Living as a Practicing Catholic Man

With some you can do yourself and others we can help, just ask.

Here are some ways to support living as a Practicing Catholic Man right now today:

Kindness: Help each other make it through life.

Prayer: Ten minutes each day, tell Jesus how much you love Him, and make time to listen to the Holy Spirit speak to you.

Reading: Subscribe to a daily Catholic devotional or read your Bible. Tip: Ask God to speak to you, and then open the Bible and start reading the first thing that jumps off the page at you. IT WORKS!!

Devotion: Spend time each day with the CMCS “A Man’s Prayer” and / or “A Prayer for Employment“. (PDF) Let the words speak to you, direct you. Men have said how much these prayers are transformational.

Virtues: Read Bishop Perry’s Virtues of a Catholic Man. Work on one at a time, but make it a goal to work on them. Okay, some guys don’t like goals, so look at them as solving a problem (to grow in virtue).

Support Yourself: Join or start a Parish Small Men’s Group. Join the CMCS Blog community and nurish your spirituality (“Follow” here). Be at the next Bishop’s Men’s Forum each year on the Saturday after Easter Sunday.

Support Others: Donate to your parish first, then to CMCS your time, expertise, money (or subscribe to the sponsored Cell phone service – a great gift for Dad’s & Grad’s – Best of all supports Pro-Life!).

Worship: Worship the Lord Jesus Christ who makes life truly worth living, as opposed to the temporal things of this world – money, sports, food, cars, women / porn, booze, work, etc. – more of Christ, less of you. Keep it all in perspective and moderation, and remove what your conscience says is not good for you, as the Church teaches.

Courage: To be a great leader of people — inspire them to follow you, not your rules.

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.

15 Ways to Be the Man God Calls You to Be

  1. Admit your weaknesses and limitations, while finding strength in faith and genuine love to overcome your sins and faults.
  2. Men need confession regularly. Also, ask your wife and children for forgiveness when you fail them.
  3. Learn what being a real man is all about, study and live-out the Virtues of a Catholic Man.
  4. Be leery of the demonic influences which destroys men and their homes.
  5. Be strong, without putting on a mask of false strength. Persevere and don’t quit.
  6. Focus on the right goal, live as a beloved son of God, and be a man that can become a saint.
  7. Acknowledge one’s faults and live according to the Holy Spirit. Trust in and live God’s agenda, and not in your own human understanding.
  8. Appreciate properly the differences between men and women, and how God made you to be a gift to each other.
  9. Be a man of true love and of wisdom, pursue holiness, and make a difference in the world.
  10. Be a roll model to your children, so they don’t have to look elsewhere for a mentor. Bring them to the pew on Sunday, and encourage this when they are out on their own.
  11. True manliness is not opposed to love but thrives on it, and knows the place of sexuality for the unmarried man as well as for the married man.
  12. Maintain your children’s trust by how you love their mother.  Date your daughters, example to them what to expect from a man.
  13. Catch your kids doing something right.
  14. Develop a relationship with Christ that reveals your meaning and identity as a man.
  15. Enthrone your home to the Lordship of Christ! Has your Priest or Deacon blessed your house?

Receive these blessings and pass it on. You only fail when you give up.

What are some other ways God calls you to be a Catholic Men? Comment below.

The way we came to know love was that He laid down His life for us

For Christians, proof of deliverance is love toward others, after the example of Christ. This includes concrete acts of charity, out of our material abundance.

Living a life of faith in Jesus and of Christian love assures us of abiding in God no matter what our feelings may at times tell us. Our obedience gives us confidence in prayer and trust in God’s judgment. This obedience includes our belief in Christ and love for one another.

Read each sentence in the scripture below as a separate thought … absorb it. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart.

 

Beloved:
This is the message you have heard from the beginning:
we should love one another,
unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One
and slaughtered his brother.
Why did he slaughter him?
Because his own works were evil,
and those of his brother righteous.
Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth. Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God.

1 Jn 3:11-21

 

How do you lay down your life for others as Jesus examples to us? One way is to practice the Virtues of a Catholic Man. Another way is to be a living sacrifice for your wife and those in your household. It is not easy, yet Christ led by example and so should we as Catholic Men. Go to Mass every Sunday and bring your family with you, and when you receive the Holy Eucharist bring yourself to the Alter as a living sacrifice. The Mass is not so much what we get out of it, but that we bring ourselves into Communion with the Lord Jesus.

My wife and I have in raising our children always sat in the front pew. From the moment we had our first child we have always sat in the front pew (interesting how no matter when you show up for Mass there is always room in the front pew). When our kids first acted up in church we moved to the very back pew, and they didn’t like it. We told them that when they do behave we sit in the front pew where they can see everything. Now they are young adults, their Faith is important to them as they have their own ministries in everyday life. We always went to Mass as a family, sports and other events took second place.

“Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.” Was it St. Paul who asked at every moment ” do I go Left or do I go Right”?

What direction do you take in the path of life or have you gone? Are you consistent, or do you act like a Chameleon changing your ‘color’ with your environment?
– Frank J. Casella is an artistic photographer and co-founder of Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum.

 

 

 

 

Haven’t Been to Confession In A While?

By Bishop Joseph N. Perry

Needing to go to Confession is like needing to check in with a doctor regarding our physical health.  We cannot afford to neglect spiritual doctoring of our souls anymore than we can afford to neglect a physical doctor of our bodies.  The Sacrament of Penance also works for a healthy life.  Mature and healthy men are men who can take themselves to task, recognize their mistakes and take aim to correct those mistakes for the sake of positive connections with their spouse, their children, their friends, the people they work with and, therefore our God.

Check your parish confession schedule or some parish, shrine or oratory that has a regular confession schedule.

 

–  Examine Your Conscience Beforehand –

Have I any habits of serious sin to confess: drunkenness, sexual misconduct, drug use, dishonesty or cheating on the job?

Have I willfully doubted or denied any of the teachings of the Church?

Have I taken active part in any non-Catholic worship?

Am I a member of any anti-Catholic or any secret society?

Have I practiced any superstitions, horoscopes, fortune tellers, etc?

 

Have I used God’s name in vain by use of profanity?

Have I murmured or complained against God?

Have I maligned priests or others consecrated to God?

Have I sworn by God’s name falsely or rashly?

Have I missed Mass on Sundays or holy days of obligation through negligence?

Have I done unnecessary physical work on Sunday?

Have I been disrespectful to my parents or neglected them?

Have I failed in obedience or reverence to others in authority?

Have I mistreated my wife or children?

Have I neglected the material needs of my children?

Have I neglected my children’s religious education?

Have I given my children bad example?

Have I allowed my children to neglect their religious duties?

 

Have I quarreled or cursed anyone or otherwise wished evil on them?

Have I taken pleasure in anyone’s misfortune?

Is there anyone to whom I refuse to speak or be reconciled?

Have I lied about anyone?

Have I rashly judged anyone?

Have I engaged in gossip or spread scandal?

Have I been jealous or envious of anyone?

 

Have I practiced unlawful birth control?

Have I abused my marriage rights in any other way?

Have I committed adultery or fornication?

Have I touched or embraced another impurely?

Have I sinned with others of the same or opposite sex?

Have I disrespected my own body sexually?

Have I harbored lustful desires for anyone?

Have I indulged in pornography or indecent literature?

Have I done anything to provoke or occasion impure thoughts or actions in others?

Have I committed or cooperated with an abortion of life in the womb?

 

Have I stolen anything?

Have I damaged anyone’s property through my own fault or negligence?

Have I cheated or defrauded others

Have I neglected to follow through on my debts?

Have I failed to make restitution for any negligence of mine?

Have I sinned by gluttony?

Have I sinned by becoming intoxicated?

Have I used narcotics?

Have I been motivated by greed or avarice?

 

– The Ten Commandments –

  • I am the Lord your God.  You shall not have any strange Gods before me.
  • You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  • Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
  • Honor your father and your mother
  • You shall not kill
  • You shall not commit adultery
  • You shall not steal
  • You shall not bear false witness
  • You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife
  • You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods

 

– The Beatitudes –

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of  heaven
  • Blessed are the meek; for they shall possess the land
  • Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted
  • Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for justice; for they shall be fulfilled
  • Blessed are the merciful; for they shall be fulfilled
  • Blessed are the pure of heart; for they shall see God
  • Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God
  • Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

After the priest welcomes you, either in the confessional box or a face-to-face encounter, which ever you choose, make the Sign of the Cross.  Then you may wish to indicate facts about your life such as whether you are a single man or married, widowed, divorced or….  Mention how long it’s been since your last confession, any difficulties in leading the Christian life and anything else that may help you ease your mind.  If you feel you need help with making your confession, just ask the priest.  He is more than willing to gently lead you.

Confess your sins as they are evident to your conscience.  The priest then offers you suitable advice and imposes an act of penance or satisfaction, such as certain prayers you should say once you leave the confessional or some action to make restitution, some act of self-denial or work of mercy or charity.

The priest will ask you to make an Act of Contrition:

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee.
And I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments.
But most of all, because my sins have offended Thee my God
Who art all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace
To confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life,

Amen!

/or/

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,
I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more
And to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.
In his name, my God, have mercy!

Amen.

/or/

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Lamb of God;
you take away the sins of the world.
Through the grace of the Holy Spirit
restore me to friendship with your Father,
Cleanse me from every stain of sin
in the blood you shed for me,
And raise me to new life
for the glory of your name.

Amen.

The priest then extends his hand and pronounces the formula of absolution, making the Sign of the Cross over you during the final words.  You answer, “Amen!”

The priest sends you on your way with Christian best wishes for peace and your well-being lived in God’s grace through a life renewed according to the Gospel and more and more steeped in the love of God.

End by saying:  “thank you Father!”

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Receive an email from each blog post, or elect to receive daily or weekly digests of all of new posts.

 

How Do You Witness Jesus as a Catholic Man?

Many of us Men who are in sales (aren’t we all in sales in some form or way?) know about having an elevator pitch. This is usually a ten-second statement about what we do for a living or the services we provide. Well, guy’s, what is your elevator pitch for Jesus? Some people call this your spiritual mission statement.

Back in the day when I was involved with a Business Men’s Bible Study, represented by several Christian faiths, there was a saying we had that went something like “You know a Christian when he walks through a room”. So, reflecting on this, how does your life as a Catholic Man serve as a witness to your circle of influence, your co-workers, and as spiritual leader of your family?

For example, one day I was listening to a podcast by Bishop Robert Barron about Evangelizing through Social Media. What it came down to, as he put it, is you don’t only look at the comments on your SM posts but, know that for every Comment, Like, or Share there are twenty-five or more who’ve seen it.

And so goes with walking through a room. If it were Jesus don’t you think His presence in a room today would make a statement, no matter if the people in the room knew it where Him or not?

No, you’re not Jesus, but, how’s it going for you?

For example, when I met St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta you could feel ‘LOVE’ radiate from them. Do people know you’re a Christian by your love, as the song goes?

The bottom line is, I think, that all of our lives are a work in progress, helping each other make it through life.

It’s what our Episcopal Liaison, Bishop Joseph Perry, calls “intentional discipleship“. Do we really love Jesus as a Catholic man, with Christ in our hearts? In other words, is Jesus the center of our life or do we just have good intentions without right-action?

So, what about that elevator pitch … do you have one? Do you have a life mission statement?

For example, my life mission is “To be the best version of the Man that God has called me to be, the best husband and father for my family, and to be a ‘real’ person to those around me”. A Life Mission is making the Mission Statement personal to the point of living it, eating it, breathing it, sleeping it, etc. (you get the point). It’s transforming Holy Church into Holy Life(style).

If you’re interested in how to find your spiritual elevator pitch or mission statement, a good place to start is with cleansing your Soul through Confession. The next step is to work slowly, day-by-day, to develop the Virtues of a Catholic Man. Many of the Saints, for example, transformed their shortcomings into Virtues. Learn more on the CMCS Website.

Finally, make time to pray each day and ask Jesus to speak to you; and go to Mass on a regular basis. Work to be the spiritual leader in your household (if married) and in the community – There’s no greater and fulfilling a challenge for a man than to be a Catholic.

Men in the church (pews) is seen less than in the sports stadium, have you noticed?

Why is that?

What do you think would happen if your love for Jesus was MORE than your love for [enter sport here] ??

And when you’re in the stadium, how do you witness Jesus as a Catholic Man?

 

Frank J Casella is Executive Director of Catholic Men Chicago Southland, and co-founder of Cathoic Chicago Men’s Confernece.

 

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

 

Catholic Chicago Men’s Conference – April 7, 2018

Below please find information for attending the Catholic Chicago Men’s Conference on April 7, 2018. You can click on it to visit the ticket and registration site. Tickets are priced to bring a man with you. Tickets for your parish men’s group Contact us. Please use the share buttons at the bottom of this page and help us spread the word! God bless you!

2018-instert-ChicagoMensConference