Hey fellas, listen up. It’s time once again for the Connecticut Catholic Men’s Conference. As we all know, the Covid pandemic caused countless events to be cancelled during the past year and a half. Last year, the Men’s Conference did occur, but they switched the venue to an outdoor facility, New Britain Stadium. Some hearty souls attended, but many of the regulars, such as myself, chose to stay home out of an abundance of caution at the height of the pandemic.
This year the Men’s Conference again will be held in New Britain Stadium. So, there will be plenty of fresh air for those who are still a little skittish about being in crowded indoor settings. This year’s Conference will be on Saturday, September 25th. The gates open at 7:30 am, and the day-long event kicks off at 8:30. The theme this year is “The Most Holy Rosary.”
The organizing committee has lined up a fabulous group of guest speakers.
- Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC. Fr. Don is a prominent Marian priest, and exhibits an unmistakable zeal for the priesthood and devotion to Our Lady. He is a well-known conference speaker on Divine Mercy and the Blessed Virgin Mary. He speaks passionately about these topics in his moving conversion story.
- Dr. Ralph Martin is a well-known author and is engaged in Catholic evangelization through the non-profit organization that he leads, Renewal Ministries. Two of Ralph’s most significant books are the recently published A Church in Crisis: Pathways Forward, and The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints.
- Gary Zimak is the author of several books, and he is a frequent speaker at parishes and conferences across the country. He is recognized as the leading Catholic speaker on the topic of overcoming anxiety. In addition, Gary is a regular guest on EWTN TV & Radio, Relevant Radio, and he is the host of The Gary Zimak Show podcast.
- Dr. Blythe Kaufman is the founder of the Children’s Rosary, an international prayer group movement for children. She is an endodontist and an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Kaufman is the author of the book: Children’s Rosary: A Prayer Group Movement for Children, which has been published in English, French, and Spanish. Her work with children and evangelization has taken her to multiple countries in Africa. Dr. Kaufman can be seen regularly on EWTN's series Children's Rosary.
Besides these great speakers, the Men’s Conference will offer Eucharistic adoration, Confession, lunch, and a concluding Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Leonard Blair.
Did you catch a key word in the previous sentence? No, not the word lunch. I’m referring to Confession. If you’re like me, the pandemic gave you the perfect excuse for avoiding the Sacrament of Reconciliation. My routine in the years before Covid worked out nicely: Confession at the Men’s Conference in the fall, and then Confession when the guys in my parish went on retreat during Lent. It was the perfect opportunity to go to Confession twice per year with priests who didn’t know me from Adam. (Yeah, at age 64 I’m still nervous about going to Confession with a priest who knows me. I would work on this emotional issue, but then I’d have to speak with a therapist, who would soon come to know me, so that option is out.)
The best aspect of the Men’s Conference is the camaraderie you experience with other guys who are trying to be faithful to the Lord in the midst of our stressful, hectic world. It’s such a joy to spend some time with other men who understand the struggles we all experience nowadays.
So, please mark September 25th on your calendar. It will be a terrific day. You can register for the Connecticut Catholic Men’s Conference at this website: ctcatholicmen.org . As always, the registration fee is quite reasonable. I hope to see you there. I’ll be the guy in the Red Sox hat waiting in line for Confession.