FORT WAYNE — Registrations are now being taken for the second annual Diocesan Men’s Conference, to be held on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Expo Center, 4000 Parnell Ave., Fort Wayne, IN 46805. Sponsored by Rekindle the Fire and the diocesan Office of Spiritual Development and Evangelization, the conference promises a day of inspiration and faith formation for the men of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
Director of Apologetics and Evangelization at Catholic Answers Tim Staples, author and inspirational speaker Robert Rogers and Fort Wayne’s own Franciscan Father David Mary Engo will each offer their own brand of insight on “A Call to Lead.” The invigorating day will open with prayer and a blessing followed by a discussion on Confessions. The speakers will inspire those in attendance throughout the grace-filled day until 4 p.m. when they will gather for a special Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.
Robert Rogers, in full-time faith ministry for over eight years, hopes to inspire the men of the diocese with his powerful life story of tragedy and restorative faith. A native of Cincinnati, one of eight children, where the faith of his devout family was built on a foundation of prayer and service, Rogers will share in his witness that as a teen his faith became real to him and he became familiar with the Scriptures.
He says, “I stopped just ‘going to church’ merely to ‘fulfill my obligation’ and instead actively engaged in the liturgy and Eucharist so that I might fully know Christ in a personal and profound way. An amazing transformation took place from the inside out.”
His ever-growing personal relationship with Christ sustained him, he says, in the challenges he faced as his life unfolded. “After I married Melissa at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Cincinnati on New Year’s Eve 1991, amidst the joys of marriage, we also experienced two traumatic miscarriages, a son with Down syndrome, and a special-needs adoption of our daughter from China. We clutched our faith closely as we traversed each uniquely challenging trial along the way. “
The men in attendance will learn that his faith was the only thing that saved him after the tragic death of his wife and all four children, who were drowned in a flashflood in Kansas on Labor Day weekend in 2003.
He says, “I can’t survive life without my faith. It’s the essence of who I am. Faith is vital to me, vital to the men attending, and central to my talk. … I’m alive today to share my story only by the grace of God and the power of prayer.”
Rogers, an active parishioner of St. Vincent de Paul in Fort Wayne, hopes all men of the diocese who have a desire to know Christ more deeply will attend the conference.
He says, “They (the conferences) are a catalyst for our faith — to activate, awaken, engage and energize it. Conferences like these can serve as a ‘stake in the ground’ to declare, ‘on this day at this place, I made a decision to change the way I live my life … to be a better husband, father and child of God.’ Hearing the witness and testimonies of other men challenge and encourage our faith immensely.”
His message to the men is simple but profound: “Live a life of no regrets starting today — with God and one another. If we first get right with God, we have a chance to get right with one another. Know God — no regrets. Don’t waste another moment. Get to know God now in a deeply profound and powerful way. There are so many means offered through the Church: Adoration, prayer, the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word, the Eucharist, the Holy Scriptures, the sacraments, the saints. … We must actively engage it. God is a God of restoration. That’s the essence of the cross, the empty grave, and the Resurrection. If God can restore my soul, He can restore anyone. ”
Rogers hope for the men of the diocese? “To know God and live a life of no regrets — with God and with their families,” he says. “I’ll outline seven steps to no regrets at the conference that I pray will make an indelible difference in their personal lives.”
Registration fee, that includes lunch, is $35 for adults, $25 for seniors or students of high school or college age. Parking at the coliseum is $4 per car. Deadline for registration is Feb. 18, on-line at wwwRekindleTheFire.net or by check mailed to “Rekindle the Fire” Office of Evangelization, attn.: Natalie Kohrman, 915 S. Clinton, Fort Wayne, IN, 46802. For information call Joe Witulski at (260) 452-6875. See registration form on back page.
The best news. Delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe to our mailing list today.