On 8–9 July, almost 80 men attended a life-changing menALIVE weekend at the Xavier Centre at St Francis Xavier parish in Corio–Lara near Geelong—one of the biggest parish weekends that menALIVE has run in the 20 years they have been holding these events in Australia and New Zealand.

Founded to respond to a great need in the hearts and lives of men, and in the life of the Church, menALIVE is a national Catholic ministry that seeks to bring men together to renew their faith in God and to encourage them to be an active force within the Church.

The weekend at Corio–Lara provided an opportunity for men to explore what makes them feel fully alive. Over the course of two days, participants were encouraged to share about their lives, the challenges they face and the hope they have discovered in seeking to walk this journey with God. Benefitting from time and space to reflect on their lives, and to share with and encourage each other, many participants found the experience transformative, coming away with a new sense of purpose and mission.

According to menALIVE team members Doug Black and Glen D’Cunha, the success of the weekend had a lot to do with the contribution and commitment of Parish Priest Fr Daryl Montecillo. During the two-month lead-up to the event, they were in constant contact with Fr Daryl, and with a small group of men who stepped up to help him with the event. While taking a very hands-on approach, Fr Daryl supported and allowed members of the local organising team to make decisions about the weekend.

Doug says of Fr Daryl, ‘His commitment and devotion to his parish community was obvious to us during our time in the parish, and it was a joy to see how so many of the parishioners responded to him as a passionate and humble leader.’

Fr Daryl’s vision for the weekend was to draw participants together to become better men, better husbands, better fathers and better sons, so that they would be seen as ‘lighthouses’ in their homes, parishes and communities, in turn bringing others closer to Christ.

Already, in the short time since the weekend, there are signs that this vision will become a reality.

Shortly afterward, one participant reported that he found it ‘hard to find the words to express my internal joy’ and that he had been on an ‘upward spiral since the conference’.

Not only can I feel and see the difference in myself by letting go and letting God in, but my wife can also see it. I can see something developing with my kids that wasn’t there before. Such peace in Him that hasn’t been felt in a long time.

Another participant described the event as ‘a transformation weekend for the good’ and another said it ‘helped me to experience the love of God that I really longed for’.

Visit the menALIVE website for more information about their ministry and events.

Banner image: photo courtesy of menALIVE.