Rekindle the Fire Men’s Conference Feb. 19 is taking registrations
By Kay Cozad
FORT WAYNE — Men of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend are invited to attend the diocesan men’s conference, “Can You Handle the Truth?” on Feb. 19, 2011, at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum and Exposition Center in Fort Wayne. The all-day event is presented by the men of Rekindle the Fire and the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
The conference will feature Boston College professor of philosophy and author Dr. Peter Kreeft, Marians of the Immaculate Conception Father Donald Calloway and singer-songwriter W. Keith Moore. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will celebrate a 4 p.m. Mass.
Father Calloway, known as the surfer priest, recently spoke with Today’s Catholic about the upcoming men’s conference. “We’re going to get into some nitty gritty details about some manly issues. It gets the guys fired up and you just feel like a group of brothers in there. I love it,” he says enthusiastically.
Father Calloway, a convert to the Catholic faith, says he will weave his radical conversion story throughout the themes he will present. “A lot of the things I went through are the things a lot of men are going through in the times in which we live,” he says, citing the culture’s pervasive sensuality, rugged individualism and workaholism that men can fall prey to.
Prior to his conversion, Father Calloway was a troubled youth who dropped out of high school to live a precarious life involving crime and substance abuse. But the testimony of his journey to God holds an effective message for men.
“My conversion goes through when I was a really bad young man to falling in love with Jesus, Mary and the Church,” Father Calloway says.
Following his conversion Father Calloway earned several degrees and has authored many academic articles. He has appeared on several broadcasts on EWTN and is the editor of “The Immaculate Conception in the Life of the Church,” and “The Virgin Mary and Theology of the Body.” He also is the author of “Purest of All Lilies: The Virgin Mary in the Spirituality of St. Faustina,” and most recently “No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy.”
Currently Father Calloway is the House Superior of the Marian House of Studies in Steubenville, Ohio.
Father Calloway’s message to the men is simple yet powerful. “We are the ones who are called to be the defenders and protectors of the beauty that has been entrusted to us,” he says, adding that that beauty includes wives, children and the Church — all of which are under attack in this present age. Father Calloway will rally the men of this diocese to fight this spiritual war and its enemy, by teaching them to arm themselves with spiritual weapons such as the rosary, devotions and Confession.
He says he will encourage them to “pray with your wife. You, as the man of the house, must take up the challenge.” This, he says, inspires the men to tackle this challenge no matter their vocation. “This also applies to the priests. All men are included in this,” he says, emphasizing that no one can do this alone. “We do this covering each others’ backs, looking out for each other and having accountability with each other.”
Fruit of a large conference such as “Can You Handle the Truth?” says Father Calloway, is men’s groups that form at the parish level that are a follow-through application of what the men learn there. Father Calloway says the men can meet once or twice a month to “just be guys together, shoot the breeze — but also to get together to pray, to have accountability.”
The enthusiastic surfer priest looks forward to meeting with the men of the diocese and believes the spirit will move them. His hope for the male faithful who will attend? “To step up to the challenge and to see their role as men in this new light of ‘you are called to be a soldier, a knight to protect the beauty entrusted to you.’”
To take up the challenge, men must trust says Father Calloway. “We place our confidence in the leadership of Jesus Christ and we trust Him … on many levels,” he says, adding that coming to a conference like “Can You Handle the Truth?” is to come away with a greater confidence in Jesus.
A final invitational note from Father Calloway to the men of the diocese, “Don’t miss your chance to bring your son. … You won’t regret it. It’s a really unique experience for a father and son to come together and pray. … It’s a real bonding experience.”
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