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Go West Catholic Men! (Part Deux)

March 16, 2011

Day Two from the NW Catholic Men’s Conference, early:

On the morning of February 26th, I awoke very early in order to go over to beautiful St Mary’s Church for the 5:45 Morning Prayer. That’s right – 5:45.  The combination of driving 200 miles, a bowl of chowder, four hours sleep, and 7 degrees was a sheer jolt to the senses.  Hello God!

Back at the Conference Center, Bishop Vasa gave an invigorating talk Men on the Front Lines for Christ: Pro-life, Pro-family, and Pro-Marriage.  The clergy weren’t the only ones working; the men, about 425 in attendance, broke into discussion groups. The first session before Mass was how we answered the summons of Jesus.  The second after Adoration, a bit tougher, was on responding to situations and attitudes contrary to Church teaching.  Mass was celebrated again by Cardinal Burke, and homily on Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, so that “we pray that we, as men, may become ever more like her faithful messenger, Saint Juan Diego.”  It was a thoughtful homily, and it reinforced and underscored my own personal vocation as a Secular Servant of Mary.

Again, I was struck not by the physical force of his words, but the pastoral force and conviction at which he spoke the words.  Abandon yourself to God’s Divine Will, and be taught by Mother Church’s princes.  I recall what he said the night before – and it still rings in my ears: 

We can exercise our own martyrdom by giving extraordinary witness in ordinary things.

Host Fr. Bailey Clemens gave two talks: Living Our Hope and True Manhood in Christ, and Re-discover Prayer/Adoration and then he led us in a stirring Adoration and Benediction, with the Choir chanting in the background.  Men – faithful, God-fearing men – in deep Adoration; witnessing this, participating prayerfully in this Holy Hour, had a deep spiritual impact upon me.  And all the people said:  Amen!

 And finally Doug Barry spoke on Catholic Men! Defending Christ and His Church.  It is watching a force of nature when you watch and listen to Doug Barry.  Some years ago he performed a one-man Passion play as RADIX that still appears on EWTN around Holy Week; it is an emotional experience.

In quick fashion, I felt as though I had been fed!  Watch out for Fr. Clemens.  He is a dynamic shepherd, doing God’s work in the rugged environs of northeast Oregon.

If you haven’t gone to a men’s conference, I recommend it – you will experience lasting fellowship.  Next one for our area is the Real Catholic Men Conference, June 18th at St Joseph’s Parish in Vancouver, WA. Fr. Larry Richards, author of Be A Man!, humorous Michael Cumbie, former Southern Baptist minister for 23 years before his conversion, and Fr. Brian Mullady, O.P., teacher, retreat master, former Air Force brat,  and dynamic preacher.  Please visit http://www.realcatholicmen.com for more details.

I hope to see many of you there, and look forward to a lasting fellowship with you!

Blessings,

Papa

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