David Calvillo, and his wife Valerie, founded the apostolate Real Men Pray the Rosary (RMPTR) on the Feast of the Annunciation in March 2009 as an attempt to “promote [the Rosary] with conviction” to all Christians but especially Catholic men and their families. Most recently, David published Real Men Pray the Rosary: A Practical Guide to a Powerful Prayer which calls all men to deepen their devotion to Christ through Our Lady. It is a fantastic book which should be read in every men's fellowship group throughout the country. It has helped to re-ignite my devotion to the Rosary. Thank you to David for taking the time to answer the following "7 Questions":
1) Could you talk a little bit about your own faith journey, in particular the role the Rosary has played in it?
It took me almost 50 years of life to finally realize that Mom knows best. I was blessed with a Mom who always emphasized praying the Rosary and to have a special devotion to our Blessed Mother. But I was way too cool for that. It took me until I attended a retreat, an ACTS retreat, for me to finally receive the Holy Spirit’s message. That retreat and the ecstatic experience granted me during that retreat started me on a journey that brings me to today with my life’s mission to promote the Rosary with conviction. Praying the Rosary and promoting it is now a central theme in my life. I find that I need prayer in order to have a fighting chance to combat the things that we all face in life and the Rosary provides that excellent structured nourishment of faith that feeds my soul. I am especially grateful to God that I was able to finally pray the Rosary with and express my love to Our Blessed Mother with my beautiful saintly mom before she passed in 2010.
2) How did RMPTR get started and what is its mission?
RMPTR was ignited when I was serving on a retreat team and I was working with some men are faithful in praying the Rosary. Those “real men” provided the backdrop for the Holy Spirit to spark a message within me to visualize the our logo and to promote the Rosary to all, but especially the knuckleheads like me, to know that the Rosary nourishes our faith in a way that few other things can do.
We take our mission directly from Blessed Pope John Paul II’s 2002 Apostolic Letter on the Rosary. Our mission is to “promote the Rosary with conviction… in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the liturgy, and in the context of our daily lives.”
3) Your book "Real Men Pray the Rosary: A Practical Guide to a Powerful Prayer" is a fantastic reintroduction and encouragement to men to pray this devotion daily. How has the response been from those who have read it?
I believe the book has been well received. I pray that all men, but especially those of us who find it hard to pray the Rosary or who don’t have that special love for the Mother of God, can see that if knuckleheads like me can eventually be enlightened to the power and beauty of the Rosary and how indispensable our Blessed Mother is in our lives, then hope exists for all. In other words, if I can do it, anyone can.
4) What do you see as the biggest obstacle to getting men to pray the Rosary regularly?
Part of it may be that we are conditioned by society that somehow or other praying and relying on others is a sign of weakness. We fall prey to the notion “Real Men” are strong and stoic and don’t need anything from anyone. The real man, however, is Jesus and his life is how the ultimate real man conducts himself. We also need to set forth St. Joseph as the example of a real man. A working man, he listened with an open and loving heart and helped raise the Savior of man.
5) I really appreciated your "Tool Box" question for chapter 3 concerning having a well-made, high quality Rosary for praying. On my blog, I often discuss this same issue in regards to owning a well-made Bible, not simply the cheapest paperback available. Why, then, is it important for men to have a high-quality Rosary instead of one of the many plastic ones you see in churches or those we seemed to get mailed to us from various Catholic agencies each month?
There is a physicality that is part of praying the Rosary that appeals to men. If we have a good quality Rosary in our hands as we pray, then it “feels good”. Not only does it feel good in our hands when we have something sturdy and weighty in our hands but it also feels good to know we’re doing something manly and natural for our families and ourselves when we take that weapon and pray it. We’re taking care of business: taking care of our ladies and our families! The Rosary. Don’t leave home without it.
6) Speaking of the Bible, what role does it play in praying the Rosary?
The first component of our mission statement and of the 2002 Apostolic letter is “in the light of Scripture.” As I began my rebirth journey, I was somewhat surprised at the Rosary’s biblical basis. I did not know that the traditional rosary prayers and the mysteries are directly connected with and derived from Scripture. As I say in my book, the Rosary is an “executive summary” of the Gospel. That message should appeal to all Christians.
7) As is my custom for the last question, what is your favorite scripture verse or verses? Why?
I am learning every day so I don’t know that I should have a favorite or favorites but I do feel a special connection with several, including:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all things for this is Christ’s will for you in all things.” 1 Thess. 5:16-18.
“Live justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with God.” Micah 6:8.
“God is love.” 1 John 4: 8.