Men Of Integrity, Catholic Men’s Conference 2013

By: Curtis Ophoven 0 Comments   3/6/2013

COLLEGEVILLE – This year’s Men Of Integrity, Catholic Men’s Conference was awesome.  The Conference was on Saturday, March 2nd at St. John’s University.

The keynote speaker was Fr. Rocky, who serves as the Executive Director of Relevant Radio, which covers several states and something like 35 stations.  K-YES Catholic Talk AM 1180 is the St. Cloud affiliate station.

The conference in sponsored each year by the St. Cloud Diocese.  Five hundred men and young men attended the conference and the speakers were fantastic.

Fr. Rocky opened the conference with “Christ is the answer” and “seek after Christ and you will find life”.  In the second part of the keynote, Fr. Rocky talked about the media’s negative influence. He said we should all read more because the secular media is inundating us and our children 5 hours a day, 35 hours a week. 

We are lucky if we get 1 hour a week of the truth from the radio or attending a service or reading.  The reason we are losing our children to the culture is because they have a 35 to 1 advantage.

Following the morning keynote address was two workshops of your choosing in the afternoon.  But with twelve speakers to choose from, it was difficults to narrow it down to two. 

Workshop I

For my first workship I decided to attend Fr. Ben Kociemba’s workshop on Social Media. Fr. Ben in part of the St. Francis Xavier Parish in Sartell and the chaplain for Cathedral High School in St. Cloud. 

Fr. Ben quoted the Pope who quoted scripture that we are to be fishers of men (Matt 4:19).  As fishers of men, we need to go where people are, so if they are on the Internet then we need to be on the Internet also.  How else will they hear the gospel? 

On one hand, we are behind and need to get caught up with Social Media and new technologies, but on the other hand, because of the dangers that are so prevalent on the Internet, we should be very cautious.  

Workshop II

For the second workshop I had to attend Steve Gottwatt’s session on – “Faith in the public area”.  Steve has served 14 years as an elected public service, 9 years on the St. Cloud City Council and 6 years in the MN House of Representatives. 

Steve started by pointing out several quotes from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops website, that clearly indicates that it is our responsibility to bring our faith into public life. 

Steve completely debunked the idea that we are somehow not supposed to get involved in politics or that we are not supposed to bring our faith convictions into public life.  

Then Steve went a step further and said that it is our obligation to bring our faith into all aspects of life, especially politics, so that we are influencing culture for the good. 

Perhaps my favorite part was when Steve pointed out Romans 12:2;

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

This verse tells us not let our minds be transformed by the culture or the media or the politicians, rather we should transform our minds to the will of God. When we do that, we will be able to determine or to judge the difference between what is right and what is wrong - which is critical for us to lead the culture. 

What this also means is that without renewing our minds by studying Gods Word about our fallen nature and the effect that sin has on our minds, we will not be able to determine right from wrong.  Therefore we will not be able to lead our families, churches, cities or our nation.  

Studying the scriptures is essential. That is why Jesus said we cannot live by food alone, because food is not enough.  We need the Word of God.  

“Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"” – Matt 4:4

At the end of the day it was a great conference and I cannot wait to attend next year. The Lord definitely moving in Central MN, it’s not an ordinary day when five hundred men gather on a Saturday to seek the Lord.

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