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Parish to offer men’s hour of prayer

Father James Buckley had been battling cancer for a year, taking care of his aging mother and not taking any real time for vacation.
 
But the associate pastor of St. Cecilia Parish in Omaha said he felt called to make a special trip to France in May, to venerate incorruptible saints such as St. Catherine Labouré, St. Vincent de Paul and St. John Vianney.
 
Despite his weakened condition, he carried and swung around 35 pounds of luggage, got where he needed to go on buses in the midst of a train strike and walked up and down hundreds of steps at famous cathedrals.
 
“I had all this tremendous energy,” Father Buckley said. “I knew it was a holy goal. God gave me whatever I needed to do it.”
 
That trip formed the beginning of a conviction that grew stronger as the church faces a clergy sexual abuse scandal where evidence has been uncovered of bishops and priests misusing their office to hurt others, or choosing to look the other way: Men across the church need a new infusion of prayer and discernment that leads to positive action inspired by God.
 
“Lay people and clergy are questioning where and how we’ve been led,” Father Buckley said. “So we need to be led by the Lord Jesus in prayer.”
 
Father Buckley’s conviction is now a plan for men to worship and praise God together, pray and discern and lay out plans of action – personal and communal – that can bring God’s will to bear on today’s world.
 
Called Croisé, a French fencing term for a defensive maneuver of crossed swords, the prayer hour will debut Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at the cathedral. There will be an entry procession with music, banners and members of a fencing team from Lincoln who will end the procession by dramatically crossing swords and holding their positions.
 
“It’s like lifting up the cross to counter whatever comes at us,” Father Buckley said, “atheism, addiction, doubts about the faith. The blade holds it at bay and keeps it from destroying you.”
 
The hour will include prayer, readings from Scripture, adoration of the Eucharist and finally encouragement to men to pull out their smart phones and key onto a Croisé website that is being created with articles on faith, goal setting and other topics.
 
A similar hour will be held once each month at the cathedral, Father Buckley said.
 
In addition to serving Catholic men, the prayer hour could be an opportunity to evangelize, to invite men of other faiths or no faith to pray and discern, Father Buckley said.
 
“It’s getting guys to look at their faith, at the goals that flow from it, asking the question, ‘What should I be doing for the Lord?”

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