The St. Joseph Society of Sacred Heart Cathedral was started in the Spring of 2011 after Fr. David Boettner met with a group of parishioners to discuss his vision for a men’s group at Sacred Heart. For a period of several months, this core group of men, came together in formation to study the needs of our parish and develop a plan of action.
Over the course of these meetings, each of us began to understand what we wanted to establish here at Sacred Heart, and we needed a name … an identity. Several of us tossed out different ideas, but nothing seemed to fit or portray the image that we wanted. At some point, somebody included the word, “society” in a title and we discussed what that meant. A little later someone else said that, as men, we should try to emulate ourselves after Saint Joseph, the most chaste spouse of the mother of our Lord. Saint Joseph raised Jesus as his own, and undoubtedly, taught Him how to be a man. What better person could any of us aspire to be like? At that point, I dare say that we all had ”St. Joseph Society” on our lips … I don’t remember who actually said it.
One of the first things we wanted to accomplish was to establish an on-going set of adult education opportunities for men in the parish in order to bring all of us closer to Christ. In order to do that, we felt it was important to learn our faith so that we can proclaim it confidently and bring it back to our families, our environments and wherever God leads us. We also felt it was important to have opportunities for men to gather with other men in order to help build each other in the body of Christ. In other words, we wanted Christian fellowship with the emphasis on “Christian.”
We looked into various programs and learned about the Great Adventure Bible Study System and its introductory course was called, A Quick Journey Through the Bible which covered the entire story of salvation history in 8 weeks. (I must say that this is an excellent study, and personally, I learned a lot.) With the help of Sister Mary Timothea, we were able to train several facilitators … and with the grace of God, we had about 30 men sign up. We were able to provide two sessions: one on Wednesday evening and the other on Saturday morning.
After that first offering, we added the Bible Timeline series which covers the same material as the Quick Journey, but it goes into much more detail and covers 24 weeks. We also offered A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, “a five-part study that explores the biblical roots of the words and gestures we experience in Mass and explains their profound significance.” This coming spring, after the Bible Timeline series is over, we will offer Matthew: The King and His Kingdom, which “shows how Jesus builds on the foundation laid in the Old Testament to inaugurate the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.” Our hope is to have enough men interested so that we can offer each of these studies on a rotating basis … adding more as the demand dictates.
The St. Joseph Society also sponsored an entire day for the local 40 Days for Life campaign this fall, by covering all hours and praying outside the abortion clinic on Concord Street. Like St. Joseph, we are committed to life as we stand proudly for the Right to Life from conception to natural death, and we pray for all people who are affected by abortion.
So that’s how it all started and where we are now. We are extremely excited about the possibilities and encourage men of all ages to participate, and help grow the St. Joseph Society at Sacred Heart Cathedral into a group of “Men Building Men In Faith.”
May God Bless