One thing that I have noticed while visiting many of our churches is the lack of men in the congregation. This puzzled me to the point that I decided to ask several male associates what they did on Sunday morning. The answers ranged from washing the car to cutting the grass to just lying around doing nothing. One individual told me that he felt uncomfortable having discussion about God although he had been brought up in church. I also notice that the male attendance seems to drop when the Ravens have a home game or during the summer months when many of our golf courses have early tee times. I know that during the course of our lives, each person must decide how important God is in the life.
On June 19, I had the pleasure of spending a Saturday morning with more than 100 positive men who were not ashamed to talk about God or lift their voice in praise and worship. June 2010 was the year that St. Ambrose Parish was the host church for the “Father’s Day Prayer Breakfast.” For those readers who are not familiar with this special event, it happens each year on the Saturday before Father’s Day. The Prayer Breakfast gives men the opportunity to fellowship with other men and re-commit to wholesome Christian principles.
As a member of the planning committee for the St. Ambrose Prayer Breakfast I witnessed first hand how God works miracles if you only invite Him to take charge. The committee selected “Men Committed with Purpose” as the theme for the prayer breakfast and turned to two of the greatest apostles, St. Paul and St. Peter, for guidance from the Scriptures. Apostle Paul led us to his second letter to the church at Corinth when he told the church, “I’m ready to visit you for a third time, and I won’t bother you for help. I don’t want your possessions. Instead, I want you.” St. Peter led us to his Epistle, 2 Peter 1:1-5, 10-11, which served as our Scripture reading for the day. This Scripture instructed the men “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”
Our speaker, Deacon Steven Rubio of St. Ambrose and St. Matthew Parishes let the men know that “God is Up to Something Great.” From the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah Chapter 29 verses 4-14. Deacon Rubio told the men “no matter what you are going through, God has a plan for your life.” Further, Deacon proclaimed “in spite of the challenges, the crises, circumstances, contradictions, and conditions, we as men of God need to remember we need to stay committed in knowing that God is always up to something great.”
Deacon Rubio talked about some of the hopeless situations that men encounter in their lives, but he left the men with hope when he said “God does not intend for us to waste our gifts or our talents, or squander our lives or to suffer or struggle needlessly, God plans to use all of what you are going through for a purpose so that you can have a hope and a future.”
His conclusion reminded the brothers of the words in Romans Chapter 8 “For we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love the Lord and who have been called according to His purpose.”
The message of staying committed to God was echoed by St. Ambrose pastor Father Paul Zaborowski,a Capuchin Franciscan, and Father Raymond L. Harris, pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption in Govans.
The proceeds from this year’s prayer breakfast went to support the ministry of the Oblate Sisters of Providence. I have no doubt that the sisters asked Mother Lange to intercede on behalf of the men because many of the ladies of St. Ambrose willingly stepped forward to help with the food preparation and serving more than 100 hungry men. As the Father’s Day prayer breakfast concluded, each man left not only with a full stomach but a mighty word from the Lord. With the singing of “Rise Up Oh Men of God” the brothers departed revitalized, energized and committed to the work of building God’s kingdom here on earth.
Rodney D. Camphor is a parishioner of St. Ambrose.