OSHKOSH — Since he was a child, Matt Troiber has felt the drive to give back to the church and his community. “I feel motivated to do so,” he said. “It’s the least I can do because of everything Jesus did for us.”
He started by ushering at church and then serving as a greeter. For his grandmother’s funeral, he was asked to do some of the readings. One of the priests asked him, “Have you thought about doing this on a regular basis? You have a talent for it.”
So he began serving as a lector. “It’s been great doing that,” Troiber said. “It’s an honor to proclaim the word of God in front of people.”
Troiber has been a member of Most Blessed Sacrament Parish for 12 and one-half years. In recent years, he has been an active participant in “That Man is You,” an interactive men’s ministry that started in Houston, Texas. It has been called “a sign of the new evangelization” and focuses on developing male leadership in the modern world.
Troiber said the organization is filled with love and intentions to serve God and the community. He said Bishop David Ricken is a strong supporter of That Man is You and encouraged as many parishes as possible to start a group.
In Oshkosh, leaders from the different parishes decided to create a collaborative group that includes men from all three Oshkosh parishes, as well as parishes in Omro and Winneconne. There are about 100 members, which is one of the largest That Man is You groups in the country.
Interested men of all ages and stages in life meet Wednesday mornings, roughly during the school year, at the Sacred Heart site of St. Jude the Apostle Parish. They meet early, Troiber said, so that meetings do not interfere with work life or family life. Starting at 5:15 a.m., the members meet for breakfast, fellowship, viewing of a DVD and small-group discussion. They head out for the day by 7 a.m.
When he first became interested in joining That Man is You, Troiber had been committed to helping his brother out in a business late on Tuesday evenings. He wondered whether he would be able to get up early enough the next morning to attend the group meetings.
He was told by one of the organizers, “Don’t do it for yourself. Do it for your family.”
“That was enough to tip me over the edge,” Troiber said. This focus on strengthening the Catholic faith to help strengthen the family is one of the best aspects of the group, said Troiber. He and his wife, Kristine, have been married for nearly 20 years and have a son, Elijah, 9.
“This helps strengthen your Catholic identity,” Troiber said. “It makes you a better husband, a better father and a holier man. It’s very inspiring. Fatherhood is a profound responsibility and a profound gift from God. In a small way, we share his fatherhood. We are called to lead our children as best we can, get them to heaven and get ourselves there, as well.”
Members range in age from 18 to 100, are single and married, with and without children, and all feel the transformation. “It makes them more aware of the fact they’re called to something great,” Troiber said. “People can see the change in them. The camaraderie in that small group brings everything together and serves as encouragement. When I leave, I seem to have an extra jump in my step. My boss always says he can tells it’s Wednesday when he sees me.”
For the past three and one-half years, Troiber has served as one of the small-group leaders. “Our discussions are very profound and very (oriented for) sharing,” he said. “We really get to know each other, and I really look at them as brothers now.”
Discussion topics and the support of other men in the group have been transformative in his own life, Troiber said, and that members all assist each other in strengthening their faith.
Serving others is an important aspect of Troiber’s faith. “I get so much back from doing that,” he said. “I have met a lot of people through volunteering. Knowing that what you do has a small – or sometimes very large – impact on someone’s life is inspiring and motivates me to do more. Those who don’t do so miss out on opportunities to help others, to meet others and to have those relationships that otherwise wouldn’t be there. I feel propelled to do it.”