Thursday, January 31, 2013

(110) Fr. Larry Richards Featured at the Diocesan Men's Day of Renewal

AMDG


         The 2013 Steubenville Diocesan Men's Day of Renewal will be held at St. Stephen’s Church in Caldwell, Ohio on Saturday March 16 from 9 am to 3 pm.  The theme is “Embracing the Faith” with St. Joseph as the patron of the Conference.  At 8 am before the official start of the Conference, there will be a Holy Hour with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Rosary.  The program includes the dynamic and entertaining speaker, Fr. Larry Richards, who will challenge the participants to be true men as God intended.  Too many of us really don’t know what true manhood is.  Also included is a Penance Service and a Mass presided, by Bishop Jeffrey Monforton.  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 for nurturing vocations.  The theme of the Conference is “Embracing the Faith” 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.” 
 
            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 40% probability that the children will remain faithful to the Church in later life.  However, if the father takes the spiritual lead, that probability doubles to about 80%.  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 dynamic Fr. Larry Richards in action at a Conference.

             Fr. Larry Richards, the main speaker, is a captivating, dynamic, and entertaining speaker as well as a favorite at men’s conferences around the country.  He has considerable experience as a counselor and in conducting many retreats, parish missions, and conferences for people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds.  He will answer some of the most profound questions that men encounter in their lives.  See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Nprg5Ew6Mo to previewone of his talks.. 

            Fr. Richards is the author of the best seller, “Be a Man!  Becoming the Man God Created You to Be” which challenges men to be true men as God intended with manly virtues such as love, wisdom, courage, integrity, and compassion to pursue holiness, to make a difference in the world, and to live as a beloved son of God, revealing the meaning of a man’s life.  Fr. Larry inspires men to become the true heroes they long to be.  He recounts his struggles to learn true manhood, as well as the inspiring stories of others he has served. He tells men how to focus on the right goals, to live according to the Holy Spirit, to be a man of true love and of wisdom, to appreciate properly the differences between men and women, to pursue holiness, and to make a difference in the world. Not preachy but direct, Father Larry challenges men to be strong, without putting on a mask of false strength or machismo. He calls men to admit their faults, weaknesses, and limitations, while urging them to find strength in faith and genuine love to overcome their sins and faults. 

            He often appears on EWTN, hosts his own national radio show, “Changed Forever” on Relevant Radio at www.relevantradio.com and other stations on Saturday 8 pm & Sunday 11 am.  Fr. Larry Richards is the founder and president of the Reason for Hope Foundation dedicated to spreading the good news of the Gospel (see www.TheReasonForOurHope.org) by educating others about Jesus Christ and giving insights on true manhood.

            Fr. Richards, born in Pittsburgh, earned a degree in Mental Health at the College Seminary at Gannon University.  He completed his priestly training and studies in Theology at St. Vincent Seminary, received a Master of Divinity degree, and was ordained in 1989.  He is the pastor of St. Joseph Church and the Bread of Life Community in Erie, Pennsylvania.  Fr. Larry is also the Spiritual Director of the TEC (To Encounter Christ) Retreat Program for the Diocese of Erie.  At the same time he is close to completing the requirements for a MA degree in Liturgy at the University of Notre Dame.

            It should be a great day of enjoyable fellowship and spiritual invigoration.  The last three 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. 

            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 for $25 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 advertising 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, 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 & Ads Invited.  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, parish organizations, the Knights of Columbus, and individuals.  Ads in the program are also available.  Please send any check to Steve Ismael as shown above. Businesses also have an opportunity to place ads in the program brochure.

            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 in in this Year of Faith......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 latter will provide the address to the Men's Conference blog, which 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.    

            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


*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 in this Year of Faith as you do your part in evangelizing, establishing the  kingdom, winning the spiritual-culture war against secularism, and putting Christ into your profession.
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St. Joseph, model of a true man of God, pray for us and for the Men's Conference.
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