is a Latin word meaning "Brotherly," and was chosen
as the organization's name to express the brotherhood aspect of
the mentoring process. Having like-minded Catholic men and boys
keeping each other accountable is a powerful tool in the fight
for virtue in a world going in the opposite direction. There is
no better way to build a strong bond between father and son than
having them pray together, learn together, play together, and
keeping each other accountable. "As iron sharpens iron,
so one man must sharpen another" (Proverbs 27:17).
in America is quickly breaking down… 40% of children in the U.S.
will be raised without their father in the home. Even with a father
present, many are absent both emotionally and spiritually. Pope
Emeritus Benedict said: "The crisis of fatherhood we are
living today is an element, perhaps the most important, threatening
man in his humanity." The Fraternus mission is not only to
mentor our own children in virtue, but to be an example to the
outside world of how a true Christian lives out his faith. The
organization teaches that it is not enough to go through the motions
and checking off the list of only attending Mass and being a "good
Fraternus work? Basically with weekly Frat Night meetings
and an occasional outdoor Excursion:
is a two-hour weekly meeting held during the school year. There
are usually one or more priests available for leading prayers,
providing opportunities for Confession, and offering spiritual
guidance. Following an opening prayer, a small meal, and several
games of dodge-ball, a short movie clip is played that revolves
around the seven virtues of faith, hope, love, prudence, justice,
fortitude, and temperance.
After a brief
talk, the boys are broken down into smaller age groups for Squad
Time. The small group offers fellowship and discussions at an
age-appropriate level; and focus on how the relevant virtue relates
to their daily life. The boys are led by a small group of Captains
encouraging the participation of each boy. At the end of the squad
time, a tangible challenge is given to exercise the virtue in
each boy's life (getting up early to pray, attend an early daily
Mass, serve in a local soup kitchen, pray at an abortion clinic,
make a sword, take a cold shower, etc.). The challenge is then
reported on the next week. The completion of challenges is recognized
at Fraternus ceremonies.
time for the boys, the men have a separate adult level discussion
of the virtue being studied and are encouraged to dialog with
their sons on the drive home about what they learned that week.
is usually followed by closing prayers and joining the Priest
and Parish Community in the church for the Compline service (Night
Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours).
are periodic gatherings experienced in an outdoor setting which
is much needed in a world saturated with media and materialism,
especially in the teen years. Fraternus Excursions are designed
with a common theme and goal for the participants, namely, learning
about their true identify as men. Camping, canoeing, bonfires,
inspiring talks on the battle for salvation, outdoor games, and
outdoor cooking, are all a part of bonding with each other while
learning the virtues of living a Catholic life.
Fraternus meets on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 at St.
Paul Cathedral. If you would like to explore the Fraternus experience
with your son (grades 6 - 12), stop in to one of the meetings
and introduce yourself. You probably already know some of the
information, contact Terry Rumore at (205) 222-7204. Also check
out the Fraternus Birmingham Chapter website: www.fraternusbham.com;
the Fraternus National website: www.fraternus.net
from various gatherings of the Birmingham chapter of Fraternus: