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Catholic Men’s Conference announces 2014 speakers

Posted By February 20, 2014 | 12:46 pm | Lead Story #1
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Msgr. Thomas J. Sullivan and Angelo Guadagno, co-chairmen of the Worcester Catholic Men’s Conference, have announced the speaking program for the 14th annual conference, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 5 at the DCU Center.  The conference is the nation’s oldest event of its type.
Many diocesan and religious priests will participate again this year by hearing confessions at mid-day. The sacrament of reconciliation has become a conference staple in its first 13 years.  Since so many participants go to confession the committee hopes that more priests than ever will come.
“We can use as many priests as will come,” said Msgr. Sullivan, “since so many of the men, nearly 1,000, go to confession.”
Speaking at the conference will be convert and film producer Steve Ray; Kevin Reilly, former NFL player; Gus Lloyd, Sirius Radio host; Father Francis J. Hoffman, executive director of Relevant Radio and Christopher West, an educator who has popularized Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.
“We have a superb slate of speakers this year,” said Mr. Guadagno.  “There is something for everyone and I know that our participants will not be disappointed in them, especially given the variety of their topics.”
“Our speakers have always been given the highest ratings by the men who come to the conference,” he said.  “We have an exceptionally high rate of men evaluating the conference each year and they love the speakers.  I’m confident we’ll see the same result this year.”
Father Hoffman is a priest of Opus Dei and a Chicago native.  A priest for 22 years he worked in business prior to his seminary studies.  He has a master’s in business administration as well as a doctorate in canon law, and has worked for many years with the rural poor in the mountainous regions of central Mexico.  “Father Rocky,” as he is often called, will speak just before the sacrament of penance is offered and his talk is titled “What’s That Sound in the Camp? How Confession Can Help You From Worshipping the Golden Calf.”
“Proclaiming the Gospel – Back Then and All Over Again,” is the theme of Steve Ray, a convert, Catholic author, film producer and certified guide to the Holy Land.  Leaving behind a multi-million-dollar business he became an apologist and he carries the message of the Gospel across the globe.  He is the author of “Crossing the Tiber” and developed the “Footprints of God” film series.
Kevin Reilly played football for Villanova University, the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.  A rare cancer of the scar tissue brought his career to a sudden conclusion and he lost a limb, but not his will to live.  He will speak on “Overcoming Adversity with Faith and Persistence.”  His talk will emphasize the importance of faith, family, friends and fortitude.
Perhaps the leading expositor of the Theology of the Body in the United States, Christopher West, an experienced educator and author, will strike out in a new direction as he speaks on liberating men from addiction to pornography in a talk titled “Sexual Redemption: Untwisting the Lies and Rejoicing in the Truth.”  He has taught on seminary faculties and extensively in Australia. All the major television outlets have interviewed him.
“Magnetic Christianity” will be the talk of Gus Lloyd, who will help men at the conference re-evangelize the culture, starting with themselves.  He hosts a daily radio program on Sirius XM radio and has been speaking at conferences, retreats and missions across the nation for the past 20 years.
Bishop Robert J. McManus will be the principal concelebrant and homilist for the conference Mass at 4 p.m.
Through March 22 ticket prices for adult men are $45. On March 23 they increase to $60.  Ticket prices for students are $30 prior to the conference and at the door.  Tickets can be purchased online on the conference website at www.firstmensconf.org; by sending a check to Catholic Men’s Conference, 49 Elm St., Worcester, MA 01609; contacting parish contact persons in those parishes which have them; or by calling Julie Schroeder at 508-929-4345.
“In addition to reaching out to men of all ages a special effort is being made to invite teens and young adults and there is a concerted effort in our Catholic high schools to attract students to the conference,” said Msgr. Sullivan.
“We want to continue to strengthen the conference by welcoming young men who are so important for the Church’s future.  Each year the conference gets a younger audience,” he added.