The devil likes to keep us isolated, alone, and pick us off one-by-one.
This tactic works diabolically well, especially in the area of sexual sin and lust.
Catholic men in particular are ashamed to talk about this vice, afraid for others to find out about it, and so they remain isolated, without encouragement, without brotherhood and the fraternal sharing of proven actions that work to conquer it.
That is, until now…
Introducing the Brotherhood of Virtue
My good friend Gerardo and I have been involved in the men’s group at our parish for many years.
That program has been great: we consistently get 30 – 40 men coming every week. In the years we’ve done it we have gone through:
- All of Steve Bollman’s “That Man Is You” programs
- Father Larry Richard’s Be a Man program
- Deacon Harold Burke Sivers Behold the Man
Each year Gerardo and I have been asked to present to the group about growing in purity and conquering pornography.
And we’ve done that, presenting the statistics on men addicted to pornography, the young age at which boys are exposed to pornography, the toll it takes on families, marriages, and souls, and so on.
We give men some good ideas for how to conquer these sins, but we knew that something was missing. One presentation, once per year, with some bullet points on a presentation wasn’t enough to make a dent in the problem.
So we talked to our parish priest and asked him if we could make a special men’s group devoted just to conquering these sins.
After a lot of discernment, our priest agreed, and the Brotherhood of Virtue was born. It’s a small group program for Catholic men to grow in virtue, especially in purity, to conquer lust, and to find fellowship and encouragement while doing so.
What a Catholic Small Group for Purity Looks Like
Gerardo and I ran into difficulties along the way: the parish was concerned about confidentiality for the men in the group. It was also concerned about the sensitive topics we were going to be discussing.
But we didn’t let that stand in our way. We worked with the parish to carefully understand each concern and address it. For instance, both Gerardo and I got certified under the Ethics and Integrity program that our diocese uses to help keep children and vulnerable adults safe from abuse.
We also scheduled the monthly meetings for the group to be at 6 am in the morning when no one else was at the parish, providing anonymity for the men.
Further, we specified that we would meet regularly with the parish priest to discuss what was happening in the group and what support we needed, especially if we had challenges we couldn’t address ourselves.
Finally, we addressed the biggest question: what would our meetings look like each month? What content would we use? How would we structure it?
After a year and a half of trial and error we came upon a formula that works well for our monthly, one-hour long meetings:
- Say a short prayer together: Our Father or Hail Mary, etc.
- Watch the next video in the Brotherhood of Virtue series
- Discuss the questions presented at the end of the video
- Resolve to do the action items from the video
- Pray the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet together
The Video Program
Gerardo and I outlined what each meeting would look like, then recorded 15 – 20 minute videos about the topic. These videos are then played as the main content of each meeting.
They include us sharing personal stories, actionable strategies, and offering wisdom from the Church’s treasury of Scripture and Tradition to help men conquer this vice.
At the end of each video we give discussion questions relevant to the topic that help bring the men together to share their own victories and struggles.
You can watch one of the videos right here to see what it looks like.
What we have created then is a turn-key program that any man can bring to his parish, diocese, or Catholic organization.
How Do I Bring This to My Parish?
One benefit of Gerardo and I going through the process of hammering out what this program would look like at our parish is that we know, step-by-step, how one can be started at your parish.
To help men who are interested in starting a Brotherhood of Virtue program, I made a short course explaining what steps you need to take to start one.
This guide is completely free and takes you through the process of meeting with your pastor, showing him the program, explaining the benefits, answering objections, promoting the program, and inviting men to join it on an ongoing basis.
Most men will not be called to take this bold step of faith in starting such a program. But for those who are called to do something about this widespread problem and strengthen their brothers at their parish, we have made it much easier with the program. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, be an eloquent speaker, or reveal your own struggles.
Instead, you can use the Brotherhood of Virtue program and have an instant men’s group for purity at your parish or diocese.