New men’s group hopes that no man goes unchanged

Categories: Around the Diocese

By Kristi Anderson
The Visitor

Like many Catholics, Richard Miller is saddened by events happening around the world and wished he could do something about it.

9-25 Men of Mary

Men of Mary participants gathered at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Battle Lake. (Submitted photo)

“The broken condition of family unity is the root of our nation’s problems and is what inspired me to take action,” Miller said. “We find ourselves in the midst of a ‘culture of death’ and a throwaway society. As a father and grandfather, it brings me to my knees in prayer.”

So when his pastor, Father LeRoy Schik at Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Battle Lake, mentioned the idea of establishing a men’s prayer group, Miller was ready and willing to help get it off the ground.

“As men of faith we need to be visible and set the example for our children,” he said. “Leading our families to a spiritual life, ultimately, the reward of eternal life, is what men do. It’s our marriage vocation.”

The group, which named itself Men of Mary, began in February and now has 33 interested participants. They meet at 8 a.m. on the second and fourth Saturday mornings of each month at the church.

“Not everyone comes every time,” Miller said, “but they come when they can and they all hear something new each time.”

That is what Miller had hoped for when they adopted the motto, “let no man go unchanged.” The group uses the acronym, M.O.M, and encourages men to “come spend time with M.O.M.,” directing their devotion to Jesus through Mary. The gathering begins with the rosary led by five different men each week.

“It engages more people and gets them involved,” Miller said. “Each leads a decade and all the intentions are for the family.” The meeting ends with the participants’ personal intentions and the Memorare prayer.

During the meeting, the men share in conversation and meditate on the Sunday readings.

While the group’s main focus is spiritual, opportunities for service have naturally presented themselves, like helping retired priest Father Paul Folsom, who lives in their community, to stack wood for the winter and assisting with the annual cleaning of pews in October.

“It is important to be seen, to not just be a small hidden group but to be more visible so that others might join in,” Father Schik said. “If you strengthen the faith of men, it takes off and it strengthens the whole parish.”

Father Schik said he is beginning to see the fruits of the group in the parish.

“It has been really strong, especially the faith sharing,” he said. “In the world today, there is so much opposition. Together, they strengthen each other. It’s like starting a fire — it is starting to burn wilder, hotter and hotter. When the men come to events you can just see this faith on the edge of their sleeve. It shows.”

For Miller, it has been a conversion experience.

“It has been really good for me because it’s all about evangelization,” he said. “I have come to know the importance of eucharistic adoration, of receiving the Eucharist. My spiritual journey has come a long ways. I’d like to have all men see the beauty and truth and goodness of our Catholic faith. There is so much to pray for, and we need to do something about it and it starts with prayer.”

He also is pleased that men of all ages and from all walks of life are attending.

“The beauty is that there are other men’s groups cropping up in other parishes. Often people don’t want to join groups because they think it will lead to more things. It’s really quite simple — we are here to support each other, to pray for each other and to ask for the intercession of Mary to strengthen our families.”