By Father Blake Rozier
In the summer of 2021, I started a program in my parish called “Men of the Word.” In praying for a name for this group, this name came to mind. The Word refers to Christ. The Gospel of John refers to Christ as the Word: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth” (1:14). The Heavenly Father speaks to us perfectly through the Word, through his Son. In the Holy Spirit, we receive the Word and are transformed by the grace and truth of Almighty God. Jesus is the perfect example for us and the source of holiness.
Father Blake Rozier
I see a world that is hurting. I see a world that is confused and desiring guidance. Our hope is in the Lord! We need young men to rise up and say “Yes” to the mission of God.
Our environment is important. Hopefully our environment influences us for the good, for the glory of God. Our environment is formative. Who we listen to and who we spend time with matters significantly. With the Men of the Word program, we strive to place our young men in an environment where they can be influenced by the Word.
The format is very simple. This year’s program will begin with Mass, where we receive God’s Word in the Scriptures and receive the Word made flesh in the Eucharist. After Mass, we will have a simple meal together, followed by a presentation. The presentation will be about 20 minutes, often given by clergy. Each gathering focuses on a different word, which calls the participants to live a greater life of virtue. The presentation is supplemented with references to Scripture, God’s Word, and the lives of the saints, individuals who gave their lives to the Word of God. After the presentation, we have an activity. Kickball has been popular the past couple of summers! Finally, we conclude in the church, placing ourselves in front of Jesus, to allow the Word to influence us as we end the day. Mass begins at 5:30 p.m., and the night wraps up by 8 p.m. It is a simple format, but it can bear a lot of good fruit.
Men of the Word is for boys going into sixth grade and older. Their fathers, or their father-figures, are highly encouraged to attend with them. I write this article to invite boys and their fathers from across the diocese to participate this year. Men of the Word will take place on Wednesday evenings: May 24, June 7 and 21, July 5 and 19, and August 9.
If you are planning to attend, please talk to your pastor and email me so that we can plan accordingly. My email is [email protected]. If you can only attend certain nights, that is OK. It is not necessary to attend all the sessions. Come as you are able, but please let us know in advance.
This year we will be meeting at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Grand Rapids (315 S.W. 21st St.). The road trip itself could be a good experience for the guys. Summers are busy, but I believe this is a program worth prioritizing.
We are encouraging boys and forming them to be Men of the Word. This formation will help to bring healing, hope, and joy to our world. These men will be inspired to be great fathers, of families and of parishes – as priests, please God! We end our evenings with me posing the question: “Who are we?” The guys respond: “Men of the Word.”
Please pray for Men of the Word.
Father Blake Rozier is pastor of St. Joseph, Grand Rapids, and St. Augustine, Cohasset.