Catholic men gather for fifth annual conference

By Catholic Spirit Staff

More than 600 men from the Diocese of Austin attended the fifth annual Catholic Men’s Conference, held Feb. 18 at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Austin. The theme for this year’s conference was “Calling ALL Men.”  
This conference was put on by the Central Texas Fellowship of Catholic Men whose vision is to have “No Catholic Man Left Behind.” Other sponsors included the Knights of Columbus and the Diocese of Austin. 
Bill Moyer, who serves on the board for the Central Texas Fellowship of Catholic Men and one of the organizers of this year’s conference, said the conference and the organization are geared toward helping men live out their faith in everyday life. 
“We (Central Texas Fellowship of Catholic Men) continue to serve the Diocese of Austin by helping parishes build effective men’s fellowship groups. The purpose of conferences like this one is to fire men up and motivate them to go back to their parishes and participate in men’s groups. Men need to deepen their relationship with Christ, family, church, and the community.”
The year’s conference began with a welcome from Billy Moyer, co-founder of SOS Leadership, who served as the emcee. He encouraged men to open themselves, not only to the messages they would hear from speakers, but also to the relationships they could build with other attendees. 
“A conference like this is about coming together in fellowship with one another,” Moyer said. 
Gus Lloyd, host of “Seize the Day” radio show on The Catholic Channel, was the first featured speaker at the conference. He motivated men to become all that God desires them to be by sharing his eleven attributes of a Magnetic Christian.
“The real work of building the Kingdom of God begins with me and you,” Lloyd said. 
Robert Rogers, founder of Mighty in the Land, then shared his moving story of loss that inspired men to live a life of no regrets. Rogers experienced a significant tragedy when his wife and all four children died in a flash flood in Kansas in 2003. 
“When God is our refuge, even when there is despair … there is hope,” Rogers said. “Even in the midst of sorrow … there is peace and joy.”
Later, men heard about joy and the gift of the cross from Holy Cross Father Charlie Van Winkle, who lives in Austin. The priest also helped organize the sacrament of reconciliation for the conference.
Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, affectionately known as the “Dynamic Deacon,” gave the closing keynote as he urged men to answer God’s call. Deacon Burke-Sivers cohosts a weekly broadcast, “Living Stones” on Mater Dei Radio and is the author “Behold the Man: A Catholic Vision of Male Spirituality.” 
Robert Cavazos, a parishioner St. Louis Parish in Austin, said the men’s conference energized him to be more active in his faith in his daily life. 
“I got motivated to work with my wife to improve our prayer life and am looking to get more men active in our men’s ministry at our parish,” Cavazos said.
The Central Texas Fellowship of Catholic Men will host the ninth annual Men’s Fellowship Mass July 22 at 10 a.m. at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin. Bishop Daniel Garcia will celebrate the Mass, and a reception will follow in the Bishop’s Hall. The sixth annual Men’s Conference will be held Feb. 17, 2018. For more information about this ministry, visit www.centexcatholic.com.