Local Parishes Religious education

Men’s program launches in additional parishes

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Jim Kafka has three words for men who want to know if “That Man Is You” is for them.

“Come and see,” he said. “This is a great program. It’s just the best Catholic men’s program that I’ve seen in 30 years.”

Beginning in September, Catholic men in the archdiocese will have more opportunities to “come and see” when That Man Is You groups will meet at five different parishes.

That Man Is You is a Catholic men’s program that seeks to “call men to be the husbands, brothers and sons that God meant them to be,” said Kafka, a member of the That Man Is You group at Church of the Nativity in Leawood.

The program originated with the lay organization Paradisus Dei, founded in 2003 by Steve Bollman, a Catholic layperson in Houston. The program takes its name from the Second Book of Samuel, where the prophet Nathan pronounces God’s rebuke to King David,saying, “That man is you” (12:7).

That Man Is You offers a 26-week program that is divided into two 13-week semesters, fall and spring, to match the typical academic year.

According to Kafka, That Man Is You seeks to bring men together for friendship, fellowship, mutual support, and recommitment to living a Christ-centered life. The mechanism for this is the weekly meeting.

In the archdiocese, a typical weekly meeting begins with a quick breakfast, followed by a 30-minute video, and then small-group discussions lasting some 45 minutes. The whole meeting lasts about an hour and a half.

The first year, approximately 100 men met weekly at That Man Is You at Church of the Nativity.

“The outcome was a much deeper appreciation of their Catholic faith and how it undergirds everything in their lives,” said Kafka. “And this was very surprising to a good percentage of the men, who have never allowed their faith to go to that depth in their lives.”

“I think part of the reason for that is that the program is so Christ-centered and so authentically Catholic, that that combination was really dramatic for a lot of the guys,” he said. “There were a lot of real commitments made to living out their roles as leaders in their families, their marriages, their parishes and the marketplace.”

That Man Is You was introduced to the archdiocese through pilot programs at Immaculate Conception Parish in St. Marys and Church of the Nativity. This year, the program is expanding to St. Ann Parish in Prairie Village, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish and Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish, both in Topeka.

“The second year has been totally revamped,” said Kafka. “The intent was to meet guys where they were in their daily lives and encourage them and challenge them to be faithful in whatever role God has given them in life — primarily in their homes as husbands and fathers if they’re married; [as] single adults, if they aren’t — and certainly to integrate their faith in their daily life.”

A man does not have to be Catholic or to have attended previous meetings to participate,said Kafka. Nor does he have to be a member of the parish where the That Man Is You program is hosted.

For more information, call the sponsoring parish, or go to the That Man Is You Web site at www.paradisusdei.org/ tmiy. On the left-side menu, click on the “Find Location” button, and then click on the states map.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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