Catholic men need to fellowship with other good Catholic men to raise up one another, support one another and to learn from one another.
“Iron is sharpened by iron; one person sharpens another.”* ~Proverbs 27:17
We approached our buddy Ken Henderson a few years ago with the idea to form a group to help men grow in faith, a Catholic men’s fellowship. It was also around this time that we were inspired by a post I saw on Facebook on Aug 6, 2013, by The Catholic Gentleman. He had posted a GK Chesterton quote,
“In Catholicism, the pint, the pipe and the Cross can all fit together.”
What a marvelous idea. We really enjoy having a good pint of ale, smoking my pipe and enjoying good, even spirited conversation about the Catholic faith with other men. It was really all kind of spontaneous, but Ken immediately envisioned a group of men gathering once or twice a month and partaking of this type of activity. Ken had thoughts in his mind of the greats like J.R.R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Roger Lancelyn Green, Hugo Dyson, Robert Harvard and C.S. Lewis, to name a few, who met at The Eagle and Child pub in Oxford. They were known as the Inklings and it was from this that we took the model for our group. Men coming together, enjoying intelligent but comfortable conversation about the Truth in an atmosphere and way that men could appreciate.
Start Your Own Group… You Can Do It!
Really, to form a group, it doesn’t have to be all that complicated. I know as men we can get kind of intimidated with thoughts of forming a Bible Study. “Do I need to be a theologian?”, “I don’t know my faith that well, how can I start a group?” or “I’m a new convert to the Church and I want to grow in my faith but I don’t know how to start a group.” We seem to have this thought that we must meet at the church, in a meeting room and following a study plan. That is not necessary, and in fact, not very comfortable for most men.
With that thought in mind, this too is how you can form your own Pint, Pipe and Cross Club (or whatever you want to call it). Being informal is the key. Make it comfortable, no real structure is needed. No rules, officers, agendas, or formal elections. Men need to fellowship with other good Catholic men. So instead of a structured Bible study, the following format is suggested.
7 Steps To Forming a Catholic Men’s Fellowship:
- Pick a location, such as a pub, microbrewery, or coffee shop or at someone’s home. Somewhere with seating and room to just hang out and talk. Preferably somewhere that allows smoking. (To be honest, we tried a pub. But the noise level was often so bad that we couldn’t talk. Now we all meet at my home, outside on my patio so that we can smoke our pipes and cigars!)
- Meet monthly. If you want to meet more often you can, but once a month seems to work well with our schedules.
- Have a spiritual advisor (I recommend a personal spiritual director for yourself and perhaps invite a priest or mentor who can attend your group.)
- Begin and end each gathering with a prayer, giving thanks, asking for petitions and praying for one another.
- Have a spiritual book or scripture study in progress at all times. One chapter a month. Discuss, but set no time limit on the discussion. Let the conversation flow freely.
- Have everyone bring two bottles of craft beer or homebrewed beer (I brew my own!)Remember to practice moderation. A moderate amount of alcohol allows the conversation to relax and flow freely.
- Relax and have a good time. Fellowship, but don’t necessarily limit to spiritual discussion. Have fun with it.
Grow in Truth, Share Good Times, Build Lifelong Friendships
Sound Catholic teaching should be the emphasis of discussion, using good Catholic literature, writings of the saints and other spiritual writings. Non-Catholics may be permitted to be members, by all means, invite them, but keep in mind that no anti-Catholic writings should be discussed or permitted. The purpose is to use this time to grow in your faith, learn a deeper understanding of the Truth and develop lifelong friendships among your Catholic brothers. Sharing good times, mentoring one another and supporting each other.
Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12
Stay tuned as we will be suggesting in my next post, materials, books, helpful websites, and apps that you can use in your group.
Do you have a Catholic Men’s Group already started? We want to hear about it! Send us pictures of your group and what you guys do and we will highlight it on our next blog!
Remember…We are on the winning side, so raise your glass. Cheers to Jesus!