Catholic Men's Fellowship of North East Ohio uses two tools to achieve its goals;
- a large annual men's conference
- parish level men's faith, sharing and fellowship groups
- We help men grow in relationship with Christ and one another as members of groups of men who meet regularly.
- We encourage, promote and support Catholic Men's Groups.
- We provide ongoing support to men who lead Men's Groups by helping them with resources available to us.
- We sponsor an annual conference to inspire men to grow in their relationship with Christ and one another, especially as a member of a men's group.
We are a 501c3 non-profit organization.
The CMFNEO is an outreach to men. Its focus is to deepen and support their Catholic faith and identity, grow spirituality and strengthen families. The ministry tries to enrich the reality of “Church” over and above the experience of the Sunday liturgy. It also focuses on men who have lost the yearning for the Catholic faith and are minimally or not active in the Church. The program encourages expanded religious education for men, growth of faith and learning to evangelize.
We are committed men, principally Catholic, who recognize our need for God's help. We gather in Christ's presence in an atmosphere of trust, equality and confidentiality to share personal feelings and experiences. We unconditionally accept each other and prayerfully support one another.
Our Officers & Board of Trustees
Steve Chrzanowski - President
Jim Kilcoyne - Vice President
Ray Andreas - Vice President
Dave Deschler - Treasurer
Joe Kolar - Secretary & Evangelization
Joel Bollenbacher - Conference Registration
Jim Orack - Communications
Mark Malin - Social Media & Sponsorships
Ty Tyjewski - Evangelization
Mark Henderson - Evangelization
Bill Prebel - Spiritual Advisor
Thoughts and Prayers
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But, I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
In the Hour of Defeat, many men have discovered their true greatness by accepting defeat only as a challenge to try again! Our Lord Jesus tells us that
"He is with Us" when we call His Holy name. By accepting Jesus into our Hearts, making a welcome home for Him to reside, Authentic Power comes from within us to all whose lives we touch.
Indeed, we Men of Christ turn each defeat into heroic possibilities for a Triumphant Christ.
We Men of Christ Must learn to, Ask for forgiveness and Atone for transgressions. Amen.
Dedicate yourself to God in all things.
Our Lord does not come from Heaven every day to stay in a golden ciborium. He comes to find another Heaven, the Heaven of our soul in which He loves to dwell.
Saint Therese Lisieux
Whoever turns to the Eucharist frequently and devoutly so effectively builds up his soul's health that it is almost impossible for him to be poisoned by evil affection of any kind.
Saint Francis de Sales - converted over 40,000 people to Catholicism. Francis was a powerful Saint who knew that he was destined for service to God by age 13. His dying words of advice to a nun at his bedside was "Humility".
Go to Holy Communion even when you feel lukewarm, leaving everything in God's hands. The more my sickness debilitates me, the more urgently do I need a doctor.
Be courteous when addressed, amiable in social exchanges....Harshness is ever to be put aside, even in censuring.
Saint Basil the Great
There can be no joy of life without the joy of work.
Saint Thomas Aquinas - Feast Day is January 28
Let us love God, but with the strength of our arms, in the sweat of our brow.
Saint Vincent de Paul
Let us go forward in peace, our eyes upon Heaven, the one and only goal of our labors....We must see life in its true light. It is an instant between two eternities.
Saint Therese Lisieux, The Little Flower
God calls us ceaselessly....He speaks to us and calls us in through the conversations of good people, or from sermons, or through the reading of good books; and there are many other ways. God calls us through sickness and trials, or by the means of truths which God teaches us at times when we are engaged in prayer; however feeble such prayers may be, God values them highly.
Saint Teresa of Avila
We must confess, we must ask God for forgiveness each day, in all that we do. As we prepare a pure place for him, he can work miracles through us.
Saint Joan of Arc, The Maid of Lorraine
God passes through the thicket of the world and wherever the divine glance falls, all things are turned to beauty.
Saint John of the Cross
A leader of God's Church is to quicken the hearts of believers, converting thoughts moved by emotions, to actions of love.
Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop of Antioch and Patron Saint of Preachers
When night comes, and retrospect shows that much which one planned is left undone, when so many things rouse shame and regret, then lay it all in God's hands and offer it up to God.
Saint Edith Stein
Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Jesus.
Saint Jerome, Doctor of the Church. He made fierce attacks on the pagan lifestyle of the 4th century and completed monumental translations of the Bible into the common language of literacy - Latin. He died in Bethlehem in 420, with his head resting in the manger where Our Lord was born.
May these help you to clarify your thoughts and hearts.
Sunday - Achieving Peace
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light,
and where there is sadness, joy.
Monday - Keeping the Faith
I bind myself
God's power to guide me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to teach me,
God's eye to watch over me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to give me speech,
God's hand to guide me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to shelter me,
God's host to secure me.
Tuesday - Feeling Compassion
Jesus, may the contemplation of Your sufferings move me with the greatest compassion,
make me hate my sins, and kindle in my heart more fervent love for You...My beloved Jesus, grant that I may never cease to love You, and do with me as You will.
Wednesday - Finding the Strength
O, mighty Lord, I pray that You will be my shield as I do battle against ignorance, cruelty and injustice.
Through Your unending love, I pray that you will grant me goodness and steadfastness, so that I might lead others to do Your will and glorify Your name.
Thursday - Leading The Way
Lord, inspire us today with the qualities of good leadership.
Give us insight to make wise decisions, integrity to face the truth, courage to make difficult choices and compassion for the needs of others.
Make us a model of justice and honor to the world, and let us never forget that our job is to serve, both You and others.
Friday - Doing Your Will
Teach us to be generous, good Lord;
Teach us to serve You as You deserve;
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not seek for rest,
To labor and not to ask for any reward
Save that of knowing we do Your will.
Saturday - Finding Comfort
Help me to remember what is really important:
that I am your child and You are my father.
You love me for who I am and how I live, not for what I look like or what I own.
Let me praise You who sees into my heart, who is always with me and who eases my suffering.
O Jesus, I pray for your faithful and fervent priests; for your unfaithful and tepid priests; for your priests laboring at home, or abroad in distant mission fields;
for your tempted priests; for your lonely and desolate priests; for your young priests; for your dying priests; for the souls of your priests in purgatory.
Above all, I recommend to you the priests dearest to me; the priest who baptized me; the priest who absolved me from my sins; the priests at whose masses I assisted and who gave me your Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priest who taught and instructed me; all the priest to whom I am indebted in any other way.
O Jesus, keep them all close to your heart and bless them abundantly in time and eternity.
Keep them, I pray Thee, Dearest Lord,
Keep them, for they are Thine.
Thy priests whose lives burn out
Before Thy consecrated shrine.
Keep them for they are in a world apart;
When earthly pleasures tempt, allure,
Shelter them in Thy Heart.
Keep them and comfort them
In hours of loneliness and pain,
When all their life of sacrifice for souls
Seems but in vain.
Keep them, and remember Lord,
They have no one but Thee,
Yet they have only human hearts
With human frailty.
Keep them as spotless as the Host
That daily they caress;
Their every thought and word and deed
Deign, Dearest Lord, to bless.
All generations are encouraged to attend!
There are regular monthly meetings of Men's Groups throughout the Diocese. Click on the Directory button to find out more about them. If your parish has a Men's Group that is not in the Directory, please contact us to get it on the list.
What goes on at Men's Fellowship Meetings?
Parish-based Men's Faith, Sharing and Fellowship Groups
The heart of the Catholic Mens Fellowship program rests with the parish level Mens Faith, Sharing and Fellowship groups. These groups are based on and grounded in Holy Scripture.
Men are encouraged to form groups of four to ten men and meet weekly, biweekly or monthly for approximately ninety minutes (preference is weekly or biweekly). At these gatherings they discuss their lives in the light of their Catholic faith and life experiences through friendship, prayer and fraternity. Some mens groups include men from neighboring parishes and men who are not catholic.
Men participating in parish Faith, Sharing and Fellowship groups form a community cultivating deep friendships among their fellow parishioners, have fun, and learn from one another how to be a better husband, father, son, employee, Christian man and Catholic parishioner. Spiritual growth and accountability become factors as they get to know each other. Often certain members of the group who are quiet or troubled and seldom participate in Church activities will come out of the shell as friendships grow. Men are awakened to the needs of the church and are encouraged to offer their talents and gifts.
Typically a meeting begins with prayer or song. Scripture passages are read which support the discussion theme. Men are challenged (through the guidebooks) to adopt an action point for the coming week or two. Meetings close with prayer. Some groups include a social time with refreshments to encourage fellowship.
Most Mens groups meet in parish meeting rooms, homes or restaurants. Groups set their own times and agendas with little or no commitment of time from clergy and parish staff. Some parishes have two or more different groups functioning.
Parish level Mens Faith, Sharing & Fellowship groups represent an excellent, on going method of growing the spirituality of participants and strengthening parish life. They create a spiritual foundation from which men can step out and participate and/or lead or become involved in other parish service groups.
Men's Fellowship "Answer the Call" has been very uplifting for me personally. I have received much more than I have given. I look forward to sharing my love for Christ through and with our men in our Men's Group at St. Hilary.J.M.J.
Gerry Faust - Former Head Football Coach of Notre Dame & University of Akron
Prior to Promise Keepers I was a world class mechanical Catholic. I went through the motions every Sunday of going to Mass, no prayer life, no spiritual life and no need for any of the above. My job & having fun were my gods and I worshipped them well. PK was a time of discovery but it lacked the Mass and other Catholic theology. Then came "Answer the Call"! Enter a vibrant spiritual life filled with direction, confidence, prayer, excitement, many new friends, purpose, the support of my small men's group and most of all Jesus Christ. You gotta love it!
Bob D'Aurelio - St. Helen's Parish in Newbury, OH
I love to go to our Answer The Call Men's Group because I like to socialize with Good, Christian men. I get a feeling of comfort with God in my life and another daily mass as well as the learning of our faith more deeply. I enjoy the discussion of how God worked in our lives that particular week. Jerry Petit - Member of St. Sebastian Parish & lifelong Catholic. He is known as "Coffee Man" because he makes the eye opening beverage prior to monthly Men's Group Meetings. Through Catholic Men's Fellowship I have been provided with examples and inspiration from other men who live admirably, spiritual lives in today's upside down world. The fellowship led me to a path which returned me to the sacraments and a richer, fuller, happier life. TRY IT-YOU'LL LOVE IT!
Michael Lowrey - Dedicated family man, lifelong Catholic, President of Fiserv Cleveland, and is a parishioner of St. Paschal Baylon.
Our pastor has been overwhelmed by the crushing workload of running a parish, as is most pastors in our church today. Introducing anything new was impossible. Then came CMF and the endorsement of Bishop Pilla. Through the direction and guidelines of CMFNEO, and use of the workbook "Signposts", we have been able to develop faith groups of men who share their walk and develop a deeper personal relationship with God. This organization is a testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Hank Richard - Hank is involved in full time ministry and lives his life as a professed Christian man. In addition to many other organizations, he works diligently in the area of interdenominational pastor fellowship, Vibrant Parish Life, Christian Businessmen's Association, and is the Promise Keeper Task Force Director of Summit County. Hank has dedicated his life to spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to all he can touch and is a parishioner of St. Paul Church in Akron.
Join a Group
How do I join? First, look into your home parish. There may already be a group in place. Check our Online Directory of Cleveland Area Catholic Men's Groups to see if your parish is represented. If not, ask your Pastor or Associate Pastor. If no group is at your parish, it is a fine opportunity to have your desires made known to the Pastor.
Pick a group that meets near your home and is convenient. After going to a few meetings, you may want to encourage others from your Parish to attend. Once a critical mass of men from your parish see the need for a local group, we will help you to start a group.
How do I find a group to join if I am not in the Diocese?
There are many Catholic Men's Fellowships (CMF) throughout the U.S. If there is one located near your home we recommend going to their website (also provided) for instructions, or contact the CMF leader(s) for assistance. If there is not a CMF in your area and you are not aware of any existing men's faith groups, we encourage you to seek other men who share your faith and who have some common interests. They may be fellow parishioners, coworkers, or neighbors. Begin meeting together on a regular basis. We recommend starting with the resource, Signposts, How To Be a Catholic Man in the World Today. This and other resources for men's faith groups can be found on our Recommended Books web page.
You'll be surprised at what God will do through a small group of men who love him and one another.
I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
Still on the fence about joining? Read on....
Most men who have attended a men's faith group quickly discover the benefits they offer. Men participating in such groups cultivate friendships among their fellow parishioners, have fun, and learn from one another how to be a better husband, father, son, employee, Christian man, and Catholic parishioner. Many men say they have grown by this experience, which has helped them to form stronger and happier families and to cope better with the stresses they encounter at work. Another reason for belonging to a small group of men is that the men in the group can support each other in their quest for living a Christian life (Proverbs 27:17).
It is confusing to be a man today, particularly a Christian man. There is a natural tension between the stereotypical male-the one many of us were taught to be, the male of the media-and the male that God calls men to be. Men are expected to play a variety of roles and to know how to bounce from one role to the other as the wind blows. The man of today is expected to be protective and hard working on the one hand, and gentle and supportive on the other. What is a man to do?
To further complicate matters, many sincere men are trying to reclaim aspects of their lives that in the past have been abdicated: spiritual leadership of the family; the ability to express love and emotion; and relationships with other men that don't have to flow from a mutual love for sports, work, or other "men stuff."
Just imagine what God can do with a group of men who will follow the Lord Jesus and take the risk of laying down their lives for one another in healthy Christian relationships.
Start up a Men's Fellowship Group
There are several approaches to starting a Mens Faith, Sharing and Fellowship group in the parish. Some parishes hold a monthly event where speakers are invited. This may occur on Saturday morning after Mass. A light breakfast is served. After the speakers presentation men break into small groups for forty-five minutes or so to discuss the issues and topic of the day.
Some groups meet weekly or biweekly using guidebooks to stimulate conversation and active participation.
One of the best approaches to starting a group(s) involves a team from the parish attending the annual Catholic Mens Fellowship Conference, ANSWER THE CALL. Here they experience the dynamics of the large gathering with powerful speakers, testimonies, etc. It is recommended that pastors select a group of men and ask them to attend the conference. Usually this core group will start a Mens Faith Sharing group and spread the word within the parish.
Parishes may not want to wait for the conference to establish a small group. The Catholic Mens Fellowship of Northeast Ohio periodically conducts meetings in various locations throughout the diocese to help parishes establish small groups. Contact the Catholic Mens Fellowship for information and assistance.
Help In Starting a Local Men's Grouph
The CMFNEO and can assist you in any way by getting the best and brightest resources that Northeast Ohio has to offer and can garner National help if need be. See Message from the President of CMFNEO.
Clergy involvement in parish Mens Faith, Sharing and Fellowship groups is minimal. Usually they encourage start up in the parish by occasionally endorsing the program publicly especially in the early stages of development. Groups function on their own.
There may or not be a chaplain that would participate with the men. However, if this can be done, it will add to the walk of faith for all concerned.
The Catholic Mens Fellowship of Northeast Ohio encourages members of the clergy to attend the annual conference with their men. Priests are asked to hear confessions during the noon hour at the conference and to participate in the Mass (along with deacons) at the end of the day. It is an excellent opportunity to fellowship with the men of the parish.
This section is dedicated to providing resources for Men's Groups. It gets updated as new material becomes available. Your feedback is important. Should you have any suggestions or support items that other men can benefit from, please contact us.