17 February 2007

Real men

I don’t know what it’s like in other Catholic parishes. For nearly twenty-four years this is the only one I’ve known. But one of the things for which I am most thankful is the great support from the men in this parish. On any given day there are as many men at the early Mass as there are women, sometimes more. On Sundays and holy days the pews are crowded with families, and fathers are most ordinarily right there with the mothers and children. Our school’s faculty and administration is comprised of a high percentage of men. This morning when I arrived for Mass and confessions, there were already a couple of our men in the church, hanging the new Stations of the Cross which had just arrived. After lunch when I came back, there were several projects being worked on by men, “just doing a few things that needed doing, Father.” Whether it’s the St. Vincent de Paul Society or pro-life work or scouts or any of the other groups centered here at the parish, the men are there working.

Now in saying that, it’s not that I am ungrateful for all the work done by women in the parish, and there are great numbers of incredible women who do their share. But I think it's right that men have formed the backbone of this place. It sends the right message to our children that religion isn’t some sort of “women’s thing,” but that real men love God and His Church, and real men want to be part of it. I’m always happy when I see fathers and sons serving together at the altar, and we have a lot of them.

As we read in Genesis, “… male and female He created them.” From the things I hear about some parishes, that’s not always evident.