Tuesday, November 15, 2011

(33) 2010 Diocese of Steubenville Men's Conference in Marietta, Ohio

        After a lapse, the Diocese of Steubenville-Ohio has been organizing Men's Conferences since March 2009 when Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, now Bishop of Joliet, Illinois asked all of his pastors to send two lay representatives to an organizing meeting on May 2 at Corpus Christi Church in Belle Valley, centrally located in the far flung diocese extending about 200 miles along the west bank of the Ohio River from above Steubenille to Ironton on the Kentucky border.  The Bishop, himself opened it up with Mass and presided at the meeting, forming a Steering Committee.  Since then we have put on two and have a good start towards the third on March 10, 2012.

        As a member of the Steering Committee with Steve Ishmael as Chair, I have been passionate about its importance and strongly urge that every diocese hold a Men's Conference.  It's more difficult in a small diocese, covering a very large urban and rural area, but we did it.  Thus I would like to present a few blogs that will report what we have done.  Hopefully, other smaller dioceses can use the lessons we learned and organize Men's Conferences of their own.  Today let us begin with our first Men's Conference on March 13, 2010 after a lapse of a number of years.  Now our hope is to sustain the Conference and keep it going every Lent as an annual tradition in our diocese.  The following is the bulletin insert that we used for my parish, St. Louis Church in Gallipolis.  You can do as I did......corner the Bishop when he makes a pastoral visit and suggest it.  Feel free to write me at pauls@rio.edu if we can help you in any way and then we can make phone contact.

DIOCESE OF STEUBENVILLE ORGANIZING A MEN'S DAY OF RENEWAL
Taken from the March 7, 2010 St. Louis Church Sunday Bulletin.
        The Catholic Diocese of Steubenville is sponsoring a Men's Day of Renewal on the the 4th Saturday of Lent March 13, 2010 from 9 am to 3 pm in the magnificent St. Mary's Church in Marietta. A visit alone to that proposed basilica with its exquisite works of art from Italy is worth the trip. The two large stained glass windows in the nave is worth a million dollars each.  There may be a tour.

        The goal of the Men's Day of Renewal is to focus on the spiritual development of the men of our diocese. Having spiritually strong men of faith and character translates into more solid families, more dynamic parishes, and better communities. These are crucial to the Church, now and in the future, not to mention the critical need of nurturing vocations.

        Too often the women are the pillars of the parish. It is essential that the men take the spiritual lead in the family and in the parish. One holy woman in our diocese likes to challenge the men and say: "I don't see many REAL men around".......i.e., authentic men of strong character, virtue, and integrity.......willing and able to put Catholic values into their families, their professions, and the public square. She refers to some research. It concludes that if the mother takes the spiritual lead in the family, there is in the neighborhood of a 35% probability that the children will remain faithful to the Church in later life. However, if the father takes the spiritual lead, that probability doubles. If the men can get into good spiritual shape, we'll have stronger families. That means stronger parishes and ultimately a stronger America, thus transforming Society.

        The principal speaker is Chris Horn, nationally known as a dynamic speaker of the Catholic Athletes for Christ (catholicathletesforchrist.org). He was a NFL wide receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs. Father Borer has agreed to speak and prepare the men for the sacrament of Reconciliation. Deacon Ralph Poyo (newevangelizationministries.org), another dynamic speaker, will relate how with God's grace he overcame his severe addiction to pornography and become a servant of the Lord. Bishop R. Daniel Conlan will offer the holy liturgy. 

        The cost will be $20 per person at the door although it is preferable to register in advance through the parish representative for the conference.  This would facilitate follow up on the undecided and for organizing car pools.  Going together in vans would make for very enjoyable fellowship which could result in greater friendship and stronger parish cohesion.  Often the enthusiasm generated at a men's conference is contagious and there is a spillover into parish life since the men see fellow participants moved by the beauty and power of the faith. Non-Catholics are also welcome. More information is available from the local parish priest.

            It should be a great day of enjoyable fellowship and spiritual invigoration. But most of all, through grace we'll have a few more good spiritually strong men for the kingdom of God in the battle against secularism and other evils and problems that our troubled society must confront.......men --not spiritual weaklings and wimps-- who will put Christ into their professions.  Finally, the men will become more knowledgeable, firmer in their faith and better prepared for a more joyful Easter, not to mention greater closeness to God and eternity which life on earth is all about.  If successful, a Men's Day of Renewal can become an annual event in our diocese, thus fulfilling a great need.

              The men will meet at 7 am this coming Saturday, March 13 in the church parking lot in front of the Parish Hall. Although registrations will be accepted at the door, please register with Paul Sebastian (245-9404)as soon as possible.. That would make planning much easier, especially in regard to organizing a van or car pool, and would minimize waiting at the door.

SUMMARY OF WHAT THE MEN'S CONFERENCE CAN DO FOR YOU.....BENEFITS
  • Get into good spiritual shape and avoid being a spiritual weakling, i.e., a spiritual wimp.
  • Have a great day of enjoyable fellowship and spiritual invigoration in the parish van and at the conference, resulting in deeper friendships and parish cohesion.
  • Develop ourselves as men of character and spiritual strength as we obtain the graces to conquer ourselves and cope with the problems that our troubled society and economy brings to us.
  • Be a more effective spiritual leader of your family as a better husband and father.
  • Prepare our hearts for the great feast of Easter and for eternity as we become closer to God..
  • Become knowledgeable about the faith and grow in Christian maturity. We know so little about Church teaching.
  • Become a more effective soldier of Christ as you do your part in establishing the kingdom, winning the spiritual-culture war against secularism, and put Christ into your profession.

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