Conference shows men how faith is real and powerful
Genuine faith was shown to lead to perseverance time and again in the testimonies shared at the 16th annual Catholic Men for Jesus Christ Conference held in the St. Joseph Parish complex, Toms River Feb. 23.
The conference, entitled “Real men, real Catholic faith” brought together Trenton Diocese’s shepherd, a former mega-church pastor, a New York Jets legend, and a national speaker on the sanctity of marriage.
In his homily for the Mass celebrated during the conference, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. linked the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert to everyone’s personal Lenten journey. He spoke of how the “triple crown of prayer, fasting and almsgiving” are to be used to fight the temptations of the devil, and reminded the several hundred men present that they’re never alone since they go through the Lenten journey with not only Jesus but also his Church – adding that all Catholics are one Body by nature of their baptismal calling.
In his talk, Joe Klecko, popular former Jet defensive player, said God is constantly trying to reach out to us through Scripture and miracles, but oftentimes we think we know better.
He also shared how, after his NFL career in the 1980s, he went through some hard times and was saved from them only by the grace of God. He said through their perseverance and faith, he and his wife Debbie had three children when she was in her early 40s.
Allen Hunt shared his conversion story from a life as a third-generation Methodist minister of a mega church to the host of a Catholic radio show in Georgia. In his afternoon talk he shared the story of Gideon in the Book of Judges to convey how God chooses the weak to humble the strong.
He also shared how St. Peter the Apostle, despite all of his shortcomings, was still chosen to be the head of Christ’s universal Church, because Peter believed in God’s promise.
Hunt then explained how God can use us for greater good, despite ourselves, saying, “Faith conquers fears, healing conquers hurts, and God’s promise is greater than my past.”
Damon Owens, executive director of the Theology of the Body Institute, spoke of how manhood requires a self-sacrifice similar to that of Christ, and explained how human beings are created to give of themselves. He said the sacrament of marriage is a demonstration of the gift of self, and said a man’s entire life can be put into two categories: how much he gives of himself and how much he looks out for his own interests.
He shared how real men don’t hold back their sexual passions, but rather see women in the image and likeness of God, which enables them to channel their passions, and see and love women more fully.
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