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.
Jason Craig grew up in two homes – sometimes with his mom and sometimes with his dad, but he moved in with his dad full time at age 12. “For a lot of my friends, their father was a blank in their minds,” Jason explains, “They just were not around. But my dad took me in at a critical age and showed me that fathers love and protect their sons. Later it made sense to me that God would send His Son to save me – dads do that for their boys.”
Jason fell into typical teenage vices, but everything changed after he was mentored by a mature Christian man and led to accept the Christian faith. Jason has been working with youth ever since.
After a failed attempt at showing a Catholic friend why Catholicism was nonsense, Jason became a Catholic, along with his future-wife Katie, who grew up in an atheist home. After being received into the Church, Jason and Katie entered the world of full-time Catholic ministry. However, as Jason applied his knowledge and experience of youth ministry at a Catholic parish he realized that it was the families, especially the fathers that had the greatest impact. During this time Jason joined Justin Biance and Tommy Van Horn in founding Fraternus, and Jason wrote and developed the training and curriculum used today around the country. Jason has a Masters in Theology and Evangelization from the Augustine Institute, and continues his studies and work from a small farm in rural NC. His writings on culture, masculinity, and mentoring have appeared on numerous sites like New Advent, Catholic Exchange, and Those Catholic Men, and he is working on a book on rites of passage for Catholic boys. He is also known to staunchly defend his family’s claim to have invented bourbon.
Board of Directors
Ed Toth first came into contact with Fraternus right at the beginning, at one of the “pilot” Chapters at St. Paul’s in Pensacola, FL. “I fell in love with the idea immediately,” he remembers. “I’ve been involved ever since.”
Ed and his wife Karen co-founded Telecom, a successful business in the world of telecommunications. As an electrical engineer, Ed has also worked in management at GE and has overseen man high-tech projects. “I have also had every version of a smart phone since the very beginning,” he adds. Ed and Karen have created a wonderful culture in their company that allows their family to be together, travel often, and live their faith vibrantly.
Ed’s two boys are currently Brothers in Fraternus, and Ed is even piloting a program for younger boys, since Fraternus doesn’t start until age 11. He has experienced what he calls “the burden and privilege” of mentoring and knows the world needs more ways that men can intentionally form the next generation. It’s a burden, he says, because men are fallible and sinful creatures, but it’s a privilege because men are also called in a unique way to pass on a true manhood rooted in Jesus Christ.
Asked why he is a board member and benefactor, Ed laughs and says, “Because Jason Craig invited me to his house for fresh bacon!” But he then explains that his experience with the brotherhood and philosophies of Fraternus have really helped him in his own life, and help men and boys in general reclaim the spirit of virtue and greatness. “Men and fatherhood in general are just too underrated, but we can look around today and see how much we need more virtuous men.”