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History of SacraMentors

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(from the May 1997 newsletter) -

----Note: SacraMentors started out as the Men Of The Upper Room (MOTUR) and the name change to SacraMentors took place in November 1997. (The name has been changed in the following article)
by Fr. Bob Camuso

The idea for SacraMentors came in 1993, while I was at my first assignment as a priest at Holy Family Parish in Kirkland. I asked the pastor what programs he thought I might work on at the parish and he suggested I create something on the subject of male spirituality to get more men involved in adult formation and education. There was some concern about getting more men involved because most of the programs offered at the parish were attended primarily by women. Since male spirituality was an area I was already interested in, I agreed and began a series of six evening gatherings for men.

I announced in the parish bulletin that I was looking for twelve men to participate. Eighteen men showed up and we began our first evening. The series was well received and I was amazed at the hunger in men for this kind of program. I was also astonished at how the men opened their hearts to one another during the evenings that followed.

When I was asked by the Bishop to be the parochial vicar at St. Andrew’s Parish in Sumner, I accepted. Once again, I asked the pastor what I might do that would be of service to the community. He heard about the series I did and asked me to do it for the men of St. Andrew’s. While I was preparing to launch another SacraMentor series, a mutual friend introduced me to Lory Misel. Lory was providing group therapy in Enumclaw, a town not far from Sumner. I didn’t know any therapists in the area and wanted to know of his services for the possibility of recommending parishioners for counseling. After a second meeting with Lory I told him about the series I was planning and he offered to help present the series, at no charge! Since we had not worked together before I was a little hesitant, but I had heard many good things about Lory from other friends who went to him for counseling and I was impressed by my own brief experience of him.

And so we offered a new series of six sessions which, as I recall, turned out to be about eight sessions. Once again, I was amazed at how the men were so open to the process and material that was offered. It felt good that I wasn’t presenting the series by myself. Lory is not only a great presenter but a wise person who has taught me much in short time we have known one another.

From the Sumner series, Lory and I learned we could not do this alone. So we asked Carl Jones to join us as facilitator/administrator. Carl continues to be invaluable in helping us promote this program.

The next series was offered at St. Anne Parish in Seattle after I was assigned here as Pastor in July of 1996. This time we reduced the number of sessions from six to four. We had about forty men attend the first session and there are now two groups of men that continue to meet regularly.

The fourth offering of SacraMentors has just taken place at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Tacoma. At our first meeting we had fifty men.

Lory and I have a dream that SacraMentors will develop in other parishes in our diocese and even spread to parishes beyond. I believe that will happen as Lory and I begin to step back and allow you, our brothers of SacraMentors who are called by God to do so, to present this program to other men. I invite you to pray about being part of our team.

SacraMentors is something our Church has needed for a long time. The success we have in bringing this to other men will depend on your support and involvement. I ask you to ask God about your active involvement in the future of SacraMentors. If we are to have our history told again, there won’t be much to report without your contribution.

-- (from the August 1997 newsletter by Fr. Bob Camuso) --

In the past few months we have been working on many fronts to introduce the SacraMentors program to our diocese. I met with Archbishop Murphy a couple months before his death and sent him the materials we have produced thus far. After reading our materials he became very enthusiastic about SacraMentor and began promoting it among priests, telling them they should talk to me about our program. With the archbishop’s death we have lost the best public relations person we could have had! One of his concerns was that we present this program not just to parishes in King County, but to parishes that extend to the boundaries of our diocese. I very much want us to be able to fulfill this last request he made of me.

When I talk to priests about SacraMentors they ask me when we can come to their parishes. There seems to be a pent-up demand for the what we are offering to men. One thing Lory and I quickly discovered is that we cannot do this alone. We need your help as leaders to present the talks and lead the program in parishes. In this regard, we are currently putting together a leader’s manual that will outline the program and provide information on how to facilitate the four sessions. Once the manual is completed we will be inviting many of you to join is in training sessions to prepare you to present this program at other parishes. If you are asked to be a SacraMentor leader we hope you will accept that this call is not just from us but also from God. Why? Because this is God’s work. My role and Lory’s role is simply to cooperate with what God seems to be doing with the men who have participated in the SacraMentor program. Lory and I are continue to be amazed at the changes we have seen in men who have joined with us so far. We know this is not something we have done. It is the Holy Spirit who is changing the hearts of so many men. We are humbled and grateful to be mere witnesses to the wonderful works of God!