The pancake breakfast is a Knights of Columbus staple, famous around the world for uniting parishioners after Sunday Masses. Knights in Monroe, Mich., have taken that tradition and added their own twist. Every Wednesday and Thursday, they meet at 5:45 a.m. for a men’s breakfast centered around prayer, fraternity and good food.
Doug Rohr, a member of Monroe Council 1266, was initially hesitant to participate due to the early meeting time. A self-described “non-morning person,” he was eventually convinced to join by one of the program’s founders, and said the decision has changed his life for the better.
“It allows you to talk to men who are on the same path as myself, people that are rich in the faith, and also who have families and who are trying to be devoted Christian men, and participate in our community,” Rohr said. “It allows me to be able to see men who are much further along on our journey and getting their insight.”
Deacon Mike Stewart, who founded the breakfast program with his brother Knight Elliot Alfredson, stated that the goal is to “draw men back to the faith in a way that is welcome” and provide an “opportunity for men to come together in prayer and fellowship.”
The program has proven effective. What began in September 2019 as a small gathering of five people has now grown to include more than 50 participants. Eighteen of those participants were not Knights when they first attended, but the witness and brotherhood they experienced inspired them to join the Order.
Alfredson refers to himself and his fellow participants as simply “regular Joes” committed to deepening their ties to the faith through brotherhood.
“The name ‘regular Joes’ really signifies that we’re just regular guys; there’s nothing extraordinary about us,” Alfredson said. “We’re guys that struggle with our faith that have problems in our lives and yet we can come together and carry one another. That’s part of the spirit of our faith.”
This sense of brotherhood — iron sharpening iron — is what has attracted the men to attend the breakfasts. Even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, they still gathered either in-person or via Zoom offering their prayers and sharing a virtual table with one another.
“We’re really blessed by the fact that a good number of our guys were joining us virtually as they try to walk through the travails of COVID,” Alfredson said.
Joe Boggs, a member of Council 1266, believes the reason why the prayer breakfasts have been met with much success is that it provides a refuge for men to share their faith — something he saw was lacking in the community. He compared this program to Father Michael McGivney’s mission for the Knights of Columbus, reaching into the margins of society and helping men who are struggling.
“We need these entry points like the men’s prayer breakfast to provide these kind of safe spaces where men can be men, where they can share the wisdom that they’ve inherited over the years, and just really grow in brotherhood,” he said.
For their accomplishments with the men’s prayer breakfast program, Monroe Council 1266 received the Faith Program Award at the 139th Supreme Convention.
Watch a brief video highlighting Council 1266’s prayer breakfast program.
Has your council had success with a faith program? Share your story with firstname.lastname@example.org.
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