Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster father of Jesus Christ, our Savior. St. Joseph is the patron of many things, including the universal Church, fathers, the dying, and social justice. From Scripture, we know him as compassionate, caring, courageous, chaste, just, humble, hardworking, and obedient to God’s Will. He was protector, provider, and teacher. Pope Benedict referred to St. Joseph as a faithful and wise servant. As an example to us all, he lived his faith through his actions. To me, we have no better example of what we should strive to be as husband and father. I would add to that list son, brother, and friend. And with all of that, St. Joseph’s most important example to us is as servant to our Lord.
It is fitting that on the Feast Day of St. Joseph we begin a new era as Catholic Men’s Fellowship (CMF) of Pittsburgh. Known for our Men’s Groups and the Annual Gathering of Catholic Men, we just launched a new web site, where men from the Diocese and beyond will be able to access information that will help them on their faith journeys. Once or twice a week, posts will be made and messaging sent out on various topics, including scripture, faith formation, and spirituality. We’ll also share with you information on the upcoming Gathering, its theme, and our speakers. Resources will be provided for Men’s Groups and testimonials offered as encouragement.
Why CMF and why all these new things? Men matter and men really matter when it comes to faith. Study after study shows that as goes the husband and the father as related to faith in the family, so goes the family. Stated another way, if Dad is a faith filled man, prayerful in his daily life, and attends Church on a regular basis, so will his wife and kids. If he does none of these things, in most cases neither will they. The reason why this is so important is because men, in assuming their role as leader, provider, and protector, just like St. Joseph, care about their families and those close to them. They, I should really say we, want the best for those we love.
I think it’s safe to assume that almost all of us (nothing is ever 100%) that are active in CMF and/or other ministries are on faith journeys and in relationship with Jesus Christ. We all got here in many different ways. But for those of us who have made the decision or who have had the conversion, we know that there is no other way to live our lives. We know what understanding and internalizing the unconditional love and forgiveness of God has done for us. We know that had we been the only one on this earth at the time, that God would have died for just our sins, my sins. We know the value of the Sacraments and the impact of the Eucharist. We look to the Saints as examples, including and especially St. Joseph. We know the importance of brotherhood, the fact that we’re not meant to go through life alone. And we know that to live a life of joy and peace, that Christ has to be at the center.
If you are like me, you know that there is no greater gift than experiencing the love of Jesus Christ. This gift, more than anything else in my life, I want to share with those I love the most, my family. The reason for CMF is to help me and all men in that endeavor. In that you can’t give away what you don’t have, CMF first wants to help bring men into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In brotherhood as Catholic Men, we look to prayerfully support one another in our Men’s Groups and other activities, while being open to the Holy Spirit to serve and share the Gospel with others. Do we sometimes fail? Yes. Do we sometimes live in fear? Yes. But we know that we have the Lord and we have each other. Together and by the Grace of God, we know that we will continue to be better sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, friends, men of the Church, in the community, and at work. With the courage of faith and a yes to our Lord, we can live with peace and joy, always looking to share the gift of Christ’s love with others.
God Bless you and all the men of our Diocese and their families. May we together feel the unconditional love of Christ now and forever.