The Rosary, a Guy’s Prayer

Book review of Real Men Pray the Rosary.

Real Men Pray the Rosary

A Practical Guide to a Powerful Prayer

By David Calvillo

160 pages, $12.95

Ave Maria Press, 2013

To order: or (800) 282-1865, ext. 1


I never thought of the Virgin Mary as my personal trainer.

At least not before I read this book.

David Calvillo wants all you guys out there to get spiritually fit with Mary.

And he believes that the Rosary is the best spiritual workout: "You could get off the couch, drive to the gym and work your quadriceps. While that effort would be good, or at least healthier than lying on the couch, it would be even more productive to sit with a trainer and be led through an organized and time-tested workout designed to strengthen and tone all of the muscle groups. Such is the Rosary.

"Individuals who pray the Rosary regularly can call on Mary’s intercession as a spiritual trainer to not just lead them in one isolated workout, but, rather, to engage them to contemplate the span of the Christian Good News in an organized way.

"Just like the couch potato who, over time, works off years of inactivity through systematic exercise, so also our prayer life grows and gains muscle tone."

Calvillo, founder of the Real Men Pray the Rosary apostolate, argues with the zeal of a convert that the Rosary is a guy’s prayer (and why women should care). He credits the Rosary as the reason he learned to take his own faith seriously.

While the Rosary is sometimes associated with women, this book is suffused with a modern man’s spirituality, a modern man’s feel and a modern man’s way of thinking. Think of a very modern, very tough, very tested man’s man — Blessed John Paul II — in a parka atop a mountain he scaled, climbing tools at hand, shades on his eyes over a tanned, relaxed face … praying the Rosary.

Is the Rosary unfamiliar to you? This book has chapters to help guide readers to pray it, along with meditations (especially for dads) to help contemplate its mysteries.

You say you don’t have time? Calvillo, a busy lawyer, doesn’t buy that excuse.

Like to jog? Jog with Mary. (God gave you 10 fingers to count each decade.)

Have a long commute? Think of your car as your private chapel.

Can’t say five decades? Say one.

Like to work with your hands? The author provides websites that show how to make rosaries.

Don’t know what the Church says about the Rosary? This book offers excerpts from Vatican documents.

Don’t know other guys who pray the Rosary? Real testimonials are given.

Then Calvillo throws down the gauntlet: Take his 33-day Rosary challenge (because Jesus lived 33 years). With Mary as your personal coach, pray the Rosary for the next 33 days. If you’re not feeling spiritually rejuvenated, write to Calvillo. He and the men in his apostolate promise to pray harder.

So, if real guys — and real dads — pray for themselves, their wives and their kids, what are you waiting for?

For Father’s Day, this book will help Dad know Mary better — a far better gift than a tie.

John M. Grondelski writes from Taipei, Taiwan.