Manhood Monday: Living the Christian Lifestyle

Your weekly dose of “Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man”.

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Alleluia  2 Tm 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

[1:910] Redemption from sin and the call to holiness of life are not won by personal deeds but are freely and graciously bestowed according to God’s eternal plan.

“If we are going to walk with God and become good Christians we need an inner strength which seems to come from a combination of grace and discipline. This strength is not something we can attain for ourselves; it is a gift God freely gives us when we cooperate with His plan for our lives. When we have this strength within us we will have a Christian effect on our families and other acquaintances. When we don’t have this strength, then the environment has an effect on us. So true is that saying, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything!””

~ Bishop Joseph Perry

God bless your day.

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Are you a holy man?

Catholic Men Chicago Southland is about growing in holiness. No matter if it’s our personal life our our business life, when you grow in holiness the most basic benefits are ethics and integrity. Because when you get the persons right, then you get the life right.

Virtues of a Catholic Man

  • A Catholic man has some sense of what or whom he would die for if necessary.
  • A Catholic man passes his faith to his children and sees to their religious education.
  • A Catholic man informs himself about his faith, reads Scripture, select Catholic literature, and studies the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • A Catholic man insures that there are sacred symbols in his household, such as, a crucifix(es), Bible, use of sacramentals such as the Advent wreath, Christmas cre`che, etc.
  • A Catholic man leads prayer in his household at significant domestic events, such as, birth, Baptism, graduation, marriage, illness, death, and other special meals and events with use of a passage from Scripture or other Catholic sources.
  • A Catholic man practices presence with his wife and children.
  • A Catholic man invests himself in some project or apostolate at the parish or diocesan level.
  • A catholic man is faithful to his wife, his children, his Church and his friends, indeed all his commitments.

© Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago

Download a PDF copy, click here.

Thanks for Reading.

Make it a great week. See you back here again next Monday.

Frank J Casella,
CMCS Executive Director

A larger collection of photographs can be viewed on my portfolio.


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Click here to learn about the annual Bishop Perry’s Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum held on the Saturday after Easter each year. All men from around the Archdiocese of Chicago and surrounding Chicagoland are invited to attend.

The Story Behind Catholic Men Chicago Southland

By Frank J Casella

“Catholic Men Chicago Southland is an apostolate of Reverend Bishop Joseph N Perry, and works to encourage and support contemporary Catholic Men to grow spiritually, and to bring Jesus Christ into their daily lives and all of their relationships.” — The CMCS Mission

That was the mission we started with in 2004 when Deacon John Rangel, David Taylor (who no longer lives in the Archdiocese), and I went to Bishop Joseph N Perry with our vision, and hope for his blessing. And it’s still our mission today. We went to Bishop Perry because he was, and is, our local Vicar (as one) of the six Vicariates (divisions) of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

We could have tried to do this on our own, but I learned from my previous experiences, both with the Catholic Men In Action that I was a territory rep for (and is no longer a ministry), and from my photography work for the archdiocese and covering the ministry of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, that you need to have a platform to work from.

Bishop Perry not only understood this, he also was interested is providing a challenge to men in the Vicariate to live the Virtues of a Catholic Man and make Christ the center of our daily lives. So it has been proven many times over the years that Bishop Perry’s belief in CMCS, and nurturing Catholic men’s spirituality, has opened more doors — and hearts — than we could ever do on our own. And this I am personally grateful for!

I’m glad that we also followed his advice to stay a manageable size in the Vicariate, instead of trying to reach the whole archdiocese, since each Vicariate is about the size of the average diocese in the American Church. That if a group of men wanted to start a movement in another vicariate, we’d provide their Vicar with the template for doing this. So far there has been much interest, but no commitment.

You might say that Catholic men’s ministry is second nature to me, having been raised as a third-generation Knights of Columbus. I recall vividly helping my late father as a kid with all the functions, causes, parties, and parades. From going to talk to the butcher, to table set up, promotion and ticket sales, serving the participants, clean up, and finally awarding the results to a charity, which CMCS does today. Event planning is my conditioned skill.

But there was something missing in all of this. I saw this void. A need for a Catholic men’s prayer breakfast, to challenge men to replace bad habits with good habits and to develop a holy life. To feed the stomach, and then feed the Soul.

As far back as the 1980’s I recall men’s conferences starting to trickle into the fabric of our faith life. And this is where I met Deacon John Rangel, who has a passion for parish men’s groups and Pro-Life. We went to many of these events, from many faiths. Some called for men to be accountable to each other, and others had an Altar Call, or to be Born Again. And most of the Catholic men’s conferences had a great message but fell short of making that challenge or commitment to holiness.

We need Catholic and holy men in our lives, who practice virtues and goodness, make a positive difference, and that we can look to as models of a life work in progress.

“We are a people of possibility, the Holy Spirit is the great encourager … holiness is possible.

Matthew Kelly

In Covenant With Jesus

It is true, Jesus Christ wants to have a personal relationship with each of us as our Savior and Lord. But Jesus wants much more than that; he wants us in covenant with himself. I can have a personal relationship with the neighbor down the street; but that doesn’t mean he wants me to move in and share his home.

Jesus Christ wants us in the New Covenant that he established through his own flesh and blood, the same covenant he renews through the Holy Eucharist. When his sacrifice for us is renewed at the altar, we gather at the family table for the sacred meal that makes us one.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me.”

(Rev 3:20)

Likewise, in the home, us men are called to lay down our life for our wife. To serve her as Jesus served her. To love and sacrifice for her the way Jesus loved and sacrificed for you.

The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called “the domestic church,” a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1666

But remember Christ’s words to Saint Paul that “power is made perfect in weakness.” That is, most men will admit that their strength, their rock is their wives.

Jesus wants us to know not only the Father and the Holy Spirit but his Blessed Mother and all his sainted brothers and sisters as well. He also wants us to live according to the family structure he established for his Church on earth: the Pope and all the bishops and priests united to him.

The Gospel is not about setting up a legal system, but about transforming hearts. It is about freeing people, one at a time, from the darkness and slavery of sin.

Presenting The Challenge

I remember when the late Cardinal Francis George, then archbishop of Chicago, said one of his many profound words in the public square, when he said that “we as a Catholic Church have much to learn from our Protestant brothers and sisters about marketing and promotion, and evangelization.

This was my answer. So around 2009 we began an online ministry to reach Catholic men in any way possible, and learn from those who are good at it. But Bishop Perry reminded the need to balance that with the community ‘in the pews’. Community is the foundation of our Catholicism.

So in the era of TV Evangelists, Internet Churches, and Social Media Ministry, CMCS sets the tone in Chicago Southland for nurturing Catholic men’s spirituality, and presenting men the challenge for holiness, in Covenant with Jesus. And we do this in-person, through our gatherings, where men can discuss and connect the dots with each other about their spiritual journey. And we have Mass with bishop who presents the challenge to the men.

The men will tell you how the personal impact from this is profound in a way that can not be experienced online. Then, what we do online is a symptom of what is working with community ‘in the pews’, to continue their spiritual journey. We are all a work in progress, and learn from each other.

It’s not about accountability to each other, but Covenant with Jesus that transforms us as men.

I have seen over the years that when you foster a Man in holiness, the positive adjustments he makes creates a upstanding man, husband, or father, and this impact can be felt for three generations. What this takes is (for us) to transform one man at a time from good intentions into right-action, and thus to develop a holy church.

For just as the Church cannot survive without the sacramental priesthood, so too, the father is an essential element of a healthy family. Fathers have a significant spiritual impact on their (and men with all) children precisely because of their unique role in the order of creation.


Frank J Casella is an Artistic Photographer, and co-founder of Catholic Men Chicago Southland, and the Bishop Perry Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum.

For what is sanctity other than being next to God

As we strive to live the CMCS Mission to grow in holiness as Catholic Men, let us reflect on words of our own Bishop Joseph Perry from a recent homily:

For what is sanctity other than being next to God… spending our lives trying to achieve nearness to God.

“… there is only one real goodness – one perfection, one sanctity – and that is God’s… the model of all holiness is our Lord and unless you grow to be like Him you will never get anywhere with holiness… our Lord, who is himself the way, the truth, the life, wants something out of you that is your own to give and is not just a copy. The saints produce masterpieces because of each one’s likeness to our Lord, not because of each one’s likeness to another… God wants an original reproduction of himself, not a forgery.”

“Sanctity, says von Zeller, like everything else in life, should be looked at from God’s point of view rather than from man’s. We have come from God and we exist for Him; our holiness must come from God and must exist for him.”

 

CMCSVirtues for December 29, 2014

Living a holy life is all about being the best person that God made you to be.  As the CMCS mission says ” CMCS works to encourage and support contemporary Catholic men to grow in holiness, to make Jesus Christ the center of our daily lives, and all of our relationships”.  Many people I talk to feel that, when it comes to holiness, you need to separate your church world and your personal world.  In fact, the opposite is true.  How you live your personal life and how you love others is an example of your relationship and identity with Christ, whether that is at church or at work, at the ball park or at a friends party.  Character is what you do when nobody is looking. What you think in your mind you become. If you feel that your life is off balance, could it be that you’re making this separation between the different aspects of your life?

– Frank J Casella