February 2, 2016 // Local
‘Battling your Goliath:’ Rekindle the Fire Diocesan Men’s Conference
By Tim Johnson and Kay Cozad
FORT WAYNE — “Battling Your Goliath” is the theme for the upcoming Rekindle the Fire Annual Diocesan Men’s Conference on Saturday, Feb. 20, in the Fort Wayne Coliseum Expo Center.
Three dynamic nationally acclaimed Catholic speakers will mark the day — Matt Fradd, Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio and Jesse Romero. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will conclude the conference with the celebration of Mass at 4 p.m. Father Jacob Meyer, parochial vicar at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Fort Wayne, and Father Ben Muhlenkamp, pastor of St. Louis-Besancon Parish, New Haven, will be the emcees for the day. Reconciliation will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
New this year will be interactive battle sessions with the three speakers.
Matt Fradd experienced a profound conversion at World Youth Day in Rome in 2000 and afterward committed himself to inviting others to know Jesus Christ and the Church Christ founded. Fradd speaks to about 50,000 people every year and has been a guest on the BBC, EWTN, ABC and “Catholic Answers Live.” He is the founder of The Porn Effect (www.theporneffect.com), a site dedicated to exposing the reality behind the fantasy of porn and offering help to those who seek sexual freedom.
Fradd works for Covenant Eyes, an apostolate dedicated to helping to protect families from the dangers of Internet pornography.
Fradd’s talk is titled, “The Man Talk,” in which he will “appeal to the hearts and desires of men to show them that who they desire to be in their heart of hearts is in fact the man God is calling them to be — commanding them may be.”
“God’s commands don’t require us to repress our deepest desires but instead to invite them forth,” said Fradd, adding that most think if they become what God is calling them to — holiness — they will become boring, less themselves. “We have to know that this is actually false. That holiness is the full flourishing of our personality. And that’s what God is inviting us to.”
He hopes that the men of the diocese will take with them the inspiration to make a positive change in their lives. “They, like me, have given in to the lives that the world has given them and they have discovered that these lives and those promises of the world don’t satisfy. And so they, like me, are yearning for something fuller, something more authentic, something more beautiful, adventurous. So that’s what I want to invite them to. It’s an adventure of holiness,” he said.
His interactive battle session will cater to men, ages 18-39.
Marcellino D’Ambrosio earned his doctorate in theology and Biblical interpretation through the instruction of Cardinal Avery Dulles. In 2001 he left university teaching to direct the Crossroads Initiative, an international apostolate of evangelization and renewal. Dr. D’Ambrosio is a New York Times best-selling author, Catholic TV host, and has appeared on Fox News’ “Geraldo Rivera At Large” and Bill O’Reilly’s radio show as an expert commentator on Catholic issues. He can be followed at www.dritaly.com or his dr.italy Facebook page.
His topic will be “Blessings of the Brotherhood,” he told Today’s Catholic.
D’Ambrosio said, “In a society preoccupied with romantic love and sisterhood, Christian brotherhood is making a comeback. When Catholic men organize into a ‘band of brothers,’ there is support, accountability and fruitfulness in Christ that is impossible when men live as ‘islands’ unto themselves.”
“The burdens grow lighter and the light grows brighter when men gather together as one,” D’Ambrosio said. “This talk will include stories about what men gathered together have accomplished in the history of the Church plus practical tips for men organizing themselves into small groups for prayer, study and support.”
Jesse Romero is a full-time bilingual Catholic Lay Evangelist, who is nationally acclaimed for his dynamic, upbeat Christ-centered preaching. Born and raised in southern California and a retired Los Angeles deputy sheriff, he is a devoted husband and father. He was a three-time world Police Olympic Boxing Champion and a two-time USA Middleweight Kickboxing Champion.
As a speaker, Romero has the ability to make the sometimes-complex teachings of the faith understandable with his straight talk approach. His messages are totally Catholic, Biblical, Christ-centered and delivered with energy and conviction that has become a Jesse Romero trademark.
He speaks with a sense of urgency as if every opportunity to preach may be his last. Romero is a cradle Catholic who experienced an interior conversion through the reading of the Gospels. His conversion has launched him into a preaching ministry called “On Fire Evangelization.” His mission statement is “Love God, slay error — save souls.”
His conference topic is “Three kinds of men — wolves, sheep and sheepdogs.”
“Every man falls into one of three categories,” Romero told Today’s Catholic. “You’re either a bad man — metaphorically known as a wolf. Or you’re a lukewarm, indifferent secular man — you’re symbolically a sheep. Or you’re a man of faith and action —you’re a sheepdog. A sheepdog serves the Shepherd who is Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God doesn’t want fans. He wants followers. God doesn’t want spectators. He wants gladiators.”
Romero will also speak at Rekindle’s Hispanic event on Feb. 19 from 7-9 p.m. in the Appleseed Room of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
Romero said, “Men will be challenged to look deep in their heart and see where they fit in. Islam is top heavy with committed men. Catholics need to show that same resolve and allegiance to our faith and ‘step into the breach’ (Ezekiel 22:30), and push back against the culture of death and proclaim the Catholic Gospel from the rooftops.”
“Men have built the culture of death — drugs, porn, abortion, homosexuality, etc.,” he said. “Only men can destroy it and replace it with virtue, goodness, beauty and truth.”
“We only have one life to live,” he said. “Let’s die trying.”
The welcome and opening of the conference is at 9 a.m. with Father Ben Muhlenkamp speaking at 9:30 a.m. Lunch vendors will be available. Registration for the event is available at rekindlethefire.net.
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