The Long Road to Heaven – a Lenten course for men in the Belper area

Published Sun, 19/02/2017 by

A Lenten course for men during March/ April 2017

Last year I came across a Lenten course based on the film The Way [starring Martin Sheen] – about a group of pilgrims undertaking the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela. I already knew I was going to be undertaking the Camino myself but was interested in this course when I read about it in The Tablet.

The course is a book by the Reverend Tim Heaton. It uses clips from the film and lasts five weeks.
I asked Father Michael if I could run this as a men’s “retreat” over Lent. I undertook the course by myself last year to see if it is OK. It does demand a bit of reading and a bit of theological thought, but this is formation!

The reason for making it a “men-only” group: I came across a number of writings over the last few years about the development of male spirituality from writers such as Richard Rohr. I know that men are sometimes reserved and unsure when it comes to discussing their beliefs and would like to see if this is something that could be developed in our parish.

Initially, I am inviting men who are members of our parish community to take part in this course. However, given the author is not a Catholic I am more than happy to have men from the other Christian communities of Belper come along. Please feel free to invite someone who is interested

I’ve asked Father Michael for the following to support this:
• Use of the parish house on Monday evenings from Monday 6 March to Monday 3 April.
• Access to a DVD player: Father Michael suggested the St Benedict Room with the wall-mounted screen and DVD player
• Heating! We might be men, but we like our creature comforts!!

I am proposing a start time of 7.00 pm, finishing at around 8.45 pm.

The course requires participants purchasing a copy of the accompanying book by Tim Heaton. The cost of the book is £8.00. If ordered on Amazon you should be able to get copies in plenty of time … there is some pre-reading. There is no need to buy the film itself. I have a copy which we can use for the course. However, it is a film I really enjoyed and seeing it all the way through does allow you to make more sense of what’s going on in the clips that are used. On Amazon it was retailing for about £4.00 when I checked their website. Alternatively, you can “rent” it on YouTube for £2.50 and watch within 2 days.
[ – the clip is a preview with details of how to rent]
If anyone is struggling to do the course because of the cost can they get in touch with me as I am sure we can do something to provide a copy of the book. This would be treated in the strictest confidence.
Please let me know if you are interested in this course and are prepared to commit to most of the meetings. I understand that some will not be able to attend all, but don’t let that put you off. Coming a couple of times can still be valuable if you can keep up the reading elsewhere.
My email is I hope some of you will be able to join me for this and that we might enjoy the road ahead!
Kind regards
Phil Smith