How It Works
Fraternus Chapters are born from and always pointed back to the parish, the local community of men, because it is the Eucharist that Christian fraternity is most manifest. Fraternus helps to unite the men of a parish into a brotherhood seeking virtue and holiness, and then provides a framework to make sure that passes on to the next generation through intentional mentoring. This makes a Fraternus Chapter truly a “brotherhood for all ages.” Although it goes into high school and beyond, Fraternus membership begins in 6th grade, because it is in those years that mentoring becomes necessary.
Weekly meetings called Frat Night are the foundation of a Chapter. The flow of a Frat Night is simple: there’s play, teaching, discussion, and challenge. The discussions flow from the weekly Sunday Mass readings and prayers and revolve around learning the seven virtues of faith, hope, love, prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. But, learning about virtue does not make one virtuous. As such, each night a tangible challenge is given to live out the virtue discussed. These challenges build toward the habits of a Catholic man like regular self-denial, receiving the Sacraments with piety and devotion, and praying the Rosary.
From St. John Bosco to Bl. Pierre Giorgio Frassati to St. John Paul II, saints with a particular skill at reaching the hearts of young men know that when you bring boys out into creation they become more open to the Creator. This experience of the outdoors is needed in a world saturated with media and materialism, especially in the teen years. Fraternus Excursions are designed with a common theme and goal, namely, learning about our true identify as men. Sometimes only when we disconnect from daily life and go into the wild can we realize this true identity.
HAWC stands for Honest, Accountable, Willing, and Chaste.
HAWC groups are for high school aged boys and meet outside of Frat Night. While intensifying the challenge to holiness and brotherhood, HAWC members serve their Chapter as leaders and are committed to being a mentor and model to younger boys in their Chapter.
After studying the virtues presented in the Fraternus Book and applying them, young men have the opportunity to pursue Knighthood. Fraternus Knighthood, however, is not a “graduation” and is something that the men seek as well, alongside the younger Brothers. Knighthood is the culmination of Fraternus, wherein those seeking it apply themselves to rigorous prayer and fasting together in preparation for knighting, and then promise to live a simple but serious rule of life rooted in the classical spiritual disciplines and practices of Catholicism. Fraternus Knighthood is not the end of Fraternus for young men, but the full maturity of it through being incorporated into the fraternal culture of the men in his community.