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October 2023 Newsletter

Men, happy Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi! Though this memorial might bring back memories of priests blessing pets when you were in grade school, a deeper look at the life of St. Francis of Assisi reveals depth that is, without a doubt, an inspiration to any man seeking to take the next step in his life.

Francis was raised a man of the world, expected to gain wealth and privilege in his native France. He lived a life of sin (in his own words) in his early years and converted when he was 25. He eventually heard a call from God to “go and repair my church.” Francis initially thought this meant to rebuild the local church structure that had fallen into disrepair, but eventually came to understand this meant to restore order in the Church which had become laden with scandal and abuse. Francis rejected the ways and wealth of his youth and formed the Order of Friars Minors (OFM), which is a “mendicant” order (where members do not hold possessions either individually or as a body, relying instead on the charity of the faithful). In his later years, he endured the stigmata (the bodily wounds of Jesus on one’s hands and feet, causing the person affected to suffer greatly). Francis died in 1226 on this date at the age of 44. He was canonized a saint less than two years later.


So, on this Memorial of St. Francis Assisi, I challenge our Men of Signum Crucis: what in our lives needs repair? What in our surroundings needs to be corrected? Are we aware of circumstances in our lives that need to be restored in order to “go and repair my church”? We likely are not being called to empty our bank accounts, but do “things” get in the way of a direct encounter with Jesus Christ? I encourage you (and me) to spend some time reflecting on our priorities and our relationship with Jesus Christ.


My next order of business is to remind you of our gathering, on Wednesday, October 18, at Helias Catholic High School. As I mentioned at the September gathering, we will begin to offer Men of Signum Crucis a choice between time spent in Devotion or in Study.


Those who are interested in Study will hear Father Stephen Jones speak on “The Four Last Things” (Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell). With the Memorial of All Souls around the corner (November 2), and as the Liturgical year comes to a close and we hear the theme of end times in the readings at Mass, it’s a great topic for our October gathering. The Study session will take place in an alternate setting at Helias–come in the same door as always and we will direct you to that location.


Those interested in Devotion on October 18 will follow a similar theme in the Chapel, reviewing and reflecting on a variety of thoughts related to “The Four Last Things.” This reflection will be led by our Chaplain, Father Paul Clark.


Following these concurrent sessions, we will meet back in the Commons for physical fortification (i.e., refreshments) just before our Litany of St. Joseph at 7:55 p.m. The Litany at 7:55 p.m. always officially ends our evening together.


Thank You!


Thank you to the Men of Signum Crucis Chaplain, Father Paul Clark, for celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for us on September 20, and for enrolling several men in the Brown Scapular. We also appreciate our Assistant Chaplain, Deacon Ray Purvis, for being with us and assisting at the Mass. Congratulations to the men who took on the commitments of the Brown Scapular.


Our Future Schedule


We are moving to a schedule that will consistently feature two months of the year at which we will all participate in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (September and February) and two months at which we will have Adoration and Confession (May and November). Our topics for the other eight months will be based on topics that you Men of Signum Crucis say are important to you. For example, as a result of our most recent survey, we plan to offer multiple consecutive Study sessions on Church History, beginning as early as December of this year. If after the October gathering it seems that splitting into separate sessions for Study or Devotion is well received, we will continue to do that in the future as well.


A Digest of Things Happening in Central Missouri (and the Midwest) ...


Man of Signum Crucis member Charles Williams will be speaking this evening at 6:00 p.m. regarding his Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary at St. Joseph Church in Westphalia. I hope all our Men are looking for such opportunities to deepen your faith by taking advantage of resources at our local parishes.


Speaking of which, the Cathedral is hosting a presentation entitled, “Current Moral Issues and the Church’s Stance,” next Thursday, October 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the Cana Hall (under the Cathedral). The session will be led by Father Louis Nelen and Jamie Morris of the Cathedral. I hope to see many of you there. Some of you have asked for information regarding current high profile moral issues and the Church’s position on these issues. While I hope that we are able to provide more information on this topic in the future, I wanted you to know of this current event.


40 Days for Life kicked off its fall campaign of praying in front of Planned Parenthood in Columbia on September 26, and will conclude with a closing rally at St. Andrew Church in Holts Summit on November 4. Because of a shortage of time at our September gathering, I didn’t get the opportunity to speak about this. Have you ever thought about participating in an hour of prayer at Planned Parenthood but didn’t because you didn’t know anyone else to go along with, or you didn’t know what it would be like? Maybe the Men of Signum Crucis could commit to an hour (or two) during the 40 days...I hope you will consider this invitation to courageously defend America’s most vulnerable women and children.


Speaking of pro-life and standing up for his faith, Man of Signum Crucis Dean Lamb is leading the charge for advocacy for the unborn as he leads the “Rosary Coast to Coast” on the front steps of the Missouri State Capitol this Saturday, October 7 (the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary) at 10:00 a.m. I hope many of our Men of Signum Crucis can attend this event. There is a flier poster on our website with more information. Thank you, Dean, for your leadership at this event.


We could still use a few more men to help out at the Ladies’ Retreat this weekend, especially on October 7, Saturday afternoon, at 4:30 p.m. to clean up. The retreat is in the Cana Room at the Cathedral. Please contact me if you are able to help.


Father Dylan Schrader of St. Joseph in Westphalia is currently using the final months of this calendar year to present “A Tour of the Creed” as homilies at Sunday Masses. By any stretch of the imagination, I am not advocating for you to not attend Mass at your parish, but check out the great topics and the dates by clicking on this link.


On the Horizon...


Exodus 90 starts on January 1. Ask me for details.


Shroud of Turin presentation on January 3, 2024, by renowned expert Father Andrew Dalton, who teaches Theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum in Rome. Presentations will be held at Helias during the afternoon and at the Cathedral in the evening. This is a fascinating topic that can strengthen our faith in the reality of the Resurrection of Jesus, which of course was not seen by an eyewitness. For anyone seeking more substantial, scientific proof for the Resurrection, this is your ticket. I hope you are putting this on your calendar right now.


Consecration of St. Joseph begins on February 15, 2023 (I am seeking leadership from the Men of Signum Crucis to assist other men who would like to participate in this exceptional devotion).


Study on Church History at Men of Signum Crucis, likely to run for four gatherings (December, January, March, April).


A Men’s Conference in April 2023 here in Jefferson City?? Let me know if you are interested in attending and/or helping to make this happen…


● Another Enrollment ceremony for the Brown Scapular. If you wanted to enroll in September but could not or did not because of any issue, we will host future enrollments. Please see me for more details if you wish to enroll.


Bible Groups, Study Groups, Book Clubs–see me if you are able to take a leadership role in leading a group in your parish. The Men of Signum Crucis is not set up to take a leadership role in weekly meetings, but we would like to advocate for study groups and Bible studies and encourage all our men to seek more depth in their faith by leading or participating in them. Our fraternity can serve as a conduit to promote growth in these activities in our local parishes.


Eucharistic Revival


Men, I hope you are staying ever faithful to the Eucharist–we are nothing without it. Consider attending a daily Mass (or two) each week and do your family a favor and invite them to attend also.


In Conclusion…


Men, take courage. Let us never avoid “hard” just because we can, but rather let’s accept and choose “hard” when we know we need to live up to a challenge. Doing so prepares us for times of temptation. Being courageous and “choosing hard” proves to ourselves that we can avoid those temptations that seem to seek us out.


I hope you are able to gather with your brotherhood of Signum Crucis on October 18 at Helias Catholic. Our evening will officially begin at 6:30 p.m. with both a Study session and a separate Devotion session on “The Four Last Things,” with an optional Rosary at 6:00 p.m. Ask (another) son, father, brother, uncle, or friend to come with you. Afterwards, we will enjoy fraternity and refreshments in the Commons.


Men, thank you for your fidelity to the Men of Signum Crucis. Your dedication to this growing fraternity is inspiring. I pray that you are growing in your faith each month, and that you will always invite other men to join us.


And, let us never forget: St. Joseph and St. Francis “chose hard.” Let’s choose to do the same.


St. Joseph, Foster Father of the Son of God, and patron saint of the Men of Signum Crucis, pray for us.


In hoc signo, vinces,


Mark Rehagen



Future Gatherings:

● October 18, 2023 (“The Four Last Things”)

● November 15, 2023 (Adoration and Confession)

● December 20, 2023

● January 17, 2024

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