Robert Falzon, one of the founders of menALIVE, talks about the growth in this national Catholic ministry to men founded in Brisbane in 2003
What a joy to see 100 men go to the sacrament of Reconciliation, some for the first time in many, many years. What a rare and brilliant experience to go to Mass and sing with these men.
This is what happened at the recent 7th national gathering at the menALIVE to the MAX event held at the Brookfield Conference Centre.
More than 100 men came from all over Australia and New Zealand for the gathering.
In addition to the rare experience and power of being together as men in a Christian environment, they enjoyed world class presentations and workshops on topics such as: Your Story/Your Life matters to God, Sex and Intimacy, Grief and Sadness and Calling and Destiny.
Testimonies following the February event were enthusiastic as these examples show:
“You tackled the taboo topics of Sex and Intimacy head on… well done!”
“The small groups were fantastic.”
“The best event I have ever been to… really hit the right spot.”
“You menALIVE guys are a gift.”
“I really enjoyed the whole weekend.”
Further menALIVE to the MAX events, men’s breakfasts and father and son weekends, Growing Good Men, will be held throughout 2011.
Growing Good Men will be held next weekend (Friday evening April 4 to mid afternoon Sunday April 6) at Kindilan Conference Centre at Redland Bay.
The event offers fathers and their teenage sons time out together to get reconnected in an environment fostering honesty, mutual respect and a hunger for more out of life.
Such events are catering to a growing need amongst men in our society.
The absence of the masculine presence in our churches and homes is a huge issue.
If you look around any parish on any weekend you might wonder where are all the men? In particular: where are all the young men?
If you look at the national statistics on men’s participation in Catholic Mass – in fact any mainstream religious services – you will discover that men are low in representation.
This has to be a serious concern for Church and for society.
However against this trend is the national Catholic ministry to men called menALIVE.
When we started, we had five men on the team in Brisbane.
Now we have 30 men on team in centres all over Australia – Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, West Australia, Victoria and New Zealand.
This ministry’s main efforts are directed to running parish hosted men’s weekends.
Since menALIVE’s founding in Brisbane in 2003, these lay men have run 88 events in 19 dioceses in Australia and NZ to 5500 men.
A coming menALIVE event, part of the Catholic Man Breakfast series hosted by Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane, will be held at the Tattersalls Club on April 7.
To find out more about menalive go to www.menalive.org.au