Conference aims to foster men of faith

Michael Schmitt, left, and Steve Howar gestured as Steve Angrisano performed “Lean On Me” during a keynote presentation at the Catholic Men’s Conference held at St. Michael Church, 3705 Stone Lakes Drive, April 6. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer

Close to 400 men from across the Archdiocese of Louisville gathered April 6 at the Catholic Men’s Conference to reflect on the day’s theme, “Allowing Jesus to Find Me.”

“Christ is calling you. You must reflect the light of Christ,” keynote speaker Steve Angrisano told the men at St. Michael Church in Jeffersontown.

Angrisano, a national Catholic speaker, singer and songwriter, delivered one of two keynote addresses at the conference. The second keynote was delivered by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, who also celebrated the day’s closing liturgy.    

According to organizers, the men’s conference aimed to answer several questions, including:

  • What should Catholic men do and be?
  • How can men strengthen their family, work and faith life while becoming better husbands and fathers?

Steve Angrisano, a national speaker, singer and songwriter, performed during his keynote presentation at the Catholic Men’s Conference April 6 at St. Michael Church. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

During his address, Angrisano used music, stories and anecdotes from his life to try to answer these questions. He reminded the hundreds of men — ranging from teenagers to grandfathers — that “you are not the light. You just reflect the light” of Christ.

Angrisano also shared what he called a “beautiful moment”

when he needed to be reminded of that —  a day when he’d provided music for a “Mass where everything went wrong.”

His pastor, he said, sought him out later to check on him and used those same words. His pastor helped him see that “by becoming less, we become more,” Angrisano said. “That’s what being holy is. Being less so God can do more in us.”

Angrisano said the religious sisters he’s met in his faith journey understand what it means to be “holy” and live their lives that way.

“Who’s that holy person in your life?” Angrisano asked the congregation. “It isn’t that they do all these wonderful things; it’s that they become less and less so God can do more in them.”

This, he said, is “making space” for God.

In making space for God men strengthen family, work and faith life and become better fathers and husbands, he said.

“Think of your priorities in life and stack them up in a pyramid,” Angrisano urged his listeners. The priority placed on top of the pyramid “affects everything” that comes after it, he noted. “When God is at the top it changes everything.”

Lent is the perfect time to “take an honest look at that triangle and ask if you’re living the way God wants you to.”

Angrisano added that by nurturing their faith men become better fathers and husbands.

An exercise in faith can be as simple as spending a few minutes alone in prayer, he noted, adding that he has stopped in a Wendy’s parking lot on his way home in order to spend a few minutes in prayer.

Spending that time alone with God “changed my life,” he said.

Attending Mass and praying at home is essential, too, Angrisano said.

“Your faith life is the most important thing in your children’s faith life,” he said. Praying at home helps children understand that “religion doesn’t remain between four walls.”

Some men find it difficult to pray with their families, he noted, but urged his listeners, “Challenge yourself to pray with your kids. We have to become comfortable praying with our family and letting them see we have faith.”

Men who attended the half-day event also heard from Father Peter Bucalo, pastor of Mary Queen of Peace Church, and Deacon Patrick Harris, deacon at All Saints Church in Taylorsville, Ky., and St. Michael Church in Fairfield, Ky. The men shared their faith journey during a panel discussion.

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