Men’s Conference set for March 18

Amos Stinson, left, and Paul Burke, parishioners of St. Patrick Church, raised their hands in response to a question from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz at the Catholic Men’s Conference March 5. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

Amos Stinson, left, and Paul Burke, parishioners of St. Patrick Church, raised their hands in response to a question from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz at the 2016 Catholic Men’s Conference. The 2017 men’s conference will take place March 18 at St. Michael Church. (Record File Photo by Jessica Able)

By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
Father Dave Dwyer — a Paulist priest and executive director of Busted Halo Ministries who once produced shows for MTV and HBO — will deliver the keynote address at this year’s Catholic Men’s Conference.

The event is set for March 18 at St. Michael Church, 3705 Stone Lakes Drive.
Father Dwyer will speak on the theme “Go Be The Difference,” said Michael Schmitt, chairman of the group organizing the event.

Attendance at the annual event has grown from year to year and, this time, organizers expect between 500 and 600 men, to attend, said Schmitt, noting that organizers are working with the Catholic high schools to get the word out to young men.

“We’re trying to get the students to bring their fathers and grandfathers,” said Schmitt.

The theme this year “pushes the idea of going out and being the difference in the world,” said Schmitt.

In years past, he noted, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, has always encouraged conference participants to go out and tell others about their experience, preferably in the first 24 hours after the conference. Schmitt said he hopes this conference will awaken that proactive spirit in the men who attend.

Archbishop Kurtz will give a “witness” talk this year about “doing Christ’s work.”

Father Dwyer, the keynote speaker, was ordained a priest in 2000. Prior to his ordination, Father Dwyer produced and directed shows for MTV, HBO and Comedy Central.

He is the publisher of BustedHalo.com, which has won awards from the Catholic Press Association and the Associated Church Press. He  hosts “The Busted Halo Show with Father Dave,” a call-in talk show that airs on SiriusXM radio. During the show, he answers question about the Catholic faith and the church.

Father Dwyer also speaks to young people around the country about reconnecting to the faith and about evangelization.

Those attending the men’s conference should come “ready to be motivated,” said Schmitt. “If we don’t seek God, the world can easily take our focus in the wrong direction, leading us to wander, not using our gifts for his purpose or, worse, using them in sinful ways,” said Schmitt.

The conference, he said, “is intended to serve as a catalyst to provide men a functional, motivational experience on how to be the difference God calls us to become in the world.”

Conference activities will begin at 8 a.m. with breakfast starting at 6 a.m. The day will include opportunities for reconciliation and two panel discussions, one led by Joan Smith, founder and executive director of Lifehouse Maternity Home which serves pregnant women and their children.

The other panel discussion will be led by Donna Young, director of volunteers and conference affairs at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Both sessions will provide information on how men can volunteer and make a difference in the community, said Schmitt.

Representatives from other agencies will have information on display throughout the event, which will give participants more opportunities to learn about ways to get involved.
“Our Lord commands us to move out of our comfort zone,” said Schmitt. He hopes men will leave the conference “with motivation to actively do something.”

The conference will conclude with Mass and lunch.   The cost to attend is $30 for adults and $15 for students, if you register in advance. The cost at the door is $40 for adults and $25 for students.

To register, visit www.archlou.org/mensconference or contact Lynn McDaniel at 448-8581, ext. 1314, or at lmcdaniel@archlou.org.
Space is limited to the first 800 men and organizers ask that each indicate whether he intends to stay for lunch. Scholarships are available by request.

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