Introducing the Catholic Woodworker

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How would you sum up your vision for this initiative in one or two sentences?

Our Mission is to inspire men to pray the rosary daily as a remedy for our sinfulness, out of obedience to our Heavenly Mother, for the protection of our families, and for mercy on this nation. Men do not believe in the power of such a humble prayer. We must convince them of it, and there is no better way than through personal encounters. Social Media has proven to be a great means for like-minded individuals to join forces and go after a singular mission. That is precisely what we are doing: a community of men across the country praying the rosary, making rosaries, and evangelizing with the rosary.

Do you think men have a harder time praying the rosary then women? If yes, why do you think that is?

It’s technically not harder, but we are worse at it for sure ;). It requires a great deal of discipline and humility to accept the reality that we are worthless and can accomplish no good on our own, except through our Heavenly Father. This is completely opposite the lies our culture is spoon-feeding young men. We weren’t taught to respect our parents or anyone for that matter. Obedience has been stripped of its merit and virtue. We do not look up to our Elders (often, the only ones in a parish or community still praying the rosary).

Mary has begged us for 100 years to pray the rosary. It’s time to listen, and if for no other reason than out of obedience, pick up the rosary and pray. As for discipline, that has also been lost. Satan hates the rosary and so even if I pick it up and try to pray it, He’s immediately going to attack you, telling you it’s for women, it doesn’t work, no one really prays it anymore.

Men MUST encounter other men praying it if they are ever going to believe in the true power of the rosary.

Why do you think a gender-specific approach is important for this?

We have completely lost the unique qualities that distinguish masculinity and femininity. We must restore authentic masculinity, and specifically with the rosary men need to understand its true nature: A WEAPON! The rosary is a sword used to fight evil. No one ever used those words with me growing up, and I don’t think I realized (or wanted to) that a war was going on, a battle for souls.

When my oldest son who is almost 7 now began to understand that all this prayer stuff was the real version of Batman vs. Joker, that there was a real battle and the rosary was the weapon we could use to punch the worst villain of all, the devil, in the face, he was all-in!

Men were born to fight, but we have taken that fight away from them. Fighting is bad, arguing is bad, conflict is bad, everything that inspires men to action is now “bad”.

Once a man realizes there is, in fact, a fight and their salvation and that of their family rests on them going to war, they will inevitably pick up their sword and prepare for battle.

 

How can praying the rosary help men better live out their vocations?

The rosary is a surrender to our weakness.  If you pray the rosary every day, you are admitting you cannot work, you cannot provide, and you cannot live without the grace and mercy of God.  You cannot humbly pray it every day AND continue to live a life of sin.  One or the other will go.  It’s really that simple.  Mary’s Intercession takes care of the rest.

What advice do you have for someone who struggles praying the rosary?

Accountability. The devil is stronger than us. We don’t want to believe that, but he will defeat us if we fight alone. Men must join forces, and in my experience, the BEST way to do this is something like Exodus 90 from Those Catholic Men.

You want brotherhood? Spend 90 days not eating sweets, working out, taking cold showers, and praying the rosary….it will change your life.

What is your story with the rosary?

I grew up hating the rosary. My mother did her very best to get us praying it, but I always wanted to be doing something else. It wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I started exploring the idea of praying it in the car on my way to work. I don’t remember why or exactly when I started. I didn’t even have a rosary, I started counting on my fingers. Eventually, I made a wood rosary ring, but it broke. I have since come to understand that my grandparents and parents had been praying the rosary for us for YEARS. I know that was a catalyst.

Fast-forward to 3 years ago. My wife had bought me a real rosary for Christmas, and I was praying it intermittently, but never intentionally. I was always distracted, and never once did I meditate on the mysteries. I saw Father Michael Gaitley at our Men’s Conference and he introduced us to the Consecration to Mary, and completed the consecration in November of 2014, and that’s when things started to pick up steam. So much has transpired in the last 3 years, it’s difficult to put into words. The one thing I know for certain though is that the rosary was behind it all, and just making that commitment to pray the simplest prayer I knew, the only one I felt comfortable praying, daily for so many years transformed me.

Today, I enjoy it, I look forward to it, and more importantly, I almost fear not getting it in because it has become to me as important as breathing.

How did you come to be the Catholic Woodworker?

I started as Conrad Designs making picture frames and home decor stuff. The coolest part is that my conversion has followed my woodworking step-for-step. My wife got me The Life of St. Joseph as manifested by Our Lord Jesus Christ to Maria Cecilia Baij for Christmas in 2015. It completely changed my perspective on being a husband, father, and woodworker. I increasingly got into hand tools, stopped trying to sell my work, and just develop my skills (discipline and patience), and by January of 2016, I had officially switched to The Catholic Woodworker. At that time it was mostly Crucifixes and a few other small religious things. I continued making decade rosaries, the only one I knew how to make, and it wasn’t until Easter Monday of 2017 that I started selling full-length wood rosares (That’s right, only 6 months). I’m a perfectionist, and I couldn’t stand rosaries that broke or ones made with beads from China. I wanted wood beads on a cord. So I spent months and months figuring out how to do that. I even had a journal entry from Lent this year asking Our Mother to help me make durable rosaries if it was her will. 2 days later I figured out how to make the knots that make them so strong and the rest is history.

How do you balance faith and running a business?

I spend the first part of every day in prayer. Like, wake up at 5:45, go to adoration or daily mass and then pray the rosary on my way to work…pray. It’s my life line. Everything else fits in around that OR it doesn’t fit. I don’t follow sports anymore, I don’t watch TV except an occasional movie with my wife, and I don’t go out with friends unless they are friends that like to talk about the rosary (that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the point).

How can we support this initiative? 

Buy rosaries for the men in your life, and if they aren’t open to praying it yet, pray an extra Hail Mary, Decade, or full rosary (on the one made for them) for their conversion. Pray that they will encounter a holy man to inspire them to pray the rosary too. Pray with us for the conversion of men, any small daily prayer offering for this cause. That’s what we need. Mary will do the rest.

Where can we find you on social media?

You can find me @TheCatholicWoodworker on Facebook and Instagram and online at www.CatholicWoodworker.com. I just overhauled the website so you have the ability to design your own rosary in silver alloy or genuine bronze. This is a great way to personalize a spiritual weapon to fit the man in your life perfectly. Or, if that sounds overwhelming you can always order one of our designer rosaries from our Etsy store here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/catholicwoodworker.

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