After attending The National Men’s March in November 2021 in Baltimore, Jeff Coleman knew he had to bring the power of that experience back to Nashville.
Dressed in suits, ties and dress shoes, “there were a couple of hundred men, and we were praying the rosary while walking through the streets of Baltimore,” Coleman said, who is a regular attendee of St. Martha Church in Ashland City. “I was in the middle of the line, and I looked before me and I looked behind me and I thought, ‘Wow. This is spectacular, look at this. You don’t see this. You don’t see men marching, dressed in suits praying a rosary.’
“When we got to the end, we all sang Ave Maria and it was really touching and moving,” he said. “Even my wife said that was kind of powerful to see all these men of faith doing this.”
Now, the people of Nashville have begun to witness this same site as Coleman started organizing a monthly Men’s Rosary Rally at the Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville. The first rally was held on June 4.
During the monthly rally, the men, dressed in their Sunday best, gather for the praying of the rosary, but also the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
“We have kneelers, and all the men get down on their knees,” Coleman explained. “We have the men in a group praying the rosary and the women (who come) surrounding the men.”
While the rosary rally is open to all, Coleman had a specific reason for emphasizing this as a men’s event.
“I don’t see a lot of men standing up for the faith here in Nashville. I decided, we’ve got to do something. We’ve got to be men of faith,” Coleman said. “We’ve got to give something to God even if it’s just an hour of prayer. I felt like if we started standing up, more men would take that to their own churches and start standing up at their own churches and show the younger crowd, the younger kids, that a man holding a rosary is a powerful thing, and it’s not a thing to be afraid of.
“It’s to get people to renew their vows if you will, renew their faith, and renew their trust in the Lord. It didn’t seem like we had it. It seemed like it was being lost,” he said. “With all the things going on (in society), it seemed like the Catholic faith was being lost to the secular world and everybody forgot about the spiritual world, and I wanted to bring the spirituality back, and I wanted to bring men back to say, ‘Hey, stand up and be a man. You’re the head of the house, you’re the head of everything. You need to stand up and be proud that you’re a guy and not let the secular world attack you.’”
And Coleman said he hopes it draws in the younger generation of Catholic men since they are the future of the Church.
“I can’t speak for every individual; I can’t speak for the churches. I just know what I see and what I’ve been experiencing, and it seems like it’s always the older generation that’s doing everything, that’s helping in the Church, that’s doing the security, that’s teaching the kids, that’s mulching and fixing and doing,” Coleman said. “I want to bring this to a younger crowd and show the younger guys, it’s OK to help your church, it’s OK to be the head of the household, It’s OK to teach your children how to be faithful people, people of the Catholic faith. It’s OK to stand up and say, ‘I’m a man and I appreciate everything that God has done for me, and this is how I’m going to show my appreciation.’
“When I see younger guys (participating in the rally), it brings my heart joy to see it because I know they will probably take it back to their families, to their moms and dads or to their wives and kids and show them how to be faithful men of God,” he said. “Being a man is you standing up and saying I not only believe in God, but I believe in my family, I believe in these values. I have these morals, values and scruples that I’m going to give to my family, and I’m going to let the light of Christ shine through me.”
In just the first two months nearly 20 men of all ages have been gathering to participate in the rally. Marek Mscichowski, a parishioner of Church of the Assumption in Germantown, came to the first session after developments around the world.
“At the time, I was a bit distraught due to negative things I saw in the world. Inflation and economic shortages in the United States, war in Ukraine, and social disharmony in the United States,” Mscichowski said. “In difficult times, people should come together. A display of faith and optimism in a dark time was a great idea on the part of the organizers.
“In March on Youtube, I watched Dr. Taylor Marshall report on a men’s rosary in Poland, and he spoke very highly of these Polish men. I was very proud because that’s where my parents came from,” he said. “The rosary in Poland was held in a time when there was war just across its border with the Ukraine, and Polish men united together in their faith. I wanted to do more as a Catholic to share the gift of my faith, which is my consolation, with the world.”
Mscichowski said he also agreed with Coleman on the importance of men taking a leading role in society.
“The values of our men become the values of our society in many ways. Maybe not a perfect analogy, but society is like a boat with two oars, and it won’t move forward if only the male oar is rowing or if only the female oar is rowing,” he said. “For this reason, it is important for men of faith to make their voice heard in an increasingly God-less society and shout their faith like a lion in the jungle. We are called to be the light of the world after all.”
As the third monthly rally gets closer, Coleman said he simply hopes it continues to grow with more men joining them.
“I’d like to see the Legislative Plaza full of men on their knees saying, ‘Hail Mary,’” Coleman said. “There is nothing more powerful than seeing something like that.
“There is nothing more powerful than a group of men standing and praying a rosary and hearing that chant, that cantor keep going and going and going,” he said, with hopes that eventually they’ll add the singing of the “Ave Maria” to the monthly ritual. “It would show the rest of the community what it is to be a man.”
The Men’s Rosary Rally is the first Saturday of every month. The next rally is at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Legislative Plaza, immediately following Mass at noon at St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows Church in downtown Nashville. If participants are unable to attend Mass, they are still encouraged to come to the rally. All are welcome to attend. Dress code is “Sunday best.”
The intention for the month of August will be for families.
For more information, contact Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 615-636-5558.