All Men … All Apostolates Should Join Forces in the Holy League!

All Men … All Apostolates Should Join Forces in the Holy League!

Cardinal Burke, in an interview with Matthew Christoff:

The loss of the sacred led to a loss of participation of women and men. But I think that men were really turned off by the loss of the sacred … the Church must make a concentrated effort to evangelize men by delivering a strong and consistent message about what it means to be a faithful Catholic man. Men need to be addressed very directly about the demanding and noble challenge of serving Jesus Christ the Eternal King and His Catholic Church. Men are hungry and thirsty for meaning beyond the everyday world.

 

The culture in which we live is bankrupt and young men, especially, recognize the brokenness of the culture … We can see that men are hungry from the great success of Catholic men’s conferences that are beginning to expand in the United States. This is evidence that men will respond when the Church reaches out to them in a challenging way. Men are facing great temptations, particularly, as I mentioned due to pornography and confusion about sexuality and desperately need to be taught how to battle these temptations in Christ. Men need to enter into prayer and with the help of God’s Grace, men can overcome these grievous temptations and become men of strong moral character. Catholic men.

Twelve years ago, I was inspired to call our men to new heights. I was convinced that God was calling us men to move out, but to move out in His mighty power. In fact, I have always said I want this scripture passage from St. Paul written on the Mass cards for my funeral Mass …

“Draw your strength from the Lord and his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. Our battle is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above. You must put on the armor of God if you are to resist on the evil day; do all that your duty requires, and hold your ground” (Eph 6:10-12).

At the time, there was very little, if anything, going on in men’s ministry/faith formation. The Knights of Columbus have always been very strong in their “Corporal Works of Mercy,” but I sensed a gaping hole in leading men to become strong in God’s mighty power. At the same time, I sensed a real hunger among men – particularly young men – to tap into this supernatural strength. I would’ve liked to incorporate this into the Knights of Columbus but, at the time, they seemed pretty entrenched in their way of doing things. Praise God!! … That is changing in the KCs.

This led me to found the very successful Knights of Divine Mercy, an organization calling Catholic men to heroic virtue, to be strong husbands and fathers, and to be spiritual men of prayer. So very needed in our times! (photo shows the first year of Knights of Divine Mercy).

The concept is to call men together on a regular basis. Most men’s apostolates have a one time annual big event with many speakers. This would be different … this would be monthly gatherings where men could be regularly fed spiritual and fraternal nourishment. We call these our “Holy League Night of Knights.”

Holy League Night of Knights meets every first Friday from September to April.

6:00 PM – Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament

6:05 PM – Adoration & Confession

7:00 PM – Chaplet of Divine Mercy (or Rosary)

7:15 PM – Inspiring Talk (by guest speaker)

7:45 PM – Benediction

8:00 PM – Fraternal Pizza Social

This simple format of Adoration, Confession, Inspiring Talk and a Fraternal Social has moved mountains in leading men into the “Divine Life” and connecting them with other men who are choosing to take their faith seriously. We now have 100-120 men attend every first Friday (over 400 men on our mailing list), and we have evolved into adding Solemn Vespers, and we now have a very good men’s schola (shown here with Fr. Z).

All of the men have become very devout in their faith, virtually all of them joined the Knights of Columbus, and they have all been inspired to continue their studies in the faith. Of course, one cannot even imagine the dividends for marriage and family life. This is why the wives practically push their men out the door to attend these “Night of Knights.”

 

Why Holy League?

You may wonder why we are not calling these “Knights of Divine Mercy Night of Knights.” The answer to that is, we have … up until now. Let me explain.

About three years ago, a group of us gathered to see how we could get this very successful format – Night of Knights – mainstreamed. We discerned that many already belong to men’s apostolates and/or the Knights of Columbus. Therefore, attempting to ask people to stop what they were dedicated to, and join this, was simply unreasonable. But, we also knew that all of these men’s apostolates who, mostly only meet on an annual basis, and the Knights of Columbus who are so dedicated to corporal works of mercy, could all greatly benefit by incorporating these “Night of Knights” into what they already had. So, we set out to “rebrand” what we were doing and see it as, not so much as an apostolate but, a “movement.”

Immediately, our thoughts went to the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, and how Don John of Austria had gathered all of the remnant armies in Christendom (an alliance) to stand against Saracens who were looking to deal the last blow to Christendom. That victory, commemorated on October 7 as Our Lady of the Rosary, was won through the power of prayer … through supernatural power! And, it was St. Pope Pius V who named this alliance of men of faith the “Holy League.”

Also, I had become acquainted with Cardinal Burke, since our men’s schola had sung for his Summer Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe for about five years, by then. We took a shot and asked Cardinal Burke if he would be the spiritual head of the Holy League. With a good amount of enthusiasm, Cardinal Burke said, “This is exactly what is needed at this time,” and he agreed to be our spiritual leader.

As you can see, Doug Barry is also in this video. Doug is now on the Holy League board along with Fr. Donald Calloway and many other mighty men involved in men’s ministry.

Many Holy League sites have sprung up across the nation, and the Diocese of Portland, Oregon even took the name of “Holy League” for their annual men’s conference.

Please consider starting these Holy League Night of Knights in your parish. I recommend the Knights of Columbus take this on as the “Spiritual Works of Mercy” piece, while maintaining their mighty “Corporal Works of Mercy.” KCs … if you want a youth movement in your order, this is precisely how to do it.

We have a Holy League website: holyleague.com. Also, feel free to contact me, personally, at rheilman64@gmail.com.

But, if you want to start a Holy League Night of Knights in your parish, simply gather a group of interested men and, respectfully, approach your pastor and ask if he would lead this simple – but powerful – format: Adoration, Confession, Inspiring Talk, Fraternal Social (You’ll need volunteers to do the set-up, take-down, and any other organizational pieces).

God bless you, and may God bless this movement to lead men into the Divine Life!!!

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