HISTORY AND PURPOSE
In 1998, Fishers of Men (FOM) Founder, Mike Cemeno attended a Men's conference with his dad, Joe and current FOM Board member, Greg Rodriguez. The conference, held in Rockford, was entitled Walk the Talk. Mike response was, “we need to start a men’s group”. Initially meeting with a group at St. John’s parish in Joliet, Mike and others began meeting at Cemeno's Restaurant where the Holy Spirit helped inspire them to form what is today Fishers of Men. "Our plan from the very beginning", notes Mike "was to help every man we could reach, grow in love and relationship with Jesus Christ, knowing this was the path to becoming a whole man ready to fully serve God."
Fishers of Men officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3), faith-based, charitable nonprofit organization in 2004 and began its work, reaching out to parishes and parish men's groups throughout the Joliet Diocese. "Our goal was and still is to meet every parish and every man just where they are, then to come alongside and see how we can help them grow," said Mike. To that end, Fishers of Men began identifying volunteer leaders in various parishes, helping to either strengthen or form Men's groups to ultimately serve every man in every parish.
From all-volunteer to a long-term infrastructure:
For the past 12 years FOM has operated on all-volunteer basis. But in the last several years, our growth has greatly accelerated. In the fall of 2016, the FOM Board of Directors to ensure the opportunity to adequately seize the many opportunities coming its way, decided to build an organizational foundation for the future. In November 2016, the Board brought on FOM’s first ever Executive Director, Mike Lennon. Mike will lead the way in organizational and resource development so Fishers of Men can meet the challenges and opportunities God puts before us.
Fishers of Men has grown in garnering support from key Leaders in the Diocese. Father Burke Masters serves as FOM’s Spiritual Director and is active in many FOM events. Mr. Dave Spesia is FOM’s Diocesan liaison and is actively supportive of FOM’s conferences and key larger events. The organization is also supported by a dedicated Board of Directors and Executive Director, who are listed on this page.
- Form and empower men of all ages to be intentional disciples of Jesus Christ
- Help men let go of the “plague” of shame and guilt through a deeper understanding of grace
- Supply tools and resources to Parishes and their Men’s groups – to help them build Godly men
- Equip and enable men to become strong fathers and husbands and be ready to serve
- Provide leadership training to Parishes and Men’s groups to support their mission to men
- Instill Christ-centered, practical skills so every man can be effective in his daily environment
- Train men to “own” their faith and be able to express it in a natural and knowledgeable way
- Demonstrate and Impart Godly values and virtues, through the power of the Holy Spirit
- Teach and model regular, faithful service. “I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:10
- Inspire the practice of confident Christian living, really knowing Christ as our present King
- Create and encourage environments of fellowship and friendship where guys can “let down”
- Partner with the Diocese by encouraging religious vocations and God’s vocation for every man