Men’s Breakfast with Our Bishop

2 July 2023

A cool, early Saturday morning in May saw 200 men gather in the hall of Sacred Heart church, Addington, for breakfast with the Bishop. The focus of the breakfast was to hear first-hand about the experience of the Christchurch South Parish Men's Rosary and St Joseph group. Starting small, this group has grown from 5-6 members to nearly 30 this year. They have just completed the Consecration to St Joseph (many for the second or third time), using a book written by Fr Don Calloway, MIC. The majority of the Christchurch South group are aged under 35 and are busy workers, family men with many demands on their time.

From this starting point, an initiative was put to our Bishop: that a men's breakfast could be a springboard to inspire and encourage men from all over the Christchurch Diocese to increase their own devotion to St Joseph, Patron of the Church. This proved to be a popular and great event, given that 200 men turned out, and not just for the free breakfast! Bishop Michael Gielen encouraged the men of the Diocese to start one set day a week with prayer, in small groups in each of their parishes, to ask for the care and protection of the Church, their own families, and for growth in understanding and devotion to St Joseph. He also encouraged personal Consecration to St Joseph, in parish groups. To that end, copies of Fr Don Calloway's Consecration method will be available from our Diocesan office.

Mens Breakfast 2
Mens Breakfast 1

As a further example of how this initiative might develop, a statue of St Joseph (carved from olive wood in Bethlehem) was displayed. It is making its way around homes in the Christchurch South Parish. The statue stays one week in each person's home and is a focus of prayer for the family under the guidance of St Joseph. All members of the Christchurch South men's group are encouraged to pray for the family that hosts the statue that week. The spiritual and temporal benefits of this devotion are already apparent — just ask St Joseph!

At the end of the breakfast, Bishop Gielen blessed the statue of St Joseph with the intention that this initiative will move into other parishes and devotion to St Joseph will grow, along with prayer and the benefits that flow from it. One of the positive comments made on the day by some of the older men was how pleasantly surprised they were to see such a good number of young men attending the event.

Published in Inform Issue 137