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Reigniting men’s Catholic faith

That Man is You coming to a parish near you

Maybe it wasn’t as dramatic as the biblical story when Nathan reveals to King David that the man who has lost course and betrayed God is not someone else, no, “That Man Is You.” (2 Sm 12:7) But Mike DiCosola had his own moment of clarity and inspiration at a trade show in Texas three years ago when he was looking for a program to bring back to his parish.

I saw a lot of different options, but something drew me over to this very simple display,” recalls Mike referring to the That Man Is You presentation, which is one of the most popular series from the Paradisus Dei organization. “The deacon who was working the booth was so on fire about the program that it made an impression on me. Something told me this was it.

Back home, Mike presented the idea to his pastor at Our Lady of Consolation in Rockford, Mich., who picked up on his parishioner’s enthusiasm.

Mike’s parish launched the program in the summer of 2015. Mike and other members of his core team posted up in the back of church after each Mass with their “TMIY” polo shirts.

The core group signed up more than 100 men that summer. Three years later, the weekly TMIY meetings still regularly attract more than 60 men each Thursday morning.

“I just think the timing was right,” says Mike, who is the director of mobile services and the myParish App at Diocesan Catholic Life in Grand Rapids. “It’s the men that we’ve lost. We are getting them together and having them ask the question: ‘Where did I lose it?’ Together, men are supporting each other and reclaiming their Catholic faith.”

That Man is You, founded in 2001, addresses the pressures and temptations that men face in our modern culture, especially those relating to their roles as husbands and fathers. The program incorporates current social and medical science with the teachings of the Catholic Church and the wisdom of the saints to develop the vision of man fully alive.

The full program takes three years to complete, with each 90-minute weekly meeting divided into a 30-minute meal, 30-minute DVD presentation and a 30-minute small group discussion.

“Those discussions sometimes go on for much longer,” notes Mike, who understands time constraints as the father of five children and the director of the myParish App, which is used by more than 3,000 parishes – and growing. “Each week has a different theme and kind of a different way of getting men to talk about issues that they normally don’t discuss,” he says.

Mike is now a true believer in the That Man Is You program and encourages parishes across Michigan to work with their local Knights of Columbus and start the program. The secret, Mike says, is to convince skeptical (and busy) men to come to the first meeting.

“The most exciting part of it for me is watching men get inspired,” says Mike. “You see people come in going through the motions, but this program is very down-to-earth and it brings people in. I have seen men start to warm up, open up their minds and hearts and they end up on fire.”

To illustrate that point, Mike uses the example of his friend’s experience with the program at his parish.

“My friend went to the first meeting with little expectations, just wanting to meet some of the guys as a new parishioner,” recalls Mike. “He had zero intentions of sticking around even for the small group sessions. But he was really captivated and intrigued by the content of the talk, so he stuck around for the small group session.

“Here we are three years later and he is now a small group leader and core team member.”

Now, Mike is excited about seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of men like his friend from all across the state re-ignite their Catholic faith.

“We walk out of each meeting better men, better fathers, better employees,” says Mike. “It’s exciting to see Catholic men embrace their role as authentic male leaders.”

That Man is You

Richard Budd, director of marriage and family life for the Diocese of Lansing, works with the Michigan Knights of Columbus on family and marriage issues, and has been reaching out to Knights councils across the state, encouraging them to work with their parishes and launch the program this fall.

He says of That Man is You: “This program is all about supporting and strengthening the role of the father in the family, No one is saying that this one program is going to be a cure-all, but it has worked well and had a profound influence in other places. We are hoping to provide this opportunity to Catholic men all over Michigan.”

Contact your parish or local Knights council and ask if this program is coming this fall. For more information on the program, visit WWW.PARADISUSDEI.ORG/THAT-MAN-IS-YOU.