peace; therefore, it is necessary and urgent to build peace!

Certainly, peace is not only the absence of war, but a general condition in which the human person is in harmony with himself, with nature, and with others. First of all, to silence arms and to extinguish the outbreaks of war remain the unavoidable conditions to begin a journey that leads to the achievement of peace in its different aspects. I think of conflicts still shedding blood in too many regions of the planet, of tensions in families and in communities, as well as the sharp conflicts in our cities and towns between groups of different culture, ethnic and religious backgrounds.

We must convince ourselves, despite any appearances to the contrary, that concord is always possible, at every level and in every situation. There is no future without proposals and projects for peace!

From the Old Testament, peace has been attached to the promise of God: “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again” (Is 2:4). Peace is proclaimed, as a special gift of God, in the birth of the Redeemer: “Peace on earth to those on whom His favour rests (Lk 2:14).” Such a gift requires that we seek it incessantly in prayer and welcome it every day with commitment, in the situations in which we find ourselves. At the dawn of a new year, we are all called to rekindle in our hearts an impulse of hope, that should result in concrete works of peace, reconciliation, and fraternity. Each one, in his own role and responsibility, can accomplish gestures of fraternity in dealing with one’s neighbour, especially with those who are tried by family tensions or by disagreements of different kinds. These small gestures have great value: they can be the seeds that give hope, they can open paths and prospects of peace.

Let us invoke Mary, the Queen of Peace. She, during her earthly life, knew no small difficulties, joined to the daily fatigue of existence. But she never lost peace of heart, the fruit of trustful abandonment to the mercy of God. Let us ask Mary, our tender Mother, to show to the whole world the sure path of love and of peace.