Tuesday, February 20, 2018

(204) Mike Aquilina, Expert on the Early Church, Featured Speaker at Steubenville Diocesan Men's Day of Renewal

Mike Aquilina

Editor's Post Conference Note:  For a summary of Mike Aquilina's talk and the 2018 Day of Renewal, go to(156) Mike Aquilina: 

(156) Mike Aquilina: Highlights of the 2018 Diocesan Men’s Day of Renewal

For the ninth consecutive year, the Diocese of Steubenville is sponsoring the Men's Day of Renewal on Saturday, March 3 from 9 am to 3:30 pm at St. Stephen’s Church in Caldwell off of I-77 Exit 25.  The patron of the Conference is St. Joseph, a model of a true man of God, to whose intercession we count upon for its success.

Prior to the official start of the conference there will be an optional half hour of private prayer at 8:30 am.

The goal of the Men's Day of Renewal is to focus on the spiritual development of the men of our diocese. That includes being ready to face the four last things…….Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell.  Having spiritually strong men of faith and character translates into more solid families, more dynamic parishes, and better communities. This is crucial to the Church and particularly our diocese, now and in the future. It is also critical for nurturing vocations.   

       To complement the Mass presided by Bishop Monforton and Penance Service the featured speaker is Mike Aquilina, an expert on the early Church, particularly the Early Church Fathers and martyrs.  He will show that the witness of the first Christians coincides very well with Church teaching today in a remarkable continuity over the centuries through 267 popes.   Aquilina is an author of over 50 books, particularly on the early Church and how the early Christians lived their faith.  The books have been translated into many languages and even Braille.  He is a nationally known speaker at many conferences, also appearing frequently on Relevant Radio and EWTN in which he has hosted ten television series and two documentaries.   He also has talents as a poet and song writer, even collaborating with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist Dion DiMucci.  Aquilina’s extensive journalism experience includes being a past editor of New Covenant magazine and the Pittsburgh Catholic (diocesan newspaper).   

His morning talk is titled “The Strength of Heaven”, which will show how the angels were effective witnesses and can teach us much to apply to our daily lives.  In the afternoon, he will show how the witness of the martyrs of the early Church can teach us to be witnesses today in secular America.  Mike Aquilina will challenge the men to follow the example of the early Church Fathers and martyrs and be effective witnesses in their homes, in their parishes, on the job, and in their communities.

Blessed Pope Paul VI put it very eloquently:  “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. St. Peter expressed this well when he held up the example of a reverent and chaste life that wins over even without a word those who refuse to obey the word. It is therefore primarily by her conduct and by her life that the Church will evangelize the world, in other words, by her living witness of fidelity to the Lord Jesus- the witness of poverty and detachment, of freedom in the face of the powers of this world, in short, the witness of sanctity. (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 41)

Aquilina is the executive vice president and trustee of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, a Catholic research center, based in Steubenville.  Drawing from his diverse experience as a journalist, prolific author, conference speaker, and father of a family of six children, Mr. Aquilina can speak to the needs of the men.

       This background puts Mike Aquilina in a position to speak on the theme of this year’s Diocese of Steubenville Men’s Conference, “Being a Cloud of Witnesses”.   That is through the power of faith rise up to be the spiritual leaders of their families, to do their part in renewing their parishes, be servant leaders in the community, and to make a difference for Christ by applying the social teachings of the Church to their professions.

       The fact, that travel time may be long and distance may be far for many, gives the conference a pilgrimage flavor.  Lent, of course, is all about sacrifice and spiritual growth.  Since St. Stephen Church in Caldwell is in the geographic center of our far flung diocese, the Steering Committee is hopeful that the men of Steubenville in the north and the men of Ironton and Chesapeake in the south will be able to participate.   Regardless of distance, this mini-pilgrimage is a Lenten sacrifice of early rising and a long trip with great fellowship in a van or bus as the men pray together, discuss the talks and other events of the Conference, and deepen friendships.  A bag lunch is provided. 

It should be a great day of enjoyable fellowship and spiritual invigoration. In each of the last eight years men returned reinvigorated, enthusiastic, and spiritually refreshed.  Expect the same this year.  It is awesome to hear the men lift up their voices in song and be moved by the beauty and power of the faith.  But mostly, through God’s grace, we will have more good spiritually strong men for the kingdom of God as well as for the battle against secularism and other evils that plague our society. We will have more men who put Christ into their professions. We will have men who will become more knowledgeable in their faith and better prepared for a joyful Easter and an eternal closeness to God.  The Men's Day of Renewal has grown into an annual event in our diocese, thus fulfilling a great need.

Promotional Help Needed.  Many if not most men will hardly notice the bulletin announcements, posters, and brochures, although they are indeed important and helpful.  What they can’t miss is the one-on-one personal selling by their peers, i.e., talking it up.  The most effective form of advertising or promotion is word of mouth.  Most effective is the witness of men who have gone to a previous Conference, especially the parish representative that we are asking the pastor to appoint or accept as a volunteer. 

Thus one or two men are urgently needed in each parish to assure the success of this event. To ease the burden on our pastors, we are depending upon our men to offer their assistance as parish representatives to mobilize the men with good one on one personal selling, register them, and organize van pools.  Word-of-mouth advertising is essential to maximize the promotion of the Men’s Day of Renewal throughout each parish. We ask participants of past years to tell their friends about this awesome opportunity for spiritual renewal.  If there is no parish representative in your parish, please consider volunteering by informing your pastor and by e-mail “Don Coen - Chair Diocesan Men's Day of Renewal” <donandmargcoen@yahoo.com>. 
Equally important, women can be most valuable in encouraging their husbands, sons (including teens), fathers, brothers, boyfriends, etc., to attend. This is a very important part of the new evangelization.” 

Father and son can make this day an unforgettable shared experience in which they become closer to each other.  If the pastor accompanies the men, he would have an opportunity to know the men better and thus solidify the parish.  The Men’s Day of Renewal needs confessors.

 The local Knights of Columbus council can be most valuable since the spiritual formation of their men is part of their mission.  They are asked to mobilize their men to attend and organize a van pool.  Traveling together can build friendships, solidify the Council, and provide opportunities to tell about the Knights, thus making the Conference a recruiting tool.   

Each prospective parish representative is asked to make his availability and contact information known to the Chair of the Steering Committee, Don Coen at (740)264-0155, (740)632-1565, or donandmargcoen@yahoo.com.  Men may register individually or the parish representative may collect the registration forms with payment and send them as a package to Roger Huck; %Men’s Day of Renewal, P.O. Box 54; Beverly, OH 45715.  This would save considerable time waiting at the door.  Checks for the Registration cost of $25.00 per person are to be made payable to the Diocese of Steubenville with “Men's Day of Renewal” written on the memo line of the check.  

Transportation Needs. A carpool, vanpool, or bus saves on fuel costs and gives an opportunity for fellowship while traveling to and from the event—especially for those traveling greater distances. Please invite other men and assist with the organization of transportation for those attending in your parish.

Donations Needed. It is very expensive to put on a conference of this magnitude and feature nationally known  top speakers. While the Steering Committee does its best to minimize the cost for each participant, we are seeking donations from businesses, parish organizations, the Knights of Columbus, and individuals. Please send donations to Roger Huck as shown above.  Furthermore, we do not charge men who are unable to pay so that no man is excluded.

Ads in the Program Brochure.  Details on placing the ad for a business or community organization, or Knights of Columbus Council are in the Conference Blog or call Roger Huck at 740-984-2234 or 740-336-9128.
More information is available from your pastor, from Don Coen above, or Paul Sebastian at (740) 245-9404 or paulrsebastian@yahoo.com. The Men's Conference Blog at http://diosteubmen.blogspot.com has a wealth of promotional materials for use at the parish level……. Blog #136 – Overview; and continued with 137) Ad Form; 138) Diocesan Press Release #1; 139) Possible Short Bulletin Announcements; 140) Promotion Ideas; 141) Functions & Crucial Importance of the Parish Rep; 142) Sign Up Sheet; 143) Sample Bulletin Insert; 144) Diocesan Press Release #2; 145) Backing of the Pastor; 146) Role of the Deacon; 147) Example of an After Mass Talk By a Layman; 148) Possible Pastor Announcements; 149) Diocesan Press Release #3; 125) Catholic Newspaper Press Release; 126) Secular Newspaper Press Release; 127) Appeal to the Diocesan Councils of the Knights of Columbus; 128) Invitation to Parishes in West Virginia; 129) Invitation to Veterans; 130) Invitation to College Students; 131) My Ad in the 2017 Program Booklet; 132) Highlights of the 2017 Men's Conference.  Numbers 125 to 132 are from last year, but will be updated soon.

There are also interesting articles on men’s spirituality, past conference highlights, etc.  After the Conference and throughout the year, articles will be added to help the men keep in good spiritual shape.  Clergy, Religious, and knowledgeable layman are invited to submit articles.

Please submit your registration as soon as possible. Registration will be accepted at the door; however, doing so in advance makes our planning more efficient and also helps to minimize waiting at the conference entrance. 


 Get you into good spiritual shape.
 Have a great day of enjoyable fellowship and spiritual invigoration with fellow parishioners and participants 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 cope with problems and conquer problematic issues that trouble our society
Be an effective spiritual leader to your family as a better husband and father
Prepare our hearts for the great feast of Easter as we become closer to God
Become more knowledgeable about our Catholic faith and grow in Christian maturity
Become a more effective soldier of Christ, and help strengthen His kingdom on earth

Visit http://diosteubmen.blogspot.com for additional resources to help promote the Men's Day of Renewal.


  1. Thanks for the efforts, Paul, and, it was wonderful to meet you at the conference! We thank you for the opportunity to be an exhibitor for Natural Family Planning International in Steubenville. The talks were excellent also!

  2. Thank you for being an exhibitor and for your great work. We hope that you exhibit at our future conferences. God bless.