Jeff Cavins is a well-known Catholic evangelist who, among other things, serves as the Director for Evangelization for the Archdiocese of St. Paul Minneapolis.  Working with Matthew Christoff, he introduced the Catholic Watchmen initiative in the archdiocese.  Simply put, this initiative is “a movement that challenges men to step up to the plate concerning the basic disciplines of the Catholic faith,” said Jeff.  “We are challenging men to engage in fundamental disciplines daily, weekly, and monthly.”

Man praying

Each day, men are challenged to pray, read the Scriptures, and live the life of St. Joseph as provider, protector, and leader of their families.  Weekly, men are asked to fully engage in the Mass and to find ways to serve both their family and their parish.  On a monthly basis, men are challenged to go to confession and to meet with other men in fraternity.  These monthly meetings allow men to challenge each other to live the life of Christ.

When asked about the fruitfulness of the initiative, Jeff said, “It has primarily provided a track for men to follow since many Catholic men don’t know what is expected of them” as Catholics and as men.  “We are giving them some basics on how to live the Catholic life,” Jeff continued.  “For some men, it is the first time that they’ve had the opportunity to come together in fraternity and see men who are serious about their faith.”

The events are easy to invite other men to whether they are practicing Catholics or not.  “It is one thing to invite people to a 24 week Bible study,” said Jeff. “A lot of men are going to say, ‘No, I don’t have time for that.’ But to invite them to a single event is much easier… When the men come, they start to see that there are other men who have the same concerns and desires as themselves.  As they listen to them, they stand a better chance of entering more fully into the life of the Church [compared to] just standing off to the side and hoping to find their own entry point.”

When asked how parishes and dioceses can shift from the culture of maintenance  to a culture of mission and evangelization, Jeff said, “Men are critical for the health of the parish.  If you engage the men and get them to walk in their role as fathers, husbands, and providers/protectors of the family, you are going to see a fruitfulness that comes in the parish as a result.  Many of the men are on the perimeter of the parish;  they don’t know where they sit and they don’t know how they belong there.  Often times the wives are involved in Bible studies and small group discussions, but men don’t see a natural way to be a part of the parish.  The Catholic Watchmen gives them an opportunity to meet with other men and to really walk as men using their gifts in the local parish.  As they learn how to walk as men in the parish, I think it is going to raise the whole level of the parish.”

Catholic Watchmen is a national initiative and for anyone interested in finding out more or to establish a Catholic Watchmen Vanguard in their parish/diocese, they should read through the Catholic Watchmen website and contact Jeff Cavins at jcavins@mac.com.