HUNTERSVILLE — Close to 500 men attended the seventh annual Catholic Men’s Conference, “Men on a Mission,” at St. Mark Church March 4.
The conference was an opportunity for the men of the Diocese of Charlotte to live their Catholic faith, and lead their families and others to God by the example of their lives.
This year it featured three dynamic Catholic speakers with very different delivery styles, including former Carolina Panthers quarterback Steve Beuerlein. Bishop Peter J. Jugis also celebrated Mass for the men. The day-long conference also featured Adoration and Benediction, with a Lenten reflection by Father Cory Catron, parochial vicar at St. Mark Church.
Soft-spoken Catholic speaker Robert Rogers, from Mighty in the Land Ministries, shared his testimony of how his wife Melissa and his four children were tragically killed during a flash flood in Kansas in August 2003. “The flood washed us off the freeway… I was in that flood as well. How I survived, only God knows,” Rogers recounted.
“The core of my message is to know God deeply, intimately, personally, and to live a life of no regrets,” he said.
Beuerlein followed Rogers’ poignant testimony. The former NFL quarterback told football stories about his college years as quarterback for the University of Notre Dame. Buerlein also shared with the men how central his Catholic faith has been since he was young.
“My Catholic faith is really at the core and center of who I am,” Beuerlein said. “It’s always been that way. I was born into an incredibly strong Catholic family… The example they set for us at a very young age is kind of the example I strive to live by myself now.”
Preaching on the Gospel of Luke 5:27-32, the calling of Levi, the tax collector, Bishop Jugis encouraged the men gathered to follow Christ.
“It’s an invitation that’s made, not just to Levi, but to each one of us here this morning, who has heard those words from Jesus, spoken to each one of us: ‘Follow me.’ Follow Him. Get up right away and start on the journey,” Bishop Jugis encouraged the men.
Father Bill Casey, superior general of the Fathers of Mercy, was the final speaker of the day. A former U.S. Army officer, Father Casey used a fiery tone to encourage the men to think about the things of above. Quoting St. Thomas Aquinas, the priest described heaven this way: “Heaven is the place where every good thing you have ever known or needed, and did not have; searched for, and could not find;…and everything that has eluded you, will be yours.”
Joe Warwick, a parishioner at St. Ann Church in Charlotte who has attended all seven men’s conferences, said he was thankful to have been at this year’s event, as he was deeply touched by Rogers’ testimony.
“I saw one of the greatest, if not the greatest, personal testimony of one man’s faith I’ve seen or heard today at the seventh annual Charlotte Catholic Men’s Conference. His faith is intact, but his soul continues to cry out,” Warwick said, “Robert Rogers has raised the bar higher than any lay person I’ve seen regarding being a husband and father through his witness as head of the domestic church.”
Sergio Miranda, core-organizing team leader, said he received great feedback from the participants, “I personally believe the Holy Spirit was with us that day. We were electrified and recharged with an energy that can only be experienced from men gathering, sharing and praying together.”
— Rico De Silva, Hispanic Communications Reporter