“We don’t need men who wear capes and masks and fly … We just need men who are alive with the truth,” say organizers of the annual Legacy of Virtue breakfast, seen here in 2018. Jeff Bruno photo
“We don’t need men who wear capes and masks and fly … We just need men who are alive with the truth,” say organizers of the annual Legacy of Virtue breakfast, seen here in 2018. Jeff Bruno photo
" What comes from commissioning is conviction. " Dan Duddy CAC moderator, motivational speaker
Just as a young man can watch his father shaving and see himself shaving one day, so, too, can boys look to their male mentors and learn how to live their Catholic faith.

“A male has unique experiences just like a female has hers,” Thomas Caffrey of St. Mary Parish, Barnegat, said in explaining the importance of sons and daughters having a model to emulate. “A boy will look at his father in the public square, how he relates to other people. Is he charitable? How does the father live his faith with his children, with his wife? Does he give reason for hope? 

“Only by seeing his father can a young man start to do identify with his father and say, ‘Yes, I can do that, because I see my father doing it.’ He can then see himself growing up to be the kind of man his father is.”

It’s that male relationship model that organizers hope to foster during the third annual Legacy of Virtue event April 26 in St. Mary of the Pines, Manahawkin. The day will include a father-son breakfast, a presentation by TFP Student Action and a commissioning ceremony. TFP Student Action is a student alliance that defends the Catholic faith across the country, typically on college campuses and in the public arena.

The event is being sponsored by the parish men’s ministries – the Knights of Columbus, That Man is You and Bagels & Bible – with support from Cohort parishes. Boys and men of all generations are welcome, as the breakfast and commissioning are opportunities to cultivate relationships between boys/men and their male role models – fathers, stepfathers, uncles, grandparents, mentors, coaches, etc.

“Our intent is to present a platform where young men know they are here for a much greater purpose: to realize that the Church, the bride of Christ, needs them,” said Dan Duddy, Catholic Athletes for Christ moderator, pastoral minister of athletics and guidance counselor in Donovan Catholic High School, Toms River, who will be overseeing the commissioning ceremony.

Speaking on the importance of being commissioned, Duddy said, “Men love tradition, initiation and ritual, and this world really doesn’t bring much of that to us anymore. It’s considered to be corny or a hyper-masculinity. We need to redirect our young men toward commissioning because what comes from commissioning is conviction.

“When we can bring spirituality to commissioning, our young men are much more inspired to pick up the torch,” he continued. “One day these young men will be called to fatherhood or leadership in some level of vocation. The best way to become a great leader is to know what a great follower is. And we’re talking about servant leadership, which is really a definition of fatherhood.”

Caffrey, who helps facilitate the parish That Man is You ministry, said it is his hope that the youth in attendance will find inspiration from the day’s theme, which is “Fortitude.”

“It is a way of showing how to demonstrate the three theological virtues [faith, hope and charity] but also the four cardinal virtues [prudence, temperance, fortitude, justice] in their defense of the Catholic faith,” he said.

“We hope they will be encouraged when they go back to school or are with their peers and won’t shy away from saying ‘that’s not the truth of the Catholic Church or the Catholic faith’ when someone is being derisive,” Caffrey said.

Duddy agreed, saying young people need to learn more about themselves and express their voice. “We need them to be able to step up and say, ‘Hey, I have something to say. Please listen to me.’ And we want them to speak the truth, so we have to teach them the truth.

“The world is extremely deceptive,” he continued. “It wants to pull us away from our inner selves, but the truth and Christ live within us. The world needs men who are alive. We don’t need men who wear capes and masks and fly or shoot webs out of their wrists. We just need men who are alive with the truth.”