Sunday, March 18, 2012

(75) 2012 Diocese of Steubenville Men's Conference With Danny Abramowicz

                                        

        The 2012 Steubenville Diocesan Men's Day of Renewal will be held at St. John's Church in Bellaire, Ohio on Saturday March 10 from 9 am to 3 pm. The theme is “Faithfulness to God” with St. Joseph as its patron. There will be Stations of the Cross the night before and also Eucharistic Adoration if there is sufficient interest. At 8:30 am there will be rosary before the official start of the Conference. The program includes the dynamic and entertaining speaker, Danny Abramowicz, the host of "Crossing the Goal” on EWTN television. Also included is a Penance Service and a Mass presided, by the Apostolic Administrator, Msgr.Kurt Kemo. The priests attending will concelebrate with him.

        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. The theme of the Conference is “Faithfulness to God” with St. Joseph, model of a true man of God, as its patron. The distance is great for many, but that gives the Conference a pilgrimage flavor and Lent is all about sacrifice. After all, we're in a Super Bowl, and each one of us must win it. The trophy for victory, the prize is eternal salvation, everlasting happiness in heaven when Christ Himself would say to you...... “Well done good and faithful servant.” He will relate his experience as a professional football player and coach to the very serious game of life........becoming true men of God.

        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 17% probability that the children will remain faithful to the Church in later life. However, if the father takes the spiritual lead, that probability increases to about 70%. If the men can get into good spiritual shape, we'll have stronger families and parishes. Set the men on fire and you renew not only the parish, but the entire diocese and ultimately the Country, thus transforming Society.
 
      The main speaker, Danny Abramowicz was born and raised in Steubenville, a Catholic Central alumnus, who later broke records at Xavier University and is a member of its Sports Hall of Fame. As the last draft choice of the New Orleans Saints in 1967, Danny made the team on sheer guts and determination. Finally, he broke into the lineup as a wide receiver of Archie Manning, the father of Peyton and Eli. By 1969, he led the NFL in receptions and made all-pro. After retiring in 1975, he became a charter member of the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame and later the Louisiana, National Polish, Ohio Valley, and Sports Faith Halls of Fame. After his stint as head coach of Jesuit High School, he later became the special teams coach of the Chicago Bears and offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints (1997-2000) under Mike Ditka.

        As many young pro stars, Danny fell into the fast life and alcoholism. Being miserable and unhappy, he underwent a conversion and is devoting the rest of his life as a coach for Christ, to help men get into spiritual shape (i.e., holiness) through his books, talks around the country, and his “Crossing the Goal” program on EWTN television (Thursday 9 pm, Sunday 6:30 pm, & Monday 6:30 am), radio, and internet (ewtn.com). Googling his name will give over 5000 results with many details about his career. Very interesting on the first page is a reference to a Cleveland Plain Dealer article/interview: “Who dat? Danny Abramowicz was the New Orleans Saints' First Star”. We also have it here as Blog #70-C.  See also his website at crossingthegoal.com.

       Coach Abramowicz will relate his experience as a professional football player and coach to the very serious game of life. You'll really enjoy his talk, more so if you're a pro football fan.

          It should be a great day of enjoyable fellowship and spiritual invigoration. The last two years the men returned refreshed spiritually, reinvigorated, and enthusiastic. Expect the same this year. Most impressive in prior years was the Mass concelebrated by the Bishop with up to 25 pastors who accompanied their men. The men sang with such enthusiasm that the walls reverberated. It was great to see how the participants are moved by the beauty and power of the faith and it's contagious. 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.

        Optional Motel Accommodations. Recognizing that some of the men will have to travel as much as four hours to attend the Men's Conference, the Steering Committee is offering a special rate for the nights of March 9 & 10 at the Hampton Inn nearby if one makes reservations by February 24. Details and directions are in the brochure which can be obtained in the back of the church or on the home page of the diocesan web site, www.diosteub.org. In this way, the men can make it a week-end retreat with Stations of the Cross and prayer (Eucharistic Adoration if sufficient interest) on Friday night plus prayer and rosary early the next morning. Wives could come along and spend the day in the very large St. Clairsville Mall nearby. Pittsburgh is less than an hour and a half away.

        One or two good men are urgently needed in each parish to help to assure adequate promotion overall and to promote the Men's Conference with one on one selling of the event. Then they would organize the men to go as a group in the parish van, a van pool, or hiring a bus. That would be great fellowship and would solidify the parish as the men get to know each other better, especially if the pastor accompanies them and we'll need confessors. If the distance is great, there would be a pilgrimage flavor, especially if there's prayer and discussion of the day's events. Pastors, already overworked, can't do it all, especially the grunt work of promotion. They need the help of the laity.

        Each prospective parish representative is asked to make his availability and contact information known to the Chair of the Steering Committee, Steve Ishmael at 740-635-2102, 740-296-9927, or swi167@comcast.net. The parish representative may collect the registration forms and send them to Ishmael at P.O. Box 167; Lansing, OH 43934. This would save considerable time waiting at the door. This may also be done individually. Make the check payable to the Diocese of Steubenville and write “Men's Day of Renewal” on the memo line of the check.

        Other Promotional Help Needed. The best form of advertizing is word of mouth. Thus we are asking participants of past years to tell their friends about this great opportunity for spiritual renewal. The local Knights of Columbus council can be invaluable in mobilizing their members and the other men in the parishes. A layman could briefly talk about the conference at the end of Mass. Other parish groups can help with the promotion. The women can be most valuable in encouraging their men to attend.......husbands, sons over 18, fathers, boy friends, etc. Certainly, they want them to be true men of God. This is really part of the new evangelization and every Catholic shares in that mission Christ gave us. Perhaps, the parish could help the men who cannot afford the cost.

        Donations Needed. It is very expensive to put on a Conference of this magnitude and bring the top speakers of the country. At the same time, the Steering Committee is doing its best to keep the Conference affordable for each participant during these difficult economic times. Thus we are asking for donations from businesses, parishes organizations, the Knights of Columbus, and individuals. Please send any check to Steve Ismael as shown above

        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. This is all a part of the new evangelization......to fire up the apathetic Catholic who doesn't do much beyond attending Sunday Mass, i.e., the minimalist; to touch the drifting Catholic and the fallen away through the publicity and inviting them to attend.

    More information is available from your pastor, Steve Ishmael above, or “Paul Sebastian” <pauls@rio.edu> at 740-245-9404. The Conference blog, Becoming a True Man of God” at http://diosteubmen.blogspot.com has a wealth of promotional materials (possible bulletin and pulpit announcements, a possible bulletin insert, promotional ideas at the parish level, crucial role of the parish representative, possible talk by one of the men after Mass, etc.), interesting articles, and other information. After the Conference through the rest of the year, articles will be added to help the men keep in good spiritual shape and continue in their quest of becoming true men of God with articles on men's spirituality. Article submissions are accepted if they meet our criteria.

        Although registrations will be accepted at the door, please register as soon as possible. That would make planning much easier 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 bring.
  • 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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St. Joseph, model of a true man of God, pray for us and for the success of the Men's Conference.

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