By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published March 22, 2018 | En Español
ATLANTA—About 400 men gathered at Holy Spirit Church for the inaugural Men’s Morning of Spirituality on Saturday, March 10.
Fishers of Men, a ministry from Memphis, Tennessee, sponsored the event to build small faith groups of men in the Atlanta Archdiocese. Planning for the day took some 18 months. The effort encourages friendships between men that lead to a commitment to being active disciples of Jesus Christ.
Only about one in three Catholic men say they attend Mass on a weekly basis. Leaders of Fishers of Men are motivated to encourage more men to participate in church life.
Attendees represented nearly 40 parishes in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and filled the church. After an opening prayer, the group heard from the witness speaker, Mike Schaeffer, a longtime member of the Cathedral of Christ the King.
Schaeffer shared how God held him up through a devastating loss for his family. In the darkest days, trust that God is at work, Schaeffer told the group.
In the fall of 2017, his wife, Mary, died from a heart attack. She was 48. And early in their marriage, the couple faced a sad situation when a pregnancy ended with a stillborn son.
“The Holy Spirit had my back through some fairly miserable times,” said Schaeffer, a father of three.
Experiences that lifted his spirit during this traumatic time were too many to be coincidences, he said. Schaeffer told the crowd how his wife was in a coma for six days. And with each day’s Gospel reading, the message was “spot on” with words of encouragement and hope, he said. During his search for a burial place, he came across the grave of the priest who married the couple.
Schaeffer encouraged the community to find like-minded men to join together in prayer, for support and fun. Those relationships will be invaluable during good times and bad, he said.
“It’s easier than fighting the good fight ourselves,” he said.
Later, Peter Herbeck presented the keynote talk. He is the vice president and director of missions for Renewal Ministries of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has worked in evangelization and Catholic renewal around the world for more than 30 years. He is the author of two books, “When the Spirit Comes in Power” and “When the Spirit Speaks: Touched by God’s Word.”
The Men’s Morning of Spirituality included adoration and the sacrament of reconciliation.
The event concluded with Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory.
For more information on Fishers of Men, visit castyournets.org.