November 18, 2011

‘Lions Breathing Fire’

Conference participants encouraged to evangelize and be men of Christ

Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, apostolic administrator, center, and Deacon Lawrence French, left, elevate the Eucharist at the conclusion of the eucharistic prayer during a Mass celebrated on Oct. 29 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. The Mass was part of the Indiana Catholic Men’s Conference that drew more than 800 men and young men from across the state. (Photo by Bryce Bennett)

Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, apostolic administrator, center, and Deacon Lawrence French, left, elevate the Eucharist at the conclusion of the eucharistic prayer during a Mass celebrated on Oct. 29 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. The Mass was part of the Indiana Catholic Men’s Conference that drew more than 800 men and young men from across the state. (Photo by Bryce Bennett)

By Bryce Bennett (Special to The Criterion)

Called to be “lions breathing fire,” more than 800 men and young men from across the state gathered at the Indiana Catholic Men’s Conference on Oct. 29 in Indianapolis.

Various speakers during the six-hour session at the Indiana Convention Center challenged the men to recognize that “Jesus is alive” in their lives, and dared the men to embrace that power in their roles in the Church, the community and their families.

The first speaker was Tim Staples, director of apologetics and evangelization at Catholic Answers in El Cajon, Calif. He spoke of the “Truth or Consequences” that men experience when they choose not to follow Jesus and the teachings of the Church.

Staples, a convert to Catholicism, also discussed the importance of Jesus as truth, and the effect that understanding has on faith.

“Truth is important,” Staples said. “We are talking about a person, Jesus Christ. Jesus did not just preach truth. He is the truth.”

Next was Benedictine Father Cassian Folsom, who spoke about how to “act like a man” according to Scripture. He offered his message of God as the representation of six figures in Scripture—God as father, son, king, shepherd, warrior and husband.

Father Cassian, who is currently prior of St. Benedict Monastery in Norcia, Italy—the birthplace of St. Benedict—then challenged everyone in attendance to emulate “real men created in the image of God.” His last point on God as a husband resonated to those in the audience.

“The husband is the sacrificial lamb,” explained Father Cassian, who professed vows as a Benedictine monk in 1980 at Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad. “The model husband is one who gives himself up with sacrificial love to his family.”

The morning session concluded with Bishop Christopher J. Coyne celebrating Mass for the  the conference attendees.

During his homily, he warned against the dangers of the seven “deadly” sins of lust, gluttony, pride, envy, anger, greed and sloth. Embracing these sins leads to more sin, especially with the sin of pride, he said.

“Pride leads to other sins like envy and coveting,” said Bishop Coyne, apostolic administrator of the archdiocese. “Pride is a gateway to a host of other sins.”

Bishop Coyne then shared his cure for the sin of pride: “The remedy is the virtue of humility.”

The afternoon sessions focused on the importance of family, the Blessed Mother and prayer.

Staples started the afternoon with a talk devoted to the example and glory of Mary.

“When we talk of the glory of Mary, we need to know our dignity,” Staples said. “Each of us needs to look at our dignity in the likeness of Mary. We also need to understand its responsibilities.”

Staples made a connection between men’s willingness to sacrifice and the spiritual development of their children.

“How much are you and I going to sacrifice?” Staples asked. “How much you sacrifice is how your children are going to see Jesus in your and their lives.”

Gus Lloyd, host of the Sirius XM radio program “Seize the Day” and author of A Minute in the Church—a collection of one-minute Catholic apologetics teachings—devoted his talk to the importance of prayer. He described it as “Jesus’ saving power.”

“We need to be men of prayer. It is our greatest weapon,” Lloyd said. “How serious are you about your prayer life?”

Thomas Cashion of Our Lady of Greenwood Parish in Greenwood related to Lloyd’s message.

“I thought the talk was inspirational,” Cashion said. “The reminder of being leaders in the family and leading prayer life really struck a chord.”

The conference concluded with Benediction and a talk by Father Michael Fritsch, pastor of St. John the Apostle Parish in Bloomington. He said that the Eucharist needs to be at the center of our faith in Jesus Christ.

“Any parish or individual wanting to get closer to Jesus will not fail if it has adoration [of] the Eucharist,” Father Fritsch said. He left the audience with one more word of wisdom before they continued their lives beyond the conference.

“As you leave today to your families, workplaces and parishes, be a knight for the holy Eucharist,” he said.

A mix of individuals and groups attended the conference. One of the largest contingents hailed from Good Shepherd Parish in Evansville, Ind., in the Evansville Diocese. Boarding buses at 4 a.m., 33 men traveled three hours to attend the conference.

“Throughout the ride, people were fired up and ready to go,” said Ron Pohl, a member of Good Shepherd Parish and an organizer of the trip to the conference.

For Pohl, the best parts of the conference were the messages from the speakers, and the opportunities to live that advice in their communities.

“It is our job to evangelize,” Pohl said. “We cannot just sit back.” †

 

Related story: Young men attend conference to deepen their faith and draw closer to Christ

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