Christ the King Parish in Tampa is leading men “Into the Breach.” That’s the name of a formational program developed by the Knights of Columbus that urges Catholic men to wholeheartedly embrace masculine virtues in a world in crisis. The program is based on an Apostolic Exhortation written by Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix who hopes to encourage men in their mission as husbands, fathers, sons, grandfathers, widowers and young men preparing for their vocation.
“Into the Breach is a calling for laymen to step up and be part of the community, to be part of the Church, to lead their families, as well as to lead their community and the faith,” said participant George Fisher.
The members of the Society of Saint Joseph Men’s Ministry have chosen “Into the Breach” for their focus this year. The group was formed about nine years ago and it aligns well with the Diocesan goal of meeting the diverse needs of families, as articulated in our mutually-shared vision, Courageously Living the Gospel.
“We have 100 or so men that show up at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday mornings that want to grow in holiness, want to grow in their faith, want to grow in Christian service,” says Father Len Plazewski, Pastor of Christ the King Parish. “It’s been a great and beautiful gift to the parish.”
Bryan Kynkor, who serves on the leadership committee for the Society of St Joseph Men’s Ministry believes this kind of program is vital.
“It is tough in the world. There’s lots of pressure on men to step up in their families. Having a small group that stays in touch during the week is really helpful. We challenge each other, we support each other and we are there for each other in good and bad times,” he said.
At their weekly meeting, the men watch a video and have about 30 minutes to discuss and share ideas. During these discussions they cover issues that range from personal to spiritual.
“The best part of Tuesday morning is the small group discussion and that is why we limit videos to 15-30 minutes and have the remaining 30 minutes plus to talk and connect,” said Kynkor.
Each week has a theme with an accompanying video and table questions. Themes include masculinity, brotherhood, family, leadership, and suffering, among others. Participants are encouraged to lift each other up and share their weekly spiritual and emotional challenges and triumphs.
“It’s an outlet for guys. We need this as men,” says Joseph Warren, a parishioner, new father and host of the podcast, Broken Catholic. “Most of us bottle this stuff up, we push it down and suppress it, like childhood wounds, trauma, all this stuff, and eventually it swells to the surface and we act out in our lives whether its pornography or other forms of addiction and we ruin our marriages. To have this kind of outlet for men is critical for healthy relationships with God and others.”
Some men may feel intimidated in attending because this is outside their comfort zone. However, Father Alex Padilla, Parochial Vicar for Christ the King Parish encourages men to realize, “I’m not alone in this struggle. I’m not alone in this journey. I’m not alone in needing someone else. I can do this.”
For more information on this program, including videos and materials, visit www.kofc.org/intothebreach.