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Saints & Suds summer lecture series builds on That Man is You program

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Something happened during the course of the That Man is You program last year at St. Francis de Sales Church in Purcellville. A fraternity and camaraderie developed among the more than 50 men who met early Saturday mornings for fellowship, to watch a video and for small group discussions.

James Blankenship, director of religious education at St. Francis de Sales, feared the momentum would drop off. Last year he created Saints & Suds, a four-part summer lecture series held at a local brewery. Blankenship invites speakers from the Arlington Diocese and Archdiocese of Washington to speak on spiritual topics.

That Man is You is a 26-week interactive multimedia men’s program created by Paradisus Dei that focuses on man’s relationship with God, his spouse and his children.

Saints & Suds, sponsored by the That Man is You men’s group, are held on the second Tuesday of the month at Dirt Farm Brewery, owned by parishioners Bruce and Janell Zurschmeide.

The final two talks in the “Call to Arms: Engaging in the Spiritual Combat” series are “Weapons of War: Prayer and Fasting” with Father Paul D. Scalia July 11 and “No Greater Love: Following the Path of Martyrdom” with Deacon Marques Silva Aug. 8. Fellowship begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by the lecture at 7:15 p.m.

“In today’s post-modern age, spirituality is falling by the wayside and we have to realize we are all in this spiritual battle and these are good things to talk about,” said Joe Bergeman, a parishioner.

Though the series was created to bridge the gap for the men’s program at St. Francis de Sales, Blankenship says the talks are open to all men. Women of the parish have their own summer series, Wine and Wisdom, at North Gate Winery in Purcellville.

“I think at St. Francis de Sales we are riding the crest of a spiritual tidal wave,” said Bergeman. “You can see a lot of things develop.”

That Man is You lit a spark in the faith of the men who participate. Many attended the diocesan men’s conference in March. They recite the rosary together, attend weekly adoration and First Friday Mass, and participate in a Forty Hours devotion.

“(Saints & Suds) is the glue that sticks everything together,” said Blankenship. “Everyone loves the summer place and is excited to come.”

Parishioner David Matheson appreciates the camaraderie at these events.

“Not only in the church, but in society in general, the opportunity for men to gather with other men and especially to do so in a faith-oriented environment is valuable,” he said.

The talks recognize where men are individually on their spiritual journey and within the context of the wider society and church, said Matheson. “It provides strategies for becoming that better man of God we are all called to be,” he said.

If you go

Weapons of War: Prayer and Fasting with Fr. Paul D. Scalia July 11 and No Greater Love: Following the Path of Martyrdom with Deacon Marques Silva Aug. 8. Fellowship begins at 6:30 p.m. and the lecture begins at 7:15 p.m., Dirt Farm Brewery, 18701 Foggy Bottom Rd., Bluemont.

Wine and Wisdom: Created For Love: Putting Your Gifts into Action with Robin Hill, July 18; She is More Precious Than Jewels: The Wife of Proverbs 31 with Nancy McKeague, Aug. 15; The Feminine Genius: Discovering The Dignity of Women with Ever Johnson, Sept. 19. Fellowship begins at 6:30 p.m. and the lecture begins at 7:15 p.m., North Gate Vineyard, 16031 Hillsboro Rd., Purcellville. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017