¡Ese Hombre Eres Tú! Impacting lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia

“I jump out of bed at 4 am every Saturday morning excited to go!”

Peter Paquette, Core Team Member

That Man is You and Ese Hombre Eres Tú are run together at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Fredericksburg, Virginia, every Saturday morning. They started TMIY last year as a new parish, and this year they expanded the group by running the Spanish translation of the program, abbreviated as EHET. Today, about 150 men gather weekly on Saturday mornings to attend both programs!

The Spanish translation of TMIY has allowed St. Mary’s to serve both communities. Domingo Bautista and Peter Paquette help run That Man is You and EHET. Peter helps on the core team for both the English and Spanish program, and Domingo leads one of the Spanish-speaking small groups.

“When we heard TMIY was being translated, we were excited to use it immediately,” Peter explained. They already had bilingual speakers attending TMIY who were watching the video in English and then breaking off in small groups in Spanish. Domingo, a native Spanish speaker who leads a small group, shared that having the videos translated has definitely allowed more Spanish-speaking men to attend the program. “Some Hispanic men have become very committed and involved both in the EHET group and beyond in other parish activities.”


Photo credit: Ashleigh Kassock


“There is no other content like this available in Spanish.” 

– Domingo Bautista, Small Group Leader


“At St. Mary’s we wanted to accommodate both groups but also not separate them completely,” explained Peter. The meeting begins with breakfast as an entire group, then the men split up to watch the English or the Spanish videos, have small groups, and finally come back together to close in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

“The final blessing is my favorite part,” said Domingo. “The reverence and beauty of the priest coming back with the Eucharist to give the blessing is very impactful. It is impressive to see so many men gathered and united in prayer even if we do not speak the same language.”

In speaking of the men’s experience in EHET, Domingo shared, “Men are amazed by the content and formation. EHET has not only impacted the men but also the lives of their children and families.” Domingo added, “There is no other content like this available in Spanish. There are prayer groups and other activities but no other Spanish program gives this kind of formation and speaks so clearly of the reality of living family life.”

The Polfus Family – Missionary Class Three

“We discovered a new appreciation for our faith, our vocations as husband, wife, father, and mother, and the importance of nurturing our spirit through prayer.”


“We accepted the invitation to join Missionaries to the Family with the hope of impacting our community but had no idea how profound a difference it would make on our own life. One of the most prominent graces we’ve received during formation is based on the prayer we learned from Dr. Pagliarini.


Our daily life is very busy with balancing our family needs and careers, but now we have a perspective of offering our “works” as a form of prayer and a way to expand our prayer life. One of our key family values is now “joyful service”.


We’re seeing people walk toward Christ in their own ways – incorporating the liturgical year into their home life. We’ve got couples that want to engage and host their own feast day celebrations – and it’s reinforcing our mission. We are thankful for this whole program and everyone who is a part of it.”


Click Here to learn more about Missionaries to the Family.




“I think our family is really happy!”

Explore the joy of Catholic family life with Matt and Stephanie Hartfiel featured on Shalom World’s “Joyfully Big” show. You may recognize this family from TMIY’s “The Door” video. 

The Hartfiels are a joyful family of seven. Surrounded by family and friends who are practicing Catholics, they flourish in the plan that God has for them. The Hartfiels speak about raising their children in the faith and God’s providence in their lives. Praise Him!


Click Here To Watch!

“It is never too late to do something for your family.”

Name: Jose Gomez

Parish: Saints Simon and Jude, The Woodlands, TX

Role: TMIY Participant Year 5


“TMIY speaks to my heart.”

“I had just moved to Houston and was searching for a community. This young man got up after Mass and invited men to join TMIY. I felt I could relate to him. Getting up early on a Friday seemed difficult, but I was interested in the challenge.”

“Coming from Boston in the doctorate program for engineering, I was constantly in an atheist environment hearing a lot of stuff against religion and God. Joining TMIY and hearing the other side of the story has been important to me. I really like the focus on making better men and leaders for families. TMIY is a place where I feel validated in my values and in what is true as taught by Jesus Christ.”


“I have seen the program change peoples’ lives.”


When he first joined TMIY, Jose knew few people in his community and was single. Today, he is married and has a one-year-old daughter named Cecilia. “I was blessed to find TMIY before having my family…It has affected my family.”  He mentioned that most of the TMIY men in his group wish they had found TMIY earlier in life. He encourages men, “It is never too late to do something for your family.”

The Power of Personal Invitation

“I will never forget what you have done for my family.”

“It was 4 years ago and I received an anonymous text message wishing me Happy Father’s Day. I asked who it was. A young lady responded that her husband attended TMIY. She said, ‘You are the reason that my husband is here with me and my children. He went to TMIY and our relationship has never been the same. I will never forget what you have done for my family.’”

Four years prior to that moment Tommy Benasco’s coworker introduced him to TMIY. He was working with a man who went to a different parish that had attended TMIY. He shared about the program, and Tommy was immediately intrigued. “TMIY was what I had been looking for. I needed to bring it to my parish.”

Tommy decided to contact Paradisus Dei and get TMIY started. When he called he was informed that the deadline to start the program had already passed. He was very determined to get TMIY started. That day he reached out to a friend who had the pastor’s cell phone. As soon as he called, the pastor gave his blessing and Tommy hit the ground running. He knew he was already behind schedule, did not have a core team or anyone to attend, but he was excited and determined. “I called every single contact in my phone to get the group going.”


“TMIY has completely changed my life, and I know it affects others as well.”


Today, Tommy’s group has been going strong for eight years with a stable core team. He even started another group which meets in the evenings because he saw the impact it had on people’s lives. “TMIY has completely changed my life, and I know it affects others as well,” Tommy shared. “We have probably impacted 300 men through TMIY. I have men’s wives from the TMIY group approach me at the store and thank me.” Though it was challenging to get started so late, “God had a plan!” said Tommy.

John the Baptist: An Encounter with Christ from the Womb

A reflection by Mark Hartfiel on the Dobbs decision


I can’t think of a more perfect day to uphold the dignity of life than the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. This feast is celebrated each year on the Friday after the second Sunday following Pentecost. In all other years, June 24th is the celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. As far as feast days go, this feast is also atypical in nature. In most cases, feast days come on the anniversary of the death of a Saint. As an example, St. John Bosco died on January 31, 1888. Therefore we celebrate and honor his life and death on January 31 each year.


There are only three birthdays celebrated by the Church: Jesus (Dec 25), Mary (Sept 8), and John the Baptist (June 24). Why these three? The Church believes this trio was uniquely born without the stain of Original Sin. Of course, Jesus is Jesus. Mary was Immaculately Conceived. A less known teaching includes the belief that Jesus sanctified John the Baptist in the womb of Elizabeth prior to his birth. This moment came as “Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry … For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy” (Luke 1:41-44).


The presence of Jesus Christ, in the womb of Mary, the first tabernacle, sanctified John in the womb of his mother. Elizabeth, who was filled with the Holy Spirit, makes it very clear that the son inside her womb had joy!


It seems to be no coincidence that the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade comes on a feast when we remember a baby in the womb who rejoiced at the presence of a baby in the womb.


Let us pray: Jesus, Mary and Joseph, teach us what it is to be a family. John the Baptist, teach us self-sacrificial love. May we pray for everyone affected by this decision: the unborn, all mothers and fathers, the frontline workers promoting life, those in need of healing from past decisions, and all those we disagree with. O Sacred Heart of Jesus – Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy. Amen.


Art by: Corby Eisbacher

Into the Heart of St. Joseph

Twenty-four men journeyed to Montreal on May 19th on pilgrimage and retreat to St. Joseph’s Oratory. What they found was much more than the world’s largest shrine dedicated to St. Joseph.


“We arrived as strangers, we became friends, we left as family” – Joseph G.


“I went on this pilgrimage because I needed the entire Holy Family of Nazareth’s help in fulfilling my role as husband and father. And although I didn’t know how a “journey” would bring me closer to Christ — particularly through Saints like St. Joseph and St. André — I was rewarded with the simple miracles we take for granted: that God appears to us disguised as our lives… through simple acts of praying in fellowship with other men seeking or contemplating the lives of common people that we now revere as saints. I learned that journeying “Into the Heart of Saint Joseph” was nothing more than living out — if even just for a weekend — the simple traits of all the Saints: obedience, quiet love, and humility.” – Ted M.


“Each time I look at the photos or reflect on the encounters with these men, I can’t help but feel grateful and thankful for this blessed experience. It has made an indelible mark in my memory.”


“Twenty-four men of faith immersed themselves in the life of Brother André to understand the will of St. Joseph, ultimately to bring honor and glory to the Holy Family of Nazareth – the foundation of the domestic church. This mountain top experience filled our spiritual tanks and enabled us to stand shoulder to shoulder wearing the breastplate of righteousness, to defend the faith, and be fishers of men!  Ite Ad Joseph. Praise Him!” – Gerald V.


May 15 Canonization of Blessed Charles de Foucauld

Blessed Charles de Foucauld and the Presence of God

Blessed Charles de Foucauld is one of four saints studied during the Missionaries to the Family formation year. Applications are being accepted for the next class of missionary couples through the end of May. To find out more and to apply, please visit here.


From the Paradisus Dei Prayer Handbook:

Blessed Charles de Foucauld was born into a wealthy family in 1858 in Strasbourg, France. His parents died when he was five. He was adopted by his grandfather, who died when Charles was nineteen. Charles inherited a fortune — but his life spiraled downward. He abandoned the faith and indulged in his passions. He joined the army, but his quarters were filled with the finest cooks … and the prettiest “party girls.” He was disciplined by the army on numerous occasions and placed on leave. His fortune was placed in the hands of a conservator when the courts declared him a “spendthrift.”

Charles needed a change. He accepted a commission to the Sahara Desert. He fell in love with the vastness, silence, and solitude of the desert. At great personal risk, he scouted the entire Sahara. When his reports were published, he became famous and returned to Paris. Despite the sudden fame, money, and women, he longed for the silence and solitude of the desert.

He began a correspondence with a devout cousin, Marie de Bondy. She convinced him to see Fr. Huvelin at St. Augustin Church in Paris. Charles entered the confessional as an atheist and left as a man of God. He left the army and became a monk. His wanderings took him to Nazareth where, at last, he glimpsed the mystery he sought:


“I have glimpsed [the life of God] walking the streets of Nazareth.” 


“Jesus came to Nazareth, the place of the hidden life, of ordinary life, of family life, of prayer, work, obscurity, silent virtues, practiced with no witnesses other than God, his friends and neighbors. Nazareth, the place where most people lead their lives” (Charles de Foucauld, Essential Writings, p. 28).

Charles came to understand that at Nazareth, Jesus didn’t look or act like God. No miraculous cures or profound teachings. Christ was simply present in the normal events of everyday family life. It was this presence that transformed the home at Nazareth.

This is the mystery of your home. Christ is present in all the details of normal everyday life. He is hidden like at Nazareth, but he is there. Our challenge is to discover his presence and allow it to transform our lives.



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