The Catholic Watchmen movement was formally launched at the archdiocesan men’s conference Feb. 27. More than 1,600 men stood up and pledged that they would work hard to provide, protect and lead in their families and parishes. It truly was a moving moment to see that many men stand in solidarity and conviction concerning their Catholic faith.
Many times men came up to me at the conference and said, “Just being here and seeing all the men who are like-minded is life changing in itself. Looking at the sea of men tells us that we are not alone, and we are supported in our pursuit of holiness and responsibility.”
Nearly 20 parishes have already organized a local Catholic Watchmen group and established a point man to work with the archdiocese. In September, parish Watchmen groups will begin to meet and start learning some of the fundamental disciplines of walking as disciples of Christ. Daily prayer, Scripture reading, monthly confession and a renewed attention to Mass are just some of the ways these men are willing to learn more about and embrace the faith.
In addition, the “Midnight Watch” was introduced at the conference. The Midnight Watch is when men in the movement gather at midnight to pray for their families. They are intentional about praying for their spouses and children. For some, this is the first time they have gone deep in prayer for loved ones. The response we are hearing is so encouraging.
The men of Divine Mercy in Faribault are on fire for their faith after the men’s conference. The Friday night following the conference, 25 men gathered for a Midnight Watch adoration hour. Many other men are hearing about the Catholic Watchmen from the men who attended the conference and are asking how to join the Catholic Watchmen movement. We asked Justin Stroh, Divine Mercy’s point man, how he accounts for this enthusiasm. He said three important components have “captured the men and stirred them to act.” They are:
1. The Catholic Watchmen initiative comes from the heart of Bishop Andrew Cozzens. The men sense this and have responded to his call by coming together.
2. The initiative is pastor-led at their parish. The pastor and associate pastor are calling men, who are personally invested following the lead of their pastor.
3. They established a communication network. The group uses Flocknote to communicate to the men of their parish, and this has aided in the rapid spread of the Catholic Watchmen enthusiasm in Faribault.
Mike Casanova, the grand knight of the Chanhassen Council of the Knights of Columbus, reported that they brought a busload of Catholic men to the men’s conference. As a follow-up to the conference, he would like to introduce fellow Knights to the movement and engage in the seven disciplines of the Catholic Watchmen. On their return from the conference, they adopted the song, “They Will Know We are Christians by Our Love” and substituted the word “Christians” with “Watchmen.”
Personally, I am very excited and optimistic about the potential for this movement of men. While I have recently stepped down as an employee of the archdiocese, I remain active in leading this movement and hope to see it grow to amazing numbers of men.
The Catholic Watchmen movement is simple, clear and unifying. Simply put, it is the bishop and local pastors gathering men together to learn and live the faith in a life-changing way. I think this could very well be a new chapter for men in our archdiocese.
For more information about the Catholic Watchmen movement and a powerful new video, visit TheCatholicWatchmen.com.
Cavins is former director of evangelization and catechesis for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Category: Catholic Watchmen