OK, maybe "vigorously" might be a better choice of words And there were a few women there. But they left before the festivities began.
Why is it that when men are by themselves, praying or singing, the sounds reverberate to the rafters. But when wives, daughters, sisters, girlfriends and neighbor ladies are present, nary a peep can be heard out of them when they are in a church. Somebody should do a study.
St. Helena's parish in South Minneapolis (near Minnehaha Park) held a "Saturday Breakfast for Men" Saturday morning, featuring Mass, a hearty breakfast (help yourself, seconds encouraged) and a talk on the subject of "Wanted: Catholic Men to Defend and Protect the Faith." The speaker was the shy and retiring Fr. Bill Baer, rector of the St. John Vianney college seminary at St. Thomas.
Fr. Baer probably did stack the audience a bit by assigning attendance as "extra credit" to those of his men that were on his special "list"; but the greater majority of the crowd hadn't cracked a school book in a good many years. They were there because they were good Catholics who couldn't say "no" to John Sondag, the Director of Religious Education at St. Helena's (who nobody can say "no" to). And they were there because there has been an awakening of men in the recent past. More and more of these events are taking place.
The Argument of the Month Club, another men only event that meets on the second Tuesdays of each month (Oct-May), began at St. Helena's and now meets at St. Augustine's in South St. Paul and occasionally attracts over 300 men and boys to their events. Let us know if there are other events like this around the archdiocese.
Father Baer warned the men that defending the Church today is not an easy task. They must be in it for the long haul. He estimated that in this archdiocese of maybe 800,000 Catholics, possibly 800 people are now engaged in regularly defending the faith. He challenged those present to increase that number to 8,000, one in 1,000 Catholics. If just those 200 listening to Father Baer would rise to the challenge, if each of them over a couple of years could enroll 36 more men to defend the Church, that doesn't sound like an insurmountable task!
This Saturday Breakfast for Men at St. Helena's is the first of five to be held this season. On the Third Saturdays of November, January, February and March, Father John Paul Erickson ("Any Given Sunday, Spiritual Combat and the Mass"), Stephen Heaney, PhD ("An Alien Looks at Sex and Marriage"), Bishop Lee Piche' ("The Mystery and Ministry of Reconciliation") and Father Randall Kaisel ("St. Joseph: Special Advocate for Men") will speak on other issues defending the Catholic Faith. Hope to see you there.