By Mr. Robert Falzon
Founding Director | menALIVE
1: Your Apostolate
menALIVE has a spirit of brotherhood, inspired by the Holy Spirit. This spirit is the gift that responds to the condition of the church and works to reach the souls of men as a small part of the on-going redemption of mankind.
menALIVE is a Lay Apostolate— A Missionary Congregation participating in the savior’s on-going redemption of the world. Our efforts have been particularly aimed at running parish missions for men (PBW). Our formula is simple—we gather men and as lay missionaries tell our own personal stories of redemption/restoration and release by God into the communities of our families, workplaces, friends, and church. Our stories are our personal and authentic messages of the saving love of Jesus in our lives. This makes our personal narrative, powerful and unrefutably. It is the Good News in our lives. The Gospel of life in our lives.
The menALIVE commission is to go and “Make Disciples’ (MT 28). The menALIVE way is to encourage the formation of disciples that love Jesus, who form by example disciples or even apostles by living a particular way of life and who will then encourage other men to become followers of Jesus and grow to be disciples of Jesus and join the Apostolate of forming Disciples.
2: Pandemic Impact
Some Easter ponderings and possible conversations.
Yes, It’s a very strange time with social distancing and isolation. We are not allowed to do a lot of things including holding hands, hugging and gathering. We reach across this divide and say we love you good men. Consider yourselves hugged. We want to say even though you are in Isolation and enforced distancing you are not alone. We must remain connected and find new ways to look at each other and say the things that need saying at this time. Even though we cannot gather we can still be close.
This crisis is bringing slowly some clarity. The events like PBW, GGM, CMBS, MAX and so on unite us in common mission. But for now, this is gone. So, what unites us. Can I propose that we are united by something much deeper than that, our love for each other? Our brotherhood and friendship in regional teams and the considerate care, friendship and respect we have for each other—This unites us!
- This current version of living has pressed me into a deeper conversion. A deeper clinging to our “Way of Life”. This strange disruption to our regular flow has me turning back to, or diving deeper into our “ESSENTIALS” ………our commitments to:
- Daily personal relationship/friendship with Jesus expressed in regular prayer including listening to God through silence and the reflective reading of the scriptures. (SOAP).
- Commitment to fellowship and sharing our lives in small groupings. Many groups are using Zoom and other digital products to connect regularly.
- Commitment to Mission. What can I do right now to reach out to men even though we cannot do events??
- Can we have a go at doing MALT online? Over a few weekends or nights?
- Do we have a go at doing MAX 20 as a Virtual Conference?
- What can we do for the many many small groups that have grown out of the PBW around the country and NZ?
- Possibly we could attempt to put the– To Be a Man of God Parts 1+ 2 on video?
- We could Intentionally try to identify all the Small groups in our regions and find out who the group leader is?
- We might try and contact these groups and group leaders and offer support, hope, encouragement and resources. (This might well be our mission for now?)
- To state the obvious, we must keep meeting as regional teams.
- It seems to me/us that there are many priests who are disenfranchised and alone. Even more so now. How could we connect and reach out to them? If all 60+ of us connect with 5 each??
We hope this shadow which is over us is not blocking OUR Light!
3: Priority Issues
We Urgently Need a Mens Ministry
Men’s Ministry –WHY?
In an age when being a man can be a treacherous and dangerous thing. We see manhood being diminished and extinguished. The idea of society needing men is existentially being challenged with propositions like– “who needs men!” and “men are only trouble we can live with our them!”. We see a deliberate attempt to discredited manhood and eliminate the image and likeness of man and woman. This an onerous and serious ontological crisis.
No one will disagree that men are in trouble and the social data supports this claim; Men commit suicide at four times the rate of women, Men between the ages of 18 and 29 suffer alcohol dependency at three times the rate as women in the same age group, More than two-thirds of all alcoholics are men,50 percent more men than women are regular users of illicit drugs, Men account for more than 90 percent of arrests for alcohol and drug abuse violations, Life expectancy for men is 10 percent shorter than for women, the incidence of stress related illness like heart disease and certain cancers remains inordinately high among men, More than 80 percent of the homeless are men and >>>>>>>> Men are the fastest diminishing demographic in the Catholic churches.
For this reason, the most important and urgent response we need from the church in Australia today is to find imaginative and prophetic ways reach men.
We want to encourage and reinforce Authentic Christian Manhood by assisting parishes/diocese to start by the establishment of Parish Mens Ministry’s and small groups structures like what the National Catholic Mens Ministry menALIVE is doing throughout Australia and NZ. There are many other regional and local men’s ministry’s, breakfasts and groupings which need support and encouragement from Diocese.
The men of this age need to be challenge in the words of the great St Paul — “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong…” 1 Corinthians 16:13
To become Gods man, we cannot do this accidentally. To become the man God designed us to be must be lived out INTENTIONALY: deliberate, thoughtful, mindful, determined: destiny defining and in the company of other men. Just like Jesus and the apostles…… a brotherhood of friendship. An effective men’s ministry will encourage men to –
Reject Passivity, Accept Responsibility, Live Courageously and Love God with all his being!
The tangible fruits of an effective Diocesan and Parish men’s ministry is that we will see; More men in church and engaged in parish life, Better Husbands, Better Fathers, a more balanced Leadership and a more robust and Christian society ……………one man at a time.
Let me quote from – Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, The World’s Greatest Need (Address delivered January 31, 1932.)
“There is a famine abroad on the earth, a famine not of bread, for we have had too much of that and our luxury has made us forget God; a famine not of gold, for the glitter of so much of that has blinded us to the meaning of the twinkle of the stars; but a famine of a more serious kind, and one which threatens nearly every country in the world – the famine of really great men. “
It is our MISSION in this work, to speak into the hearts of men with the beneficiaries being – women, wives, mothers, sons, daughters, families, parishes, the church and society.
We encourage every parish and diocese in Australia to take up this clarion call now!!
Change the world one man at a time!!
4: Plenary Proposal
Our Proposal would be that we need an urgent and intentional focus on men’s ministry in the church of Australia.
It is the first step to better marriages.
It is also the low hanging fruit in the church.
5: Signs of Hope
The ACBC Virtual Gathering of Men on Saturday, August the 15th attracted over 850 registrations who gathered either on their own or in one of 42 Hubs in host sites in every state and territory.
The program included 6 Bishops and 6 lay men> With presentations, workshops, reflection time, small groups, worship and prayers.
This is a great sign of hope and a gift of Gods Grace and Guidance through COVID Pandemic.
Download ACBC Catholic Mens Gathering flyer
Submitted by: Mr. Robert Falzon
Founding Director | menALIVE