Emmitsburg Council of Churches

Men of Action and Prayer…

Father John J. Lombardi

That was the title of our men's retreat last weekend. Here are some excerpts which will help everyone

Fr Peter Ryan, Jesuit priest, spoke on following Jesus today-a manly thing to do. St Ignatius challenged his Jesuit followers and all reteratants to choose between the Kingdom of Jesus and the world's Kingdom.. We have a choice between Satan and a Savior-and many are depending upon and wondering about-- our response. He also said that Jesus desires for our generous response to His call. Fr Ryan asked the men to image a bringing building, which we are carried out and saved from by a mysterious man and are recovering. The man leaves us to go save more people in the burning building and returns to see if we are better, and then asks: Will you go in the building with me-there are still people in danger-will you help? Fr Ryan challenged the men-and really, all disciples-to participate with Christ to led lives of courage and dramatic discipleship and help save the world.

Msgr Rino Fregapani of Mt St Mary's Seminary, then spoke on loving Jesus and His Sacred Heart. This fine Italian priest encouraged the guys to give the Savior their hearts-he intimated this is a manly thing to do. He spoke on n the importance of prayer, his own family background and customs which inspired his Faith, and love, and the importance of the Virgin Mary too. Msgr Rino has proven, thru his fifty years of priesthood, that men can and need to be models and leaders all hteir lives!

Ted Knach, who just returned from a year as army chaplain in Afghanistan, then spoke. He said if wasn't married he would go right back for another year-tour. I asked why? He described with vigor how he prayed with soldiers, observed their courage and, most all, enjoyed helping Afghan children a families get clothing and food, rebuild homes and villages, and being a humanitarian presence there. He charged the men to rise up and answer the call to discipleship. Ted came right out of the trenches of Afghan action and now is entering into prayer and spirit for a breather, as he soon goes to Italy for a year's tour for God and country.

Dr John Larrivee, professor of economics at Mt St Mary's, spoke boldly about his call to deepen his relationship with Christ; and his call back to tradition-centered values and virtues which he did not find elsewhere in progressivist systems in which he trained and worked. He realized: America, the poor, the Church strongly need men to be good fathers and faithful husbands, and to be bold witnesses of virtue and presence to uplift the frantically faltering family and culture As a husband and father of four and avid bicyclist John Larrivee is a gritty and godly example of men in action and prayer.

Kevin Hamilton, an, exceptional student at Mt St Mary's, spoke on the challenges of a young man in today's world today to be holy. He said he learned while on a pilgrimage the importance of regular prayer, frequent/daily Mass, the Rosary and, most importantly, developing his relationship with Jesus thru daily prayer and meditation time He said he now tries to pursue all this and that one hour a week-mass time-is not really enough to cultivate a friendship with Jesus-we need more time than that. He said an hour is enough time for an acquaintance, not a real, deepening friendship . Kevin inspired the older men that younger guys can

I spoke on "The Three C's of Men Today": Courage-overcoming obstacles to our faith and manly development--that's what a man does. Conviction-radically rooting ourselves in our beliefs and not caving into relativism and "almost anything goes" mentality about abortion or alternative marriages or sexuality or materialism. Communion means, especially in the year of St Paul, that we are all called like him, to unity with the Trinity-communion/oneness is complementary, not opposite to-courage and conviction in guys-and ladies!

I also narrated findings from "Guyland," the book and ethos in America whereby: boys, adolescents and collegians are widely keep in immaturity thru excessive drinking drugs and other intoxicant-abuses; a sometimes harmful sports, gaming and video fixation; gambling and stymied manhood ascent; illicit sexuality, pervasive pornography and mistreatment of women, and succumbing to a sometimes corrosive culture which derails "graduation" to vocation-occupation, individual autonomy and fairly life.

The book, by Michael Kimmel, narrates how the natural and virtuous track of boys becoming men has been thwarted. He summons men away from these evils to a re-invigoration of male leadership and authentic masculinity

Although the dangers are all around men, today I was very inspired by the gentlemen-retreatants who traveled to spend a day with the Lord, to re-commit themselves to their wives and families, or single life, to their Church and parishes-- thru our praying in adoration together, chowing down some lunch deserts!) joking around, helping one another thru the day these guys in "GodLand" were "walking sermons" and excellent examples of the fine talks, discipleship-descriptions-- the words become reality omen of action and prayer in Christ Jesus.

St Joseph compassionate foster father of Our Lord, and John the Baptist, challenging prophet are two complementary men-leaders who will help guys become more godly, courageous and convicted in the Lord.

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi