Catholic Man Night held in Springfield

MASS, MANLY MEAL, REFLECTION—While Catholic Man Night is being celebrated regularly in southeast Missouri, the first ever Catholic Man Night was held at St. Agnes Cathedral Parish in Springfield on March 22 with about 125 men attending. A photo gallery of this event may be found HERE. (Photos by Miles Boyer Photography/The Mirror)

Over 125 men of all ages gathered the evening of March 22 for the first-ever Southwest Missouri Catholic Man Night held in the gymnasium of St. Agnes Catholic School. Mass celebrated by Bp. Edward Rice in St. Agnes Cathedral opened the event, concelebrated by several area priests and attending deacons. A meal followed in the St. Agnes gym, which included remarks from Bp. Rice on the roles and responsibilities of Catholic men. Keith Nanneman, Grand Knight of St. Agnes Knights of Columbus Council #13682, closed the event with a presentation about the nature of the “Catholic Man Night” program and the next steps necessary in order to keep the event going in the Springfield area.

“The initial idea came from the St. Agnes Knights of Columbus Council,” said Nanneman. “We were planning a social just for the men of St. Agnes Parish in order to build a stronger sense of community. When Bp. Rice was invited, he suggested we invite other men in the surrounding parishes and mentioned the success of Catholic Man Night in southeast Missouri.”

Successful Catholic Man Nights are scheduled regularly in southeast Missouri with area parishes alternating as hosts.

“We are working to create a standing organizing committee independent of the parishes, men’s clubs, and Knight’s councils that would work with those organizations and the local priests to continue these on a regular basis,” Nanneman said. “The idea being that they would rotate from parish to parish.”

Anyone interested in helping with the Springfield-area Catholic Man Night and/or serving on the planning committee can Email SGFareaCatholicManNight@gmail.com.

Catholic Man Night formula

“Catholic Man Night, Men Meeting Jesus,” began in 2005 by a small group of Catholic men in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul that periodically met to discuss their faith and the need to draw closer to Jesus Christ in daily life. After meeting with the local bishop in hopes to grow the ministry as part of the New Evangelization within the archdiocese, the first “official” Catholic Man Night was held in 2010 with 25 local men to discuss why so many men were not active in their Catholic faith. Here are some of the conclusions:

For many Catholic men, Jesus is abstract and conceptual. Jesus is not a close personal friend, but more of a distant acquaintance. Many men have simply not really met Jesus due to poor catechesis.

As a result, many men are Casual Catholics; they attend church infrequently or only attend because they feel pressured by family or their spouse.

Jesus calls us into a personal relationship. But one cannot have a personal relationship with someone without detailed and personal knowledge of that person.

To move from being a Casual Catholic to a Committed Catholic, we need to draw closer to Jesus; to Know, Love and Serve Jesus Christ starts with Knowing.

If we get to know more about Jesus, we can’t help but be impressed for Jesus is the only Son of God; True God and True Man.

As Catholics, we know that we actually really meet Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and with over 2,000 years of teaching, the Catholic Church is the source of true and trustworthy knowledge about Jesus Christ.

“Catholic Man Night serves to bring Catholic men closer to Christ so that they can serve as role models to strengthen their faith communities,” Nanneman said.

Catholic Man Night also has a very simple formula that works. At each Catholic Man Night:

Men gather to meet Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration and/or liturgy;

A priest makes a presentation about Jesus;

The Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation is available;

There is a “man-food” feast and fellowship;

Discussion surrounds how to better know and imitate Jesus in daily life.

“The men who started Catholic Man Night have published a ‘playbook’ on how to hold Catholic Man Night and since, it has spread all over the US,” Nanneman said. “With the new information in hand and the direction from Bp. Rice, we worked with Fr. Lewis Hejna, pastor, to build the Springfield-area Catholic Man Night from a parish-based event to something community-wide.”

“I’m so proud of the St. Agnes Knights: with only four weeks, they were able to change the plan and put on a new event for a much larger crowd,” Nanneman said. “It was fantastic.”

Upcoming events

The next Springfield-area Catholic Man Night is slated for Thu., May 24, at Immaculate Conception Parish, Springfield, at 6:30 p.m. It is being organized by Jerry Pfankuch, Grand Knight for the Immaculate Conception Knights Council #13681 in collaboration with Fr. Tom Kiefer, pastor. Please RSVP to jerry@jerryjpfankuch.com or SGFareaCatholicManNight@gmail.com. The next SEMO Catholic Man Night is Tue., May 15, at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, in Cape Girardeau, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Resources and inspiration may be found at www.catholicmannight.com.

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