By Glenn Rutherford, Record Editor Emeritus
When the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Catholic Men’s Conference was first organized four years ago, one of the goals was to produce an event that would grow each year.
Through the first three events — held each March — that goal has been realized. And there is little reason to believe that this year’s men’s conference, set for March 21, will be any different.
Last year’s goal was to draw 800 men to the event, which was held at St. Michael Church, 3705 Stone Lakes Drive. Sure enough, that number was reached, give or take a dozen or so attendees on either side of the goal.
This year, the fourth-annual conference will again be held at St. Michael and again conference leaders believe it will draw 800 men — or more.
“I think we may well hit the 1,000 men mark this year, simply because of the success we’ve had in the past,” said David Such, one of the leaders of the event since its inception. “At our last organizational meeting, I said I’d be happy with 800 and some of the other guys said ‘heck no, man. This year we’re going for 1,000.’ So that’s what I think will happen.”
The conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 21; registration will begin at 6 a.m.
This year’s theme is “Become the Light” and the keynote speaker for the event will be Dr. Jonathan J. Reyes, executive director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since 2009, Reyes has also been president and chief executive officer of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Denver, Colo. He also helped to create the Augustine Institute of Denver, a graduate program devoted to Catholic theological studies and leadership training, according to a news release from conference organizers.
According to the news release, Reyes will speak on social justice and “the theme that Pope Francis has been preaching — going out to those on the outskirts and minister to them in support of their needs.”
And as they did last year, conference leaders will also hold a “Circle of Champions” dinner on Jan. 26 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at St. Michael Church. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz will attend, and Such said the event is “designed to identify and motivate men to assume leadership roles in their parishes — to help spread the word of what we’re doing.”
As has been the case in past years, the 2015 men’s conference will feature breakout sessions to provide information, guidance and encouragement in particular areas of church teaching and ministry.
This year’s breakout sessions are, according to the conference website:
- Leadership by Example — Deacon Keith McKenzie of St. Augustine Church is also executive director of the Louisville Counseling Center. He will speak on ways men can provide witness to their families of God’s role in their lives.
- Sanctifying Our Work — The session will be led by corporate attorney John Daly of YUM! Brands.
- The Circle of Life from Conception to Death — The session will be led by Javier Fajardo, executive director of Catholic Cemeteries, and Julie Borders, of the Family Services program at Catholic Cemeteries.
- A Deacon’s Journey to the Light — This breakout session will be led by Deacon Kenneth Bell.
- Witnessing to the Light — Mike Michalak, founder of Angels in Disguise, an organization supporting the parents and families of children with Down syndrome, will lead the session.
“As our theme implies, we’re looking for ways we can share the light of Christ, the love of Christ, with others,” Such noted.
“This year’s breakout sessions will be more ‘hands-on’ than sessions we’ve had in the past. We’ll be telling and showing men how to get actively involved and how to become part of the leadership to create this discipleship within your parish.”
The overall goal, Such emphasized, “is to let men know some examples of how they can ‘become the light.’ ”