by Bob Galush
One of the biggest challenges for Catholic parents today is how to pass on their faith to their children.
Our children are constantly bombarded with secular culture in movies, music, and videos. It’s part of the experience at school and with friends. There is little promotion of the faith outside of the family and church.
In a 2018 survey, 44% of 18- to 29-year-olds were classified as having no religion at all. According to a number of studies, one way to improve the odds that children will practice faith is by getting the father to actively practice his faith.
A Program to Engage Fathers
So how is the father engaged in your family? Does he pray at home? Does he go to Mass at least once a week with the family? Does he go confession? A number of Catholic churches in our diocese have men’s programs which can help men better understand their faith and role. These include Bible studies, book groups and a very popular men’s program called That Man is You (TMIY), which currently runs at about 500 parishes in the country.
At St. Andrew Church in Apex, Joni and Bill Danjczek (pictured above) explained their experience with That Man is You.
“I’m here to talk about the men’s group. That’s right, a female to talk about this group—That Man is You … but what I’d really like to do is talk about the change I’ve seen in my husband and ultimately our family. Three years ago my husband and I were deep in the rat race. We were both tired and spent … then my husband said he wanted to start going to this group for men at the church at 7:30 on Saturday morning and things started happening in our family.
We were going to Mass regularly on Sundays. Bill and I attending a marriage retreat … our family became a stronger unit. I can’t say it was just the content of the group, but I will say that I saw Bill build real relationships with other men. I love that Bill has his group that he looks forward to seeing every Saturday … and as a mom of three boys, I love the example he is showing them.”
“That Man Is You addresses the pressures and temptations that men face in our modern culture, especially those relating to our roles as husbands and fathers.
If the father practices his faith, the children are three times more likely to practice their faith. This ministry changed my life. I was not a wild man needing to be tamed, I was a good man who became a stronger husband, father and community leader. I continue to grow each session I attend.”
Chis Kanaby attends the St. Michael TMIY program in Cary.
‘Prior to getting involved in TMIY, I thought I was doing OK in my spiritual and family life. Now, having participated for over two years, I’ve realized how much growth I still had to do, and still have to do. The program helps me better deal with the challenges of being a spouse and a father and helps me better appreciate both as well. It’s been a tremendous blessing to have developed friendships with these like-minded men whose support, acceptance and camaraderie help make our mornings enlightening and enjoyable.”
Churches offering TMIY in the diocese
Our Lady of Lourdes, Raleigh
St. Michael the Archangel in Cary
St. Andrew the Apostle in Apex
St. Catherine of Siena in Wake Forest
St. Mark Catholic Church in Wilmington
This article originally appeared in the Diocese of Raleigh, NC Catholic Magazine.