Friday, January 25, 2019

(217) Mark Nehrbas, a Cancer Survivor, to Show How Suffering Can Make You a Saint at the 2019 Steubenville Diocesan Men's Day of Renewal


Mark and Carol Nehrbas in the Grotto of Lourdes.  After a six year battle with cancer, Mark was healed there.

Editor's Post Conference Note:  For a summary of Mark Nehrbas' talk and the 2019 Day of Renewal, go to

(180) Mark Nehrbas: Highlights of the 2019 Diocesan Men’s Day of Renewal
     For the tenth consecutive year, the Diocese of Steubenville is sponsoring a Men's Day of Renewal on Saturday, March 23 from 9 am to 4 pm (optional Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 8:30 am) at St. Stephen’s Church, 1036 Belford St., Caldwell off of Exit 25 on I-77.  The patron of the Conference is St. Joseph, a model of a true man of God, whose intercession we count upon for its success.

The goal of the Men's Day of Renewal is to focus on the spiritual development of the men of our diocese. That includes helping the men to take the right path before having to face the four last things.......Death, Judgment, Heaven or 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 Holy Hour, the Penance Service, and Mass presided by Bishop Monforton, the featured speaker is Mark Nehrbas.  As director of Christian Outreach at the Franciscan University of Steubenville for 13 years, he directed and developed the Summer Conferences to national prominence, now attracting 50,000 participants each year in Steubenville and at different branches.  A dynamic speaker, he has given talks at conferences all over the country.

The theme of the Conference is “The Cross as a Source of Strength and Path to Ultimate Victory Over All Adversity”.  This is not abstract theological theory.  Mark Nehrbas lived it.  He will be speaking from his heart, from his personal experience. 

The morning talk, “Victory of the Cross in My Battle With Cancer” will be his personal testimony of what he went through since 2012, a six year journey…….the anxiety, the fear, the pain, and the frustration over two separate bouts of an aggressive form of stomach cancer……two major surgeries, countless days with painful chemo, repeated doses of radiation. Through all this, his prayer life became more intense; his faith and trust in God deepened.  

Mark Nehrbas tried every path except one.  Providentially and unexpectantly, a generous friend, a Knight of Malta, offered to sponsor him and his wife, Carol for a pilgrimage to the great Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.  Before leaving in May of last year, his doctor indicated that his cancer had come back and would have to resume aggressive treatments after the pilgrimage.  At the time Nehrbas was unaware that his tumor marker count shot up to over 300.  He was reexamined upon his return and the tumor count was normal with no trace of cancer!  The Muslim doctor was baffled!  Mark knew that it’s a miracle!

In the afternoon talk, “Victory Over Suffering: Lessons Learned From the Cross”.  Mark Nehrbas will explore the mystery of suffering, why God permits it, how he confronted it, how he grew from it, the lessons he learned, how it can be very productive, and how it can make you a saint.  The most important of all is that sooner or later every one of us will have to suffer.  We can choose to be miserable or we can choose to unite our suffering with the cross and offer it all up as a dynamic prayer for the conversion of sinners as Mary requested at Fatima, for our Church in deep crisis, for the souls in Purgatory, for the world, and for our loved ones.  Such Redemptive Suffering by many people can ultimately save the world.

Carol and Mark Nehbas at the creek in Lourdes along which
        St. Bernadette and her friends tended sheep.

Sacrifice. 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” <>. 
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  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 The Men's Conference Blog at has a wealth of promotional materials for use at the parish level…….1) Overview & Poster, 2) Ad Form, 3) Press Releases, 4) Possible Bulletin Blurbs, 5) Pulpit Announcements, 6) Promotional Ideas, 7) Functions of the Parish Rep, 8) Sign-Up Sheet, 9) Sample Bulletin Insert, and 10) a Possible Talk By One of the Men after Mass.  

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 for additional resources to help promote the Men's Day of Renewal

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