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Archbishop celebrates masculine “shining lights” of the faith

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Men's group Sydney - The Catholic weekly
Photo: Alphonsus Fok

At a ‘Men’s Night’ celebrating the work of the booming number of Catholic men’s groups across Sydney, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP thanked the 100 Catholic men who had gathered for being a “shining light” of the faith.  

“Your leadership marked by masculine faith and courage, compassion and service is a shining light and I thank God for all of you,” the archbishop told the men. 

On 22 May, leaders and members from nearly 20 men’s groups attended an invite-only ‘Men’s Night’ hosted by Maximus Men’s Ministry at St Martha’s chancery offices, for Mass celebrated by Archbishop Fisher, fellowship with other faithful men and to engage in a unique Q and A session with the archbishop.  

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Archbishop Fisher told the men that while much has been made about “so called” toxic masculinity, a lot of the criticism is “simplistic and unfair.” 

Our culture, he said, does little to help men build healthy masculinity and spirituality. 

But he said the presence of so many faithful Catholic men, “committed to proclaiming the Gospel and supporting others tells a very different story.” 

The archbishop praised the growing popularity of Maximus men’s events such as last month’s St Joseph Camino Walk, the Catholic Men’s Conference and The Men’s Rosary Crusade. 

He spoke of the network’s growing global influence with connections in Argentina, Croatia, England, Ireland, Lebanon, the Philippines, Poland and the USA. 

After the celebratory Mass, Archbishop Fisher invited the men to share a meal with him. 

Men's group Sydney - The Catholic weekly
Photo: Alphonsus Fok

“It is great to see the archbishop supporting us and I think it is really important the church works together with these men because they are making such a difference,” said Robert Zrilic, co-founder of Croatian men’s group, Knights of the Precious Blood. 

Zrilic embraced the opportunity to fraternise with the other men’s groups in attendance.  

“We help other groups, and they inspire us as well. Their hunger to help other men proclaim the Gospel is infectious,” he said. 

Lou Youssef from St Kevin’s parish in Eastwood has seen his men’s group there grow exponentially.   

“We started a men’s ministry about six years ago, we had 41 turn up and four years later it has ballooned out of all proportions,” he said.  

“Men are finding they’re wanting to get close to the Lord and build a spirit in the church.  

“The children are thrilled about fathers building community, wives and children become friends and when you get the whole family wanting to be at church, the church just builds up and builds up.  

“Now, instead of dragging our kids to church the kids are dragging their parents to church. It’s a wonderful thing!” 

Maroun Achi from Moorebank has been heavily involved with the Men’s Rosary Crusade. He has watched the monthly event go viral, gaining a global audience and inspiring similar events across the world.  

“In this society it gives me hope for a future for our kids and the next generation, that men still love God, kneel and say the rosary every month rain, hail or shine and aren’t scared about it,” he said.  

“It flows to their parishes and families.  

“Tonight is a celebration that something is happening with men in Sydney. And it’s beautiful to see.“ 

Andre Abouharb, founder of Catholic Apparel is here to network, but also find a deeper connection with men he calls “his brothers.” 

Men's group Sydney - The Catholic Weekly
Photo: Alphonsus Fok

“It’s iron sharpening iron. It helps me on my mission but as fathers we don’t have an outlet. So sometimes you can confide in your brothers and help each other through, and we can go back to our families rejuvenated,” he said.  

After the shared meal Archbishop Fisher challenged the men to continue growing their networks of faith and remain steadfast and agile in the face of a changing and challenging culture. 

“You are made by God to be a saint so you can be one. You can be one now. He will give you the grace if you let him. If you invite him in.” 

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