By Deacon Dave Profitt
On April 13th, 2013, I knelt before Bishop Roger Foys to receive the imposition of hands to become a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Covington, KY. Never in my wildest imagination could I envision the chaos that would enter my life once I was ordained. It set off a chain reaction of events that rocked everything I thought about what I was called to be as a man.
The first thing that happened was that I knew that God had a much greater plan for me than I was anticipating or for that matter what I was wanting. I felt moved to work in the Church, but I didn’t know how.
Lo and behold, through unexpected circumstances, I was hired to become the Diaconate Director of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in May of 2014. Because of the unique proximity of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the Diocese of Covington, KY, my responsibilities straddled the Ohio River.
Last fall, Archbishop Dennis Schnur of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati called me into his office. He asked to help reignite the Catholic Men’s Conference that used to happen every year here in Cincinnati. This led me to a much deeper desire to understand the state of Catholic men’s spirituality in the Church today.
It wasn’t long after that when an interview with Cardinal Raymond Burke came out by Matthew Christoff. Cardinal Burke spoke loudly about the Catholic crisis and how men were being driven away from the Church. Wow, that hit me like a freight train. Eventually, this led me to discover the Holy League, a new network of parish-based fraternities of men dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament and returning to the state of grace. The Holy Spirit was at work in this effort and its fruits are beginning to be seen.
We did our first Holy League night February 23rd at 7 in the evening at my parish. I promoted it on our parish Facebook page, developed a flyer and then engaged the Knights of Columbus to pass them out after Mass. I mentioned it in my homily and got it out to the men’s group in the parish. I had no idea what to expect. I was hoping 20 guys would show up. We got 45 instead. They loved it; they felt connected to the Church. It was awesome.
We did our next one in March and 60 guys showed up, some of whom I hadn’t seen in the parish in ages. This time, I added Gregorian chant music to the hour playing softly in the background. Again, it was an incredible night and the response was truly encouraging. We did another in April and although the turnout was down to about 40, I knew it was related to the beginning of spring sports and some other competing events. This time, we added a social hour afterwards and the guys had a great time. We’ve also had a number of men bringing their sons with them. That is true fruit. All in all, we’re averaging almost 50 guys over the 3 month experiment. It’s no longer an experiment.
As a result, both diocesan bishops want me to get the word out about Holy League throughout their dioceses. Between the two dioceses, that’s the potential of getting the Holy League into 250 parishes. Can you imagine the impact this can have in the lives of all these Catholics?
The Holy League works because men want simple. We want sacred without sappy. We love tradition and want that back in our faith. The incense, the chant and the benediction, brings us back to a time when our faith represented the awesome beauty of the Catholic Church. Watching 50 men kneel before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration is something that sends chills up my spine.
I had one gentleman tell me that he hasn’t felt Catholic in a long time and that Holy League made him feel that way again. I had another say that this hour is like a retreat for him. It’s their chance to unplug from the world and engage in a relationship with Christ that will make them better husbands, fathers and men. It’s man to man and that’s something that most men can relate to. It builds relationship within the parish and there’s no pressure to share their feelings.
Give these men what they need and what they’re looking for. Help them become the husbands and fathers and men they need to become. Get moving on this. It’s time to kick the tires and light the fires.
Find out more about Holy League and how to bring it to your parish at www.holyleague.com