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Men hear the call to fellowship and faith from Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers

Deacon Harold ministering to a group of men at St Joachim’s Catholic Church Lidcombe, left. PHOTOS: MATHEW DE SOUSA, Ivica Kovac

Growth of men’s ministry in Sydney offers more opportunities for service and mutual support than ever before

Having long wanted to start a men’s group at his parish of St Catherine Labouré, Matthew Chisari had recently began the preliminary stages of forming a group.

The Gymea parishioner has seen a growing need for mens ministry and recognised the role it plays in “helping men find community, guidance and fellowship in a culture that has become indifferent to the moral teachings of Christ and to the importance of fathers and the family.”

Matthew sought support from others pursuing the same call, and joined dozens of other men’s ministry leaders and clergy from across the Archdiocese of Sydney for fellowship and formation with the popular US evangelist and preacher Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers at St Joachim’s Lidcombe on 18 July.

Centring his formation around man’s role in the world, Deacon Harold called all the men to be father figures—whether they have children or not—and live out their purpose to serve, protect and defend their family, faith and community.

He challenged the men to put their time and efforts into building their relationship with God, rather than worldly pursuits or distractions, and be a more present example of this faith to their families, particularly their children and their lost brothers and sisters.

Deacon Harold said that Jesus’ charge for the twelve to “go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and preach as you go, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand” was the reason why they we’re here.

“What Jesus says in the Gospel Is true for many men today, we are troubled and abandoned like sheep without a shepherd,” said Deacon Harold.

“When a man would rather spend time looking at porn than having any meaningful relationship with his wife and children, he is lost.

“When a man approaches dating as a conquest, he is lost.

When a man shows up to Mass only because his wife dragged him there, he is lost.

“Jesus has called men to be leaders in their family, the church, as priests, and in the culture.

“We are the labourers sent into the field to reap an abundant harvest of souls using the navigational tools provided by the Catholic faith to lead men to conversion, transformation, and deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.”

The evening was a great opportunity for men to be inspired while meeting others in men’s ministry to discuss their experiences and vision for the future.

“Deacon Harold, in his talk, had a way of consoling and assuring us that we are not alone in our struggle for truth,” Matthew said.“He gave me hope to gain fortitude in my own life, with the tools to overcome struggles and preach the word without fear.”

“The men that I met were happy to help with any advice or questions that I had and the openness that I found in the other leaders who have successfully established a mens group with members was an important take away.”

These sentiments were echoed by all those who attended the event, as men from different stages of their ministry were able to collaborate and mutually exchange knowledge and experiences with one another.

Not having a specific men’s ministry at his Peakhurst parish or any expectations around Deacon Harold and his formation, Daniel Craven came to the invitation only night looking to make connections and get inspiration and ideas from other parishes.

Finding just that, Daniel felt that the night went further and reinforced the need for men to become alive and active in our churches.

“Deacon Harold was a very powerful and very passionate speaker,” said Daniel, who is a member of the leadership team at Our Lady of Fatima parish.

“And it was wonderful to see men there who were just as passionate and wanting to learn and help other men.

“It really made me think how much alive and stronger the church would be with more men, who are there to serve, protect and defend.”

For Clinton McDonald, a committee member of Balmain and Rozelle Catholic Men’s Group with eight years’ experience in ministry, he was affirmed in his conviction that “men’s groups are extremely important in keeping men connected, especially in our changing church.”

“We may be facing a smaller church but, as stressed, the work can be shared,” said Clinton.

“We make our families our priority and make time for our faith community.” Life, Marriage and Family Officer with the Archdiocese of Sydney, Ivica Kovac, said the evening brought leaders of Men’s Groups from all over Sydney in hope, faith and brotherhood.

“Clergy and laymen came together to meet, connect and listen to hopefully better serve the men in our parish communities in the future,” said Ivica, who coordinated the event as part of the Maximus men’s ministry network with Deacon Harold and Parousia Media.

“Men are called to be priest, prophet and king of the domestic church in their own home, which is a daunting task, so we want to walk with our men to help them live out God’s call. “I’m sure all the men left the evening much more motivated, with a greater sense of support and conviction to serve and to go make disciples.”

Deacon Harold praised the hard work done by the Maximus Men’s Ministry Network in connecting Catholic Men’s Groups throughout Sydney.
Many who attended also acknowledged the impact and support that the calendar of

Catholic Men’s events has had on their ministry, giving them ideas for potential speakers or events in other parishes.

To find out more about men’s groups and events around the Archdiocese, visit www.sydneycatholic.org/maximus or follow Maximus Men’s Ministry Network on Facebook and Instagram.

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