Men Alive Retreat clarifies masculinity.
By Mark Reidy
When three wise men travel from the East bearing gifts, it is not surprising that people’s lives are transformed. This was the case on May16-17 when over 60 men gathered at Our Lady of the Mission Church in Craigie to hear the inspiring message of hope delivered by the Brisbane-based menAlive Catholic ministry.
The weekend team of Robert Falzon, Peter Shakhovsky and Peter Gabauer, along with other members, have delivered this message with passion, humour and vitality to over 2500 since 2003 and their goal of bringing men together to renew their faith in God and to encourage them to become active forces in the renewal of the church, has sparked revival in parishes across Australia and New Zealand.
“God is glorified when men are fully alive” is the motto that the ministry have borrowed from St Ireneaus and the weekend of talks, testimonies, sharing, reflection and fellowship is designed to guide and challenge men both as individuals and members of the Church to seek this fullness of life.
Presenters told the audience that men’s sense of purpose and mission, both personally and collectively had been lost. Too many men within the Church, they said, were simply existing and not fully living and this was impacting on families, parishes and the wider Church. They believe that the restoration of man’s rightful place needs to begin with an understanding of the love of God the Father, as well as a belief that He has gifted each person with a unique capacity to make a difference in the world.
A major problem, they explained, was that men’s relationship with God had often been distorted by their relationship with their earthly father.
“It is a sad reality”, Mr Shakhovsky explained, “That almost every time we ask a roomful of men if any of them can remember intimate moments with their fathers, we are greeted with a deafening silence.” It is a generational issue, he said, that needed to be healed before men could have the impact that God intended. “What is not resolved” he warned, “will be repeated.” By the end of the weekend many participants testified to receiving the knowledge and desire that would equip them to become better husbands, fathers, parishioners and Catholics. Wounds had been healed, burdens had been released and new paths had been discovered.
“It has reopened my eyes and ears to God”, said one satisfied participant and the energy and enthusiasm that gathered momentum throughout the retreat, indicated that he wasn’t alone in his awakening.
Men Alive will present another Retreat in Perth later this year. For further information on the ministry or for future events see www.menalive.org.au or ring (07) 33671402