Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting in on the Men’s Spirituality group at St. Barnabas parish. This initiative began as a follow up to the parish’s Men’s Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) and meets once per month under the direction of the Associate Pastor, Fr. John Hetland. From what I’m told, different guys come and go but in general about a dozen gather each month.
There was an enthusiastic group of 9 on the evening I attended, ranging in age from 30’s to 70’s, black and white. Not everyone knew one another so there were introductions all around which is a big part of hospitality and puts newcomers (like me) at ease so we don’t think we are encountering a clique.
Don’t let the above picture fool you…Fr. John did not do all the talking and in fact did an excellent job of facilitating so that everyone present could talk and share. We reflected on Scripture (Bibles provided for all) and Fr. John invited everyone to enter into the story using the Ignatian method of imagining that you are present in the scene. Participants then shared their reflections and Fr. John simply echoed back/affirmed what each one said. There was a great deal of give and take and this was a very animated sharing (Jesus asking, “Who do you say that I am?”) and went on for about an hour!
Then, we watched a segment of Fr. Barron’s Catholicism series which was very well received and a good form of catechesis for these men to participate in. Ideally, we would have discussed the segment, however, the Scripture reflection went longer than expected so we had to truncate! (There’s NEVER enough time, right catechists!)
We concluded with Fr. John asking each of us what prayer intentions we were bringing with us and a number of participants shared the names and situations of loved ones who need prayers as Fr. John jotted down notes on each. Fr. John then led us in prayer and offered all of these intercessions on our behalf.
Next up, Fr. John wants to do more on the topic of prayer (for example, it will be ideal for the guys present to become comfortable offering their own intercessions in the closing prayer). Next week, Fr. John and I will be looking over 2 resources on prayer from Loyola Press to see how they might serve the Men’s Spirituality group.
Meeting Christ in Prayer – An Eight Week Transformative Encounter
Meaningful Conversations About Prayer – DVDs and Leader Guide