Here are some iconic male tandems that many will recognize for their friendship, success and mutual life goals.
Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson. Chris Farley and David Spade. John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Might I propose a Catholic male tandem that might be lesser known to all but serves as a great witness to holiness for a 21st-century Catholic?
Karol Wojtyla and Jan Tyranowsky.
The first name you might know. That’s St. Pope John Paul II, whose feast we celebrated two weeks ago. The second name? Admit it, you had to Google it.
Jan Tyranowsky was a Polish layman who died at the age of 46 but made a significant impact by investing in young men in rosary groups at his parish. Astonishingly, from the ashes of World War II in Poland, 11 men arose from these groups to enter the priesthood, including Wojtyla who, in 1997 as pope, opened the canonization cause for Tyranowsky that is now moving forward under Pope Francis.
It was a simple plan. Bring men together in community to pray the rosary, discuss the lives of the saints, and challenge each other to pursue a life of holiness. The humble and holy leadership of Tyranowsky changed the life of Wojtyla and, through Wojtyla, forever altered the life of the Church and the world.
As the month of October comes to a close, I have found myself reflecting on how the rosary prayed among brothers in Christ has transformed my own life. This year at the seminary, though it is prayed regularly individually and in small groups, we now have the opportunity to pray the rosary as a whole community on Tuesday evenings. This communal practice has helped me recall my own life-changing experience in a rosary group that, only six years later, has already bore fruit in service to Christ and his Church.
As a graduate student, I joined a men’s rosary group in the fall of 2013 that met at 6:30 a.m. on Fridays. After not having prayed the rosary in more than 10 years, I initially mumbled my way through the prayers, but over time I not only memorized the prayers but also then was able to begin contemplating the mysteries of Christ’s life through the eyes of Mary.
Since 2013, from this group of 20-25 guys praying once a week at a Newman Center, Four of us are in seminary, one entered a religious community, eight served the church as FOCUS missionaries, and eight have been married in the Catholic Church and are now starting families. It is from this group that some of my closest Christ-centered friendships have been formed and continue to grow.
Perhaps the magnum opus on the church’s devotion to the rosary comes from the great Marian devotee St. Louis de Montfort. His short book “The Secret of the Rosary” tells marvelous stories and gives pointed encouragement for those striving to make the rosary a regular practice in their spiritual life. St. Louis has this to say about praying the rosary in a group.
“There are several ways of saying the holy rosary, but that which gives almighty God the greatest glory, does the most for our souls and which the devil fears more than any other, is that of saying or chanting the rosary publicly in two groups.”
Be it for vocations, for your own growth in holiness, or as a favorite devotion, the rosary is a powerful weapon and guide for those who long to be ardent disciples in the mold of the most ardent disciple of all time: Mary.
Tracy is a seminarian for the Diocese of Superior. He can be reached at ude.s1574356624fs@yc1574356624artd1574356624.