Catholic Men can benefit fully from the many workbooks and Bible studies that can enhance their faith and life.
The workbook, For the Greater Glory of God, A Spiritual Retreat with St. Ignatius, is a clear and practical guide for Catholic men who individually, or as part of a men's fellowship group, want to discover the will of God in their life. The meditations are brief enough, as was St. Ignatius' intention in his Spiritual Exercises, so that men can see, hear, and observe for themselves the transforming movements of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The feedback from Catholic men's fellowship groups, who are using this workbook, has been excellent.
The bible study Embracing the Kingdom: A Bible Study on Conversion by Rich Cleveland emphasizes God’s Word in Scripture, its application to daily life, the importance of prayer, the significance of belonging to a community of believers, ongoing work of conversion, and deepening one's faith.
Two additional Bible studies offer an important exploration into the heart of gospel study. Mission of the Messiah by Tim Gray presents the messianic mission of Jesus, as told by Luke, as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. It also shows how the plan of God revealed in the Old Testament is fulfilled in the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The review questions at the end of each chapter provide fresh material for group discussion (or individual reflection).
In Mystery of the Kingdom, Edward P. Sri leads participants through Matthew's Gospel as he explains the “kingdom of God” and why it is the heart of Jesus' teaching. The provocative study questions at the end of each chapter make this book ideal for group study.
The National Fellowship of Catholic Men is committed to providing high-quality resources for use in men’s fellowship groups and for individual study. Over the last year and a half, ten new titles have been added. In addition to the 17 books that can be purchased directly from the NFCM, additional selections on a variety of topics relevant to Catholic men are available through links on the NFCM website.
As you will see, the new NFCM website is the first stop for Catholic men embarking on their spiritual journey in Catholic Christian brotherhood.
(Maurice Blumberg is Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men. This article is a paid product of the NFCM, P.O. Box 86381, Gaithersberg, MD 20886. You may e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
It was not very long ago, perhaps six or seven years, that Catholic men had difficulty finding books or resources which focused on topics important to Catholic men, especially for a small-group setting.
More than likely, men would have turned to Promise Keepers, Man in the Mirror, and other Protestant ministries and publishers. This is no longer the case. Although excellent resources are still available from Protestant sources, Catholic men have a new and growing menu of solid books, ministries and apostolates directed towards the faithful Catholic man.
Why the increase? The establishment of the National Resource Center for Catholic Men (now the National Fellowship of Catholic Men) has been a major catalyst in this growth and I believe has advanced the overall efforts of the Catholic men’s movement.
Today, the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (NFCM) website offers 17 resources that can be used in Catholic men’s fellowship groups. Click here to access the resources available.
While most useful in a small-group setting, many of products are valuable resources for individual study. If you are a leader or member of an existing Catholic men's group, these books may help enhance the quality and vitality of your small-group meetings. The varied resources provide tips on strengthening the lives of Catholic men, marriage and family life, and spiritual growth. If you have yet to join a men's group, you'll find that these resources will help you in your personal study, as well.
The Catholic men’s group resources on the NFCM website are broken down into three categories: Living as a Catholic Man, Marriage and Family, and Spiritual Life.
Living as a Catholic Man
If you are a new men's group, or you are not sure where to start, we recommend starting with Signposts, How to be a Catholic Man in the World Today by Bill Bawden and Tim Sullivan. Signposts was specifically developed by two Catholic deacons immersed in the Catholic men's movement and is ideal for a small-group setting or individual study. This is by far the most popular of our men’s resources. Thousands of Catholic men have used, or are currently using this workbook in Catholic men’s groups all across the U.S. A powerful resource, it draws on Scripture and Catechism references, brief real-life stories, and challenging questions to bolster group discussion. The individual lessons are broken down into four different categories: Man and God, The Measure of a Man, Man and Family, and Man and His World.
For deeper study, consider using Brothers! Calling Catholic Men into Vital Relationship by Geoff Gorsuch. As its title suggests, this book is a Catholic version of a very popular book written in 1994 for small men’s groups. NFCM is proud to sponsor its release. The book uses the image of the baseball diamond to represent the process of building vital relationships with other Catholic men. Thus, men need to get to first base where they learn to “accept one another,” to second base where they develop friendships as they “encourage and build up one another,” to third base where after much time and practice, they feel free to “exhort one another” as they face life’s challenges together, and finally men help one another reach home plate as they grow in the image of Christ. Each chapter ends with excellent discussion questions for a men’s group.
For even further study, your group could dive into what it means to live a virtuous life as a Catholic man. For this resource, we recommend Boys to Men, The Transforming Power of Virtue by Tim Gray and Curtis Martin. Each chapter studies a different virtue, with challenging questions at the end of each chapter to aid men in the development of holy life.
Finally, individuals and groups could benefit spiritually from reading and studying Spiritual Workout of a Former Saint by Danny Abramowicz, former All-Pro wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints. This is the newest book offered by the NFCM and is an excellent resource. It is more than the story of a recovering alcoholic, but a real reflection on seizing a second chance at a happy, spiritually rich life. This book, based on proven NFL workout techniques, is a practical, encouraging, step-by-step method to help men grow spiritually; add new life to their relationships with their spouses, family, and friends; and re-energize their soul as they deepen their love of Christ and His Church. Through a special arrangement, and for a limited time, all copies will be personally autographed by Danny.
Marriage and Family
If you or your group desires a focus on solid principles for fathers and grandfathers and developing positive relationships with children (and grandchildren), consider using Velvet and Steel: A Practical Guide for Christian Fathers and Grandfathers by John Ream. This book provides practical ways for husbands to be more effective fathers and to relate to their wives as full partners in marriage and family life.