Men abandon 'mediocre Catholicism'
PHOENIX, Ariz. (The Catholic Sun) - While some guys were making Super Bowl party preparations, more than 700 Catholic men from across the Phoenix Diocese gathered for fellowship, adoration and to refocus on Christ.
MEN OF FAITH - More than 700 Catholic men from across the Phoenix Diocese gathered for fellowship, adoration and to refocus on Christ with Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted Feb. 2 at the Men’s Conference at Xavier College Preparatory. (Catholic Sun/Rebecca Bostic)
The men joined Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted Feb. 2 at the Men’s Conference at Xavier College Preparatory. Between speakers, shared meals and long lines for reconciliation, the men learned about their unique call as Catholic men.
“The identity of man and identity of woman have been thrown into confusion over the past half century, especially since the so-called ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960s,” the bishop said.
“This has resulted in a breakdown of the family, a jump in violence towards children including the ultimate violence of abortion, an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases and many more dreadful consequences,” he said.
When men don’t know their calling in society and in the Church, it hurts both the self-understanding of men and women, the bishop said. He led a procession from the conference to St. Francis Xavier Parish, where he celebrated Mass for the participants.
More than just physical differences
Mike Phelan, director of the Marriage and Respect Life Office, helped oversee the conference, and emphasized the importance of recognizing the differences between men and women.
“There is obviously a biological difference, but since human beings are a unity of soul and body, there is also a deep psychological difference and a spiritual difference,” Phelan said.
“Women and men differ somewhat in how they relate to God, and therefore the conference sought to speak to that from a man’s perspective,” he added.
The main messages of the day focused on the role of Catholic men “to lay our lives down, to die to self, to follow our Lord fearlessly and sacrificially,” Phelan said.
A variety of speakers including Fr. Billy Kosco, pastor of St. Henry Parish in Buckeye, former Major League Baseball player Terry Kennedy and Fr. Phillip Chavez, SOLT, focused on these messages throughout the conference.
Richard Havermale, a parishioner from St. Francis Xavier, enjoyed the conference, which he shared with his 15-year-old son.
“Men need the support and fellowship of other men in which they can be themselves and discover the joy of being a fully Catholic male that follows in Christ’s footsteps,” Havermale said.
Sharing his thoughts and feelings about spirituality with his son and other conference attendees was a highlight for Havermale.
Discipleship no place for wimps
The conference exceeded expectations for planners and attendees alike. Catholic Men’s Fellowship Phoenix, which sponsored the event, would like it to be a yearly event.
“We need to hear that our role is to lead those we love spiritually, to be men of deeper prayer and sacrifice, and that this is both an adventure and a call to the cross,” Phelan said.
“No wimps need to apply to follow Jesus Christ,” he added. All participants were encouraged to leave “mediocre Catholicism” behind and advance in the full truth of the Gospel, Phelan said.
Bishop Olmsted said the conference addresses the crisis men are facing today.
“The large turnout of Catholic men from our diocese and beyond — and especially their enthusiastic gratitude for their faith — are very positive signs of Holy Spirit at work in our times,” he said.
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