By Claudia Mathis
The third annual IGNITE Catholic Men’s Conference will be held Saturday, April 2 in the War Memorial Exhibit Hall in Syracuse. The inspirational event is sure to make a lasting impact on the lives of the men who attend.
This year the theme is “Seek the Faith. Discover the Truth. Light the Fire.”
“We want to show men that the Catholic faith is one that is vibrant and alive,” said Ed Kirk, chairman of the IGNITE planning committee. “Men are an integral part of the Catholic faith. We want them to grow and live their faith, not only with their families, but in their parishes.”
Men are urged to attend the conference with other men from their parish. In addition to building relationships of depth, the shared fellowship provides common ground for launching men’s groups within their parishes. “We hope to initiate some new groups,” said Kirk. “As a result of these conferences, 15 new men’s groups have developed over the last two years.”
The conferences also inspired the women of the Syracuse Diocese to hold their own conference in October 2010.
Kirk, who is a parishioner at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Baldwinsville, said he is hoping that at least 1,200 men will attend the conference. Close to 1,000 men have attended each of the last two years.
This year’s inspiring speakers include Darrell Miller, Gus Lloyd and Msgr. Jim Lisante.
Miller is the director of Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Academy. A convert to the Catholic faith, he is a dynamic evangelical speaker who shares his testimony and faith. As a speaker in defense of the Catholic faith, he shares his conversion story at Catholic conferences and adult retreats around the world. Miller played for five years with the California Angels. He is a board member of Catholic Athletes for Christ and was a participant in the Vatican’s first Conference on Sports in 2005.
Lloyd, morning host on the new Catholic channel on Sirius Satellite Radio since 2006, speaks at conferences and parishes around the country on topics ranging from spirituality to apologetics to being a Catholic in today’s world. Lloyd was raised in a Catholic family, but as a teen, fell away from his faith. After worshipping at a non-denominational church, Lloyd and his wife decided to examine the Catholic faith again. He felt the calling to become a Catholic evangelist and hosted a Catholic radio show in Tampa, Fla., where he was the morning host for 10 years.
Msgr. Lisante, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Massapequa Park, N.Y., has authored four books: Of Life and Love, Let’s Talk, Personally Speaking and The Power of One. He has also hosted several national television programs and is currently launching a new television show, “Close Encounter,” which will appear nationally on PBS in the near future. Msgr. Lisante is the host of a weekly radio program called “Personally Speaking.” His columns have appeared in over 300 newspapers.
The conference will open with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert Cunningham. During a break for lunch, the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available. Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction will take place at the closing of the event.
The men’s conference is unique to the Syracuse Diocese in upstate New York.
Kirk said that he feels moved when he witnesses the fellowship among the men who attend the conference. “When you see 950 to 980 men in one room who realize that they are not alone when they are out there trying to become more holy — it’s very powerful,” he said.
For more information and to register for the conference visit www.ignitecatholicmen.org.