‘Radical’ Dad on TV
Doug Barry is the founder and director of the Catholic apostolate RADIX, as well as the husband of 20 years to his wife Denise and the father of five children between the ages of 9 and 17.
Traveling extensively, he has spoken to thousands, young and old alike, through television, radio and live appearances, and is co-host of the weekly EWTN show “Life on the Rock.”
Fathers for Good spoke to Barry about his ministry and the way to form Catholic men today.
FFG: What do we need to do today to build Catholic manhood and fatherhood?
Barry: It starts and ends with prayer, sacraments and knowledge of the Scriptures and the teachings of the Catholic faith. We must allow God in and let him transform our hearts and souls. We cannot do this on our own. When each one of us takes a more disciplined responsibility for his own personal formation and training of our faith, he will find that the zeal has a much greater chance of spreading to others.
Doug Barry has opened RADIX Camp Gargano, a training site for Catholic men and boys, located in Lincoln, Nebraska.
We will build up Catholic manhood and fatherhood when we who are in that blessed and honorable position take responsibility for the part that God has asked of us to participate in. We must engage in the battle for souls, starting with our own and those that God has placed in our care.
Fathers for Good: What is RADIX and who are you trying to reach with this ministry?
Barry: RADIX began in 1992 as a response primarily to the lack of knowledge of the basics of the Catholic faith that I was seeing in the many young people that I was dealing with while teaching CCD. My wife and I were also in charge of the high school youth group at our parish and again we were seeing many lives that were so poorly formed in the faith. Something needed to be done. A sincere effort to reach these souls needed to be made.
Clearly this is not an isolated problem though, and as we formed RADIX from some old youth group members we were asked to travel to nearby towns and farther. The requests grew and spread throughout the country. In the beginning of RADIX, the intention was to reach primarily teens. Quickly it became clear that the need is paramount to reach the parents, especially the fathers. The saying is that the youth are the future of the Church. However, the future is only as good as it is trained to be and many of our young people are very poorly trained in matters of faith and in other areas of life. We all need to work harder and with a greater sense of urgency to prepare the future members of the Church for everything that they will face, most especially the day they will stand before God and give an account of their lives. We all share in the responsibility of forming the hearts and minds of the young, especially us fathers, and this should be a great motivation in giving to God our best, not our leftovers.
FFG: It must be great working with EWTN. What are some memorable moments from “Life on the Rock”?
Barry: Working at EWTN is a fantastic blessing. It is an amazing reality to consider that from this relatively unimposing structure in Alabama, the word of God is broadcast all over the world. And to know that it was started by a nun who listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit is a true testimony to the great work God can do through the humble heart.
To be part of this network is an honor. I would have to say that some of the great moments at the network truly are meeting all the visitors that come through there as well as all the awesome guests that we have had the chance to interview. In this way it is easy to see the power and reach of the Catholic faith working in the hearts and souls of so many people.
FFG: You have a dream building at Camp Gargano. Tell us about it.
Barry: Many years ago I started working with some teenage boys during the summer months in the area of physical and spiritual training, all centered on and around the Catholic faith. From that came the idea of a men’s camp that would exist for the primary purpose of training Catholic men to understand more deeply the spiritual warrior side that God has created in us.
It has grown now to become RADIX Camp Gargano. This is a 12,000 square foot building that sits in the middle of 100 acres just outside of Lincoln, Nebraska. It comes complete with a dining hall, chapel, a bunk house that holds 42 participants and an obstacle course. The name Gargano comes from Gargano, Italy, where there is a magnificent cave shrine to St. Michael the Archangel.
The need for a Catholic man to step up and realize his part in the spiritual battle is critical. We have dedicated this camp to St. Michael along with St. Joseph (specifically under his title, Terror of Demons) as well as placing it under the protection of Our Lady of Fatima.
Every man is called to be a fighter though many men are very misled in the understanding of what they are to be fighting for, and in what ways they should fight. Camp Gargano exists to help shape that tough fighting spirit in the body, mind and souls of a Catholic man. Face it. The Catholic man is either the most powerful man alive or he is the most dangerous man alive. He is powerful because, when he understands and lives his Catholic faith, and serves as a leader, protector, provider, he will inevitably lead others to the truth that is Jesus. In a very real way – and by the very fact that the man is by God’s design the spiritual leader of many aspects of a family, parish and community – the Catholic man plays a mysteriously powerful part in the formation and salvation of generations.
If he goes AWOL, however, and lays his sword down on the battlefield, then those whom God has placed under his authority will suffer in many ways and on many levels and even for generations to come. We must train with great zeal to be Catholic men of heroic, virtuous character. God is asking no less of us! RADIX Camp Gargano is now open and we are booking dates for men, young and old alike, to come from all over the country and be challenged to step up and grow in perseverance, physical and spiritual toughness and to become heroic men of prayer and men of action!