Talk about being the right person, at the right place, at the right time. That is the history of Mark Fitzgibbons, the man tasked with getting St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church (SEAS) in Baldwinsville ready for the upcoming IGNITE 2022 conference.
Mark has been a Seton parishioner since the beginning in 1982 and, since retiring from his career, he has taken on the facilities-management position at the church. “I retired and Father said, ‘Not yet,’” but Mark adds that it is all good. “It’s home, it’s a family parish and this is our family.”
Previous IGNITE conferences have been held at the Syracuse Oncenter and the SRC Arena on the Onondaga Community College campus, two sites Mark is very familiar with. “I’ve worked at the Oncenter. … I was there for IGNITE,” he explains. “Then I had the opportunity to work at OCC for four years when IGNITE moved into the SRC Arena. I was there for that, too.”
It’s not all work for Mark, though, when it comes to the annual conference. His passion for the event goes beyond the physical preparation, it’s also very spiritual. “It’s calming. … There is a real sense of peace that comes over me. The camaraderie …, we establish a bond, it’s Christian men coming together.”
Like so many endeavors, COVID-19 has taken a toll the past two years on the IGNITE Men’s Conference.The 2020 conference was canceled, and last year’s event was broadcast out over a number of remote sites to promote social distancing and included a watch-from-home option. The 2022 conference will be held solely at SEAS but will also offer online access for those who prefer to participate remotely.
All corners of the SEAS campus will be put to use for this conference—the worship space, classrooms, gym and gathering spaces. While past conferences have attracted as many as 1,000 men, in-person attendance will be capped at a slightly lower number, so those interested in attending should act immediately to guarantee their seat.
To register and view the day’s agenda, visit ignitecatholicmen.com. Registration is $65 and walk-in registration on conference day, Saturday, March 26, will be $70. That includes sessions with three featured speakers and lunch. The at-home livestream registration is $30.