National Council of Catholic Men (NCCM)

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A national federation of organizations of Catholic laymen (NCCM), established in 1920 under the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC) and mandated by the American hierarchy to promote and service the development of the lay apostolate and Catholic Action. NCCM celebrated its golden anniversary in 1970 and was briefly merged with the National Conference of Catholic Women (NCCW) to form the National Council of Catholic Laity (NCCL), before both NCCM and NCCL became inactive in 1975.

Membership and Government. The NCCM's member organizations included parish societies, interparochial societies, state-wide organizations, diocesan federations, and national organizations. The majority of NCCM's programs and services were channeled to its affiliated organizations through diocesan and deanery councils. Approximately 10,000 men's organizations with a total membership of nearly nine million were affiliated with the NCCM.

The NCCM was governed by a general assembly consisting of the presidents of diocesan councils and national organizations, who in turn elected an executive board composed of 16 members. From the beginning of Vatican Council II, the NCCM's policies were related to the major areas of renewal in the Church's life, namely, liturgy, Scripture, ecumenism, catechetics, and social action.

Objectives and Activities. The major objectives of the NCCM were to federate Catholic men's organizations into a common agency; to develop, promote, and service programs of apostolic action related to contemporary issues; to serve as an informational service link between the NCWC and laymen's organizations; to be a central clearinghouse for information on Catholic laymen's activities; to promote and coordinate lay cooperation in national matters affecting the Church; to help existing Catholic men's organizations to work more effectively in their own localities; to cooperate in furthering the aims of all approved movements in the interest of the Church and society in general; to participate in national and international movements related to its goal; and to bring about a better appreciation of Catholic principles and ideals in the social, economic, educational, and civic life of the U.S.

The major areas of the NCCM's apostolate included:(1) religious activities, such as spiritual and apostolic formation, pastoral assistance, liturgy, and retreats; (2) communicationsby means of parish libraries, promotion of the NCCM's radio and television programs, and cooperation with the Legion of Decency and the National Office for Decent Literature (both now defunct); (3) civic and social actionin areas of race relations, migratory labor, employment and problems of the "dropout," urban redevelopment, rural life, cooperation in community affairs, and educational programs on the Church's social encyclicals; (4) legislationlocal, state, and national laws relating to current issues such as civil rights, education, the aged, social welfare, labor, and agriculture; (5) family lifefamily retreats, Cana conferences, family-life institutes, and religious practices and instructions in the home; (6) youthcooperation with diocesan and parish youth directors, sponsorship of youth leadership training courses, and promotion of recreational and educational facilities; (7) public relationsinternal news letters; bulletins; and press, radio, and television releases on organizational programs; (8) international affairsthe fostering of foreign students and visitors; educational programs on the United Nations; study clubs; and meetings on foreign affairs, missions, underdeveloped countries, and world peace; (9) organization and developmenttraining through the NCCM's leaders' course in the lay apostolate in affiliated organizations, and through the speakers' bureau and membership drives.

Four regular publications supplied continuous service to the NCCM's affiliated organizations: Alert Catholic Men, Program and Training, Executive Newsletter, and Highlights. In its program of leadership training and weekend retreats, the NCCM provided intensive study and training in the lay apostolate for a small group of lay leaders in an atmosphere of prayer, combined with liturgical and scriptural services. The NCCM maintained a library of Catholic films and was responsible also for all regularly scheduled national Catholic network radio and television programs, the best known of which is the National Broadcasting Company's "Catholic Hour," instituted in 1930.

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National Council of Catholic Men (NCCM)

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National Council of Catholic Men (NCCM)