August 24, 2007

Diverse speakers are on men’s conference’s itinerary

By Sean Gallagher

Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput will headline the second annual Indiana Catholic Men’s Conference on Sept. 22 at the Indiana Convention Center in ­Indianapolis.

The leader of the Denver Archdiocese for 10 years, Archbishop Chaput has served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and has been the keynote speaker at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast held annually in Washington, D.C.

He is also the author of Living the Catholic Faith: Rediscovering the Basics, and has written opinion columns for such national newspapers as The New York Times.

Robert Teipen, a member of St. Lawrence Parish in Indianapolis who is helping organize the conference, thinks that more than Archbishop Chaput’s national stature will appeal to the men at the conference.

“He’s pretty direct,” Teipen said. “And I think men respect that. That’s why he’s known nationally. He’s defending the faith in a vocal way and he’s not apologizing for it.”

Nearly 1,000 men attended the first conference last year.

Those who attend this year’s conference will hear a lineup of speakers with diverse backgrounds.

Lay evangelist Jesse Romero is a former member of the Los Angeles Police Department, a three-time world Police Boxing Champion and a two-time U.S. Kickboxing Champion.

Darrell Miller, the brother of retired Indiana Pacer Reggie Miller, is a retired Major League Baseball player. He was received into the full communion of the Church as an adult and currently leads MLB’s Urban Youth Academy.

Father Larry Richards is a nationally known mission preacher and retreat master. He is a priest of the Erie, Pa., Diocese.

Local priests will also speak at the conference.

They are Father Jonathan Meyer, associate pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, and Father Richard Doerr, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Carmel, Ind., in the Lafayette Diocese.

Overall, the scheduled speakers represent a broad array of cultural and racial backgrounds in the Church. Romero is Hispanic, Miller comes from the African-American community, and Archbishop Chaput is a Native American.

Teipen thinks this diversity is an important part of a conference for Catholic men.

“It attests to the universality of our Church,” he said. “It’s a big net out there. We’re trying to draw all in. Jesus didn’t limit the Gospel [at all].”

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein will also be on hand at the start of the conference to welcome attendees.

Teipen also emphasized that many of the speakers will appeal to men in their teenage and young adult years.

“They all relate well to young people, but they will not turn off the older adults,” he said.

The conference, which will run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will include Mass. Archbishop Chaput will be the homilist. The sacrament of reconciliation will be available throughout the conference.

Adult registration for the conference is $40. It is $35 for groups of 10 or more. Student registration is $20. Priests, seminarians and religious may attend free of charge.

Lunch will be included for all who register before Sept. 18.

Overall, Teipen hopes the conference will make the men who attend it “emboldened in their faith.

“We’re supposed to go out and proclaim and evangelize,” Teipen said. “Don’t be ashamed to let people know that you’re Catholic and why you’re Catholic and the fact that you’re proud that you’re Catholic.”

(For more information about the conference or to register, log on to or call 317-924-3982 or 317-888-0873.) †

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