Former NFL receiver takes faith route to men’s conference

Chris Horn’s life demonstrates toughness, courage

By Tom Maguire

Associate editor

   Former NFL wide receiver Chris Horn once pursued yardage and touchdowns in noisy stadiums. He now coaches men to pursue virtue amid “all the noise of the world.”

   Horn will be one of the speakers March 25 at the IGNITE 2017 Catholic Men’s Conference at the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College.

   In an email, Horn, of Phoenix, Ariz., was asked these questions: “How does a former ferocious NFL player wind up speaking at an inspirational Catholic men’s conference in Syracuse? Did you have to totally remold yourself from your NFL days or does your new persona flow naturally from that time of high competition?”

   This is Horn’s emailed response:

   “When I played in the NFL I simply desired to give God glory by the way that I played football. My effort, my actions, my words all pointed to Jesus. Football is a great game that has many analogies for our journey of faith, especially with adversity and toughness. I did not have to remold myself for life after football because I see life after football as the same as life during football.

   “In the NFL you are asked to give your maximum effort. You need to walk a narrow path between competition and the execution of a skill and do this while giving everything that you can give as an athlete. In life we are asked to walk a narrow path between faith and all the noise of the world, all while giving maximum effort as a Christian to love God with everything we can muster.

   “At the men’s conference I will discuss the virtue of courage and prayer, and the need for men to strive for virtue in their daily lives. I will also speak about God’s providence in my life with football and my wife and share a reflection on the 5th joyful mystery of the holy rosary, the finding of the Boy Jesus in the Temple.

   Horn was also asked how his presentation will fit in with this year’s conference theme — “It’s all possible with God” — based on the fact that the conference falls on the same day as the Feast of the Annunciation.

   He answered:

   “It’s all possible with God! This is a theme for my entire football career. God has taken me from a small high school in Idaho with 22 kids in my graduating class and 8-man football, to Rocky Mountain College in Montana, a small NAIA [National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics] college, to the Arena Football League, and finally to the NFL. God is present in our daily lives; He loves us and all things are possible with Him.”  

   Two others who will speak at the conference are Msgr. Jim Lisante, a pastor from Long Island who spoke at IGNITE several years ago, and Mark Houck, a Pennsylvanian who co-founded a laymen’s apostolate called “The King’s Men.”

   The conference is set for SRC Arena at OCC. Early registration through March 8 is $55; March 9-23, $65; March 25 at the door, $70. The cost includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Visit ignitecatholicmen.org to register.