Catholic Life

Men's Group Focuses on Fasting and Healing

11/29/2002 4:04:00 PM By Karl Maurer - Catholic Citizens of Illinois

CARPENTERSVILLE -- Steve Habisohn, President of the Illinois-based GIFT foundation, has announced an organization for Catholic men called "E5", whose members are dedicated to prayer and sacrifice on behalf of their wives by fasting one, or more, times a month.

The groups suggests the Thanksgiving holidays are a good time to announce the formation of the new Christian men's group, especially because the main focus of the new group is fasting.

In a recent press release, member Steve Thomas explains how the group's name was developed. The group's name, 'E5', is from St. Paul's teachings in Ephesians Chapter 5, which talks specifically about the sacrificial nature of marriage, and how we seek to imitate Jesus who sacrificed His body for the Church."

Verse 25 of Chapter 5 of Ephesians reads, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her."

"The focus of E5 is on women who are hurting," says Habisohn. "It's about Christian men acknowledging their own shortcomings, specifically, men who sin against their wives through their stubbornness, ignorance and selfishness. In addition, we encourage our members to fast for those women in our lives we have not directly had a negative impact on, but who we know are hurt and confused because of the sins of men."

The requirements of members are simply that each man fast for his bride on bread and water at least one day a month for her spiritual growth and for any healing that might be needed. E5 has set aside the first Wednesday of the month as the fast date, and sends an inspirational, reminder e-mail to registered members at the beginning of each month.

At E5's web site, Habisohn writes, "In fasting for his bride, a member imitates Jesus, the groom, as described by St. Paul in Ephesians, Chapter 5. The incarnate God, Jesus, makes a bodily sacrifice for his bride, the Church, to present her to God the Father 'without spot or wrinkle.'"

Membership is not limited to married men. For single men, their fast may be dedicated to a fiancée or one's future bride. For widowers, the beneficiary of their prayers may be a deceased spouse, a married daughter, a sister, or a granddaughter. For the consecrated, celibate man, such as a priest or member of holy orders, the benefit of one's fast can be directed to the well being and healing of women in one's diocese, vicariate, parish, school or hospital.

While the purpose of the group is for men to focus on the women in their lives, E5 encourages members to fast more than once a month, asking God for mercy on all the women of the world that have been hurt, abused, confused and sinned against by men.

Habisohn suggests, "Men can add extra fasts for the way they treated their ex-girlfriends. Groups of men I speak to about this are visibly affected when this is brought up."

By giving the gift of fasting in reparation for past sins, Habison sees E5 as a way to not only heal women, but a way for men to heal themselves for past sins and the hurt they have caused women.

Since their web site went up 10 days ago, over 100 men have joined E5, simply by word of mouth.

"I started this because I knew a few friends of mine who were really hurting in their marriages and needed something like this," noted Habisohn. "I had no idea it would spread as fast as it has."

Recent members are from as far away as China, and the news is spreading fast.

What does Habisohn's wife, April, think of all this?

"I've changed," said Habison, "and my wife has definitely noticed. I'm a lot less picky, I don't lose my temper, I'm stopping myself from saying stupid things, and I apologize a lot quicker."

For you ladies looking to add E5 to the "favorites" section of your husband's web browser, registration information is available at E5's web site,

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