Bishop Michael F. Olson’s endorsement of the apostolate is an answered prayer
The timing is certainly right for an apostolate dedicated to bringing together Catholic fathers and sons, says Brian Squibbs, National Director of Communications and Recruitment for the Troops of St. George.
“There’s so much confusion today—especially with regard to what it means to be a man—in our culture,” he explains. “Boys are receiving all the wrong signals, which leads to so many problems as they mature to young men.”
The Troops of St. George—founded in 2013—is a fraternal Catholic nonprofit apostolate for priests, men, and young men looking for a life of adventure coupled with virtue. The apostolate has grown to over 1,300 members in 41 fully chartered troops
Ultimately, Squibbs says, the organization is poised for growth.
“The timing is really perfect,” he said. “Catholics are looking for apostolates that will help them in their vital role of building saints for the new millennium. Our program is based on authentic masculinity—the teachings of the Church that will help foster boys’ growth in virtue. At the same time, it helps their fathers deepen their understanding and love for the Church as well.”
When Bishop Michael F. Olson of Fort Worth, Texas, officially endorsed the Troops of St. George as a Catholic apostolate last week, it was an answer to years of hard work and prayer.
The Troops’ National Executive Director Dr. Jeremy Lustig thanked Bishop Olson for approving the apostolate and for his enthusiasm for the Troops’ work. “Bishop Olson has been enthusiastic about our work from the beginning, so we’re thrilled to have his official approval of our ministry.”
The hierarchy has embraced the Troops of St. George, Lustig said. “They understand that our mission is to use the outdoors as our canvas—and the sacraments as our path to light the way for the formation of holy Catholic men and boys.”
That mission is rooted in the heart of the Church. The Troops’ mission statement says: “Whether called to the vocation of the priesthood, the religious life, or that of holy fatherhood, our fathers and sons will take a prayerful pilgrimage together to fulfill Christ’s desire for them to grow in virtue and in their holy Catholic faith as they journey toward heaven.”
One of the things that sets the organization apart, Squibbs said, is that each Troop has a chaplain—a Catholic priest in good standing with the local diocese—who provides Holy Mass, Confession, and spiritual direction to the Troop. Many chaplains provide the local parish as a place for Troop meetings.
“Our chaplains love their experience with the men and their sons,” he explained. “It’s really enriching for them, so they go back to their parish glowing about their time with the troops. And the men and boys are really fed spiritually by the priests. It’s a win-win all around.”
One of the best experiences for most troops is praying the Rosary around the campfire, Lustig said. “Most of these men pray the Rosary with their families, but having the chance to pray the Rosary with a group of men and their sons around the crackle of a fire touches all of the senses. After the first time, they come back just yearning for that spiritual and tangible experience of prayer in the outdoors with their friends.”
Mass outside with the group is another aspect of that all Troops of St. George look forward to.
“Most of our troops haven’t had the experience of Mass in the woods,” Lustig explained. “Our chaplains always strive to make it extra special for the boys. We can only thrive in our faith with the Eucharist.”
Prayer and sacraments—together with a unique experience of the outdoors—make Troops of St. George membership valuable to Catholic families, he said. “We’re eager to spread the word about our program because we’ve seen its transformational effect on people—especially the fathers and sons.”
To learn how you can start a Troop in your community, click here.