Two hundred men traveled from all parts of our far flung diocese, some two hundred miles from north to south, for a day of renewal, featuring two great talks by Danny Abramowicz, a Penance Service, and Mass, presided by the Apostolic Administrator, Msgr. Kurt Kemo. Men of all ages participated and sang with enthusiasm. It was a great day of renewal and enjoyable fellowship. One of the men remarked: "I go to the Men's Day of Renewal every year. I wouldn't miss it for anything. I really need it".
The men could relate to at least parts of Coach Abramowicz's down to earth, simple and direct testimony of his own falling into the fast life as a young pro football star in New Orleans, his misery in it and consequent alcoholism followed by conversion after hitting bottom. He presented a challenge: “Men, we have dropped the ball as spiritual leaders in the family, in the parish, and in the community. We must get into spiritual shape. We spend so much time on the temporal that ends when we die and so little time on the spiritual that is eternal. We're in a spiritual war against powers and principalities. Our playbook is from the Bible and our game plan comes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church” (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM or www.FamilyCatechism.com).
The 1969 all pro wide receiver presented steps for conversion and for keeping on the straight and narrow. “Men get into trouble because they neglect their prayer life”. Danny spends an hour and a half a day in prayer (Mass, Bible & other spiritual reading, time in front of the tabernacle, etc.)......even more time than working out. He's not far from his playing weight. Prayer is nothing more than “raising the mind to God to praise, adore, thank, and ask. You'll find the Lord in silence. Listen.”
We must “run away from temptations. Porn is more addictive than booze and drugs”. When we fall, we must “blame ourselves and resort to confession, which is essential for renewal and conversion”.
“What we get out of Mass depends upon what we put into it. We receive the word, which should be read before Mass to get a better understanding”. But most of all, in this sacrifice of Christ to God that makes Calvary present in an unbloody manner, “we receive the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ”.
Coach Abramowicz asked each man to tell his wife how much he loves her. Furthermore he asked the men to encourage priests: “Lift them up”. The men then enthusiastically gave the priests present a standing ovation for giving their lives to the Church. “Encourage vocations” among the young men in our lives that may be called.
He urged the men to “take your walking orders from Christ. Look for His will. We don't know when the Son of Man is coming”. During his bypass surgery of 100% blockage, Danny had to trust in the Lord's will, not his own will. The former offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints then closed with the challenge: “Are you ready?”
Next year's Diocesan Men's Day of Renewal will be on March 16, 2013 at a location much closer to us. The main speaker will be the nationally known Fr. Larry Richards, who will challenge the men to become real men instead of spiritual wimps. He's the author of the best selling book, “Be a Man”. Fr. Richards is very dynamic and entertaining.
See “Crossing the Goal” on EWTN television and radio, both of which can also be obtained on the internet at www.ewtn.com. The program features Danny Abramowicz, Peter Herbeck, Curtis Martin, and Brian Patrick. Tune in Thursday 9 pm, Sunday 6:30 pm, and Monday 6:30 am. Their website, www.crossingthegoal.com has resources and blogs by members of their team to complete their mission. That is to “support and equip men to stand up and live the life they were called to by their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”
See the Men's Conference Blog on men's spirituality “Becoming a True Man of God” at diosteubmen.blogspot.com and a greater variety on “A Little Bit for God and His People” at paulrsebastianphd.blogspot.com.