Registrations are now open for the second Catholic Men’s Gathering, which will again encourage men to gather in groups across the country to participate in a combined online and face-to-face event.
The inaugural event last year, set to be held in Sydney, was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A series of video modules were created, including prayer, presentations, reflections and invitations for group conversation.
Feedback on that format, which was one of the first major Catholic events in Australia adapted for a COVID-safe environment, has led to some revisions for 2021.
“While last year’s gathering was certainly a success, many groups were keen to organise more content at the local level, including some of the prayer and musical content,” said Archbishop Christopher Prowse, chairman of the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry.
“Accordingly, the national resources we will provide will be focused on encouraging men in their faith, in their prayer life and in their roles as father, brother, son, uncle, grandfather, friend. We will invite them into deeper conversations with the other men with whom they gather.”
The Catholic Men’s Gathering is a collaboration of the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry and the Bishops Commission for Life, Family and Public Engagement.
This year’s event, which retains the Scripture-inspired question “Brothers, What Must We Do?”, will draw upon the global Year of St Joseph for inspiration.
Archbishop Julian Porteous, part of the event’s organising committee, said St Joseph’s life is filled with examples of how to be a man of faith.
“While his presence within the Scriptures is fairly limited, we know what challenges and struggles St Joseph faced in his life,” Archbishop Porteous said.
“As a man forced to flee his home, a man who faced questions about his place in the world, a man who toiled diligently in his work life and a man who trusted in God, we see a model for our own lives all these years later.”
The key content that will be released for use at local gatherings will be provided by Shayne Bennett, Tim Davis and Tomasz Juszczak.
Mr Bennett, a father of three and grandfather of 11, has worked in the Church for more than 40 years, with a focus on youth evangelisation, pastoral formation and the development of lay communities. He currently shares his time between NET Ministries, as mission director, and as director of mission and faith formation at Holy Spirit Seminary.
Mr Davis, who grew up in regional South Australia and went on to study education in Adelaide and Melbourne, including at Corpus Christi College, met his wife during preparation for World Youth Day in 2008. He now teaches Catholic studies at St John Paul College on the New South Wales North Coast, where he lives with his wife and children.
Mr Juszczak was last year appointed director of Evangelisation Broken Bay, having earlier worked in youth ministry and having gained a master’s degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame Australia. He is married with three children and is a lay member of the Immaculata Community.
A fourth video will include Archbishop Porteous commissioning and sending forth participants to be men of faith, service and character.
The video modules will be launched nationally on July 31, with groups able to gather on that day or at another suitable time, devising their own local program for engaging with the national material.
More information, including on registering for the event, can be found at https://nce.catholic.org.au/catholicmen
The Catholic Men’s Gathering format, and any ongoing adaptations that are made, will be used for a gathering of Australian Catholic women in September, as well as one of Catholic youth and young people in November.
With thanks to the ACBC.