Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Saturday, February 17, 2018

GLASTONBURY – The King’s Men are trying to put everyone back together again. Including themselves.

"I first saw them two years ago on EWTN [Eternal Word Television Network]," said Michael Klinger, a member of Wethersfield Council 4193 of the Knights of Columbus. "When I saw them on ‘Life on the Rock,’ I felt the Holy Spirit really tugging at my heart."

The King’s Men – the name refers to the men who follow Christ the King – is a Catholic men’s group founded in 2006 by Damian Wargo and Mark Houck, both from the Philadephia area. They shared a passion to educate men about their responsibilities for moral leadership and accountability, especially regarding pornography and the damage it can cause.

"We felt at the time that there was a real crisis in masculinity in our personal lives as well as in the Church," said Mr. Houck on the telephone. "We saw a tremendous lack of leadership. No one was really addressing the issue of men as leaders, protectors, providers."

For Mr. Klinger, learning about The King’s Men was a turning point in his life. "Connecticut legalized gay marriage about that time, and when you redefine marriage, you redefine what the family is," he said. "That’s why I joined the Knights at that time. I realized that my voice alone wasn’t going to do the job."

The Knights, of course, speak out loudly about pro-life and pro-family issues, but Mr. Klinger felt that The King’s Men spoke more forcefully on the issue of pornography. In Pennsylvania, he said, the group launched a campaign against strip clubs, and they shut down five of them.

"I’d never seen a Catholic group fight, peacefully of course, pornography. I also thought this is our calling as men. This work is critically needed. If men are going to be on the front lines of this battle, they need to get their act together and see what their calling is from God. We need to show up and fight," he said.

That’s why he started the first Connecticut chapter of The King’s Men, which meets Sunday nights at the K of C hall near St. Paul’s Church in Glastonbury. "We have weekly formation meetings, rosary, 50-minute education and formation on a specific book, and we make weekly commitments and accountability for the week," Mr. Klinger said. "We want to grow in virtue and work against vice, lust, anger, etc., to help men develop virtuous lives and become holy, become saints."

Jim McMinn is one of about eight men who meet weekly in Glastonbury. He said, "The biggest impact of [the meetings] is the formation of faith and accountability. We make commitments to ourselves and each other, and we hold each other accountable."

A married man with four children, Mr. McMinn said the group helps him to stay focused on his family. "As we’re out in the world and establish our careers, we tend to forget our families’ needs. It’s an opportunity to change that, and also to build men’s friendships," he said.

Another way The King’s Men builds men’s friendships is through its "Into the Wild" retreats. "It’s very rustic, and that’s all part of the thrill," Mr. McMinn said. "You get into activities that you wouldn’t ordinarily do, like orienteering, going out with an ax and a compass and finding stakes in the ground with a number and a saint’s name. I think for a lot of men, these are activities long forgotten or that they never took part in as youngsters."

The King’s Men’s weekly formation meetings are from 7:15-9 p.m. Sundays at 2533 Main St., Glastonbury. Information about the local group is available from Mr. Klinger at (860) 874-2292 or mklinger71@gmail.com. For more information on The King’s Men, go to www.thekingsmen.org.