“Today, my brothers, Jesus is standing at the door of your heart. He is there as we begin this new day on our life journey.”
Deacon Tony Campanell offered this reflection to a gathering of nearly 400 attendees at the Diocesan Men’s Conference Nov. 20 at DeSales University, Center Valley. The event was sponsored by the Allentown Diocese Commission for Men.
It was the 10th anniversary of the annual conference, which this year coincided with both the Year of St. Joseph and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Allentown. The conference theme, “I Am the Bread of Life,” witnessed to the Year of Real Presence proclaimed by Bishop Alfred Schlert.
Keynote speakers for the conference were Jesse Romero, author and host of the “Jesus 911” podcast; David Abel, business owner and co-founder of the Brittany’s Hope Foundation; and David Niles and Adam Minihan, hosts of “The Catholic Man Show.”
Keynote speakers for the conference’s Spanish track were Jesse Romero and David Bisono, a creator and producer for Catholic TV.
“It was a wonderful event,” said Glen Mummey, Vice Chairman for the Allentown Diocese Commission for Men. “We look forward to an even larger turnout next year.”
Romero noted that, while faith is the only antidote to the darkness enveloping the country, too many Catholics “don’t believe by faith anymore.”
Drawing on his experience working with a county sheriff, Romero subjected a virtual “police lineup” of six historical figures to a four-fold test: “Who was preannounced? Who performed miracles? Whose teachings were reasonable? Where are these men now?”
Of Buddha, Confucius, Zoroaster, Abraham, Mohammed, and Jesus Christ, “only Christ is the Savior, the only Savior there ever was.”
Romero said he was “rocked by the Real Presence” when he saw his mother miraculously healed after receiving Holy Communion.
Noted Romero, “Many Satanists have more faith in the Real Presence than Catholics do. They’ve told me that they fear the Church because what’s in those golden boxes is Jesus Himself.”
Just as Christ is Head of the Church, asserted Romero, “every Catholic man is the Christ of his family.” He exhorted the conferees to strive for “fraternity, order and ritual.”
“Live a life of virtue by developing holy habits!”
“The most important thing is to claim your identity in Christ. The opportunity is now. Moses was 80. You’re not too old,”
Abel shared that, having been exposed to pornography at age 8, he suffered from a sexual addiction most of his life. His healing began at age 46, when he confessed his sins for the first time.
“No sin is unforgivable except the one you choose not to confess,” Abel asserted. He challenged the men to “go and be set free so that you can rightly receive the Eucharist.”
Echoing Jesse Romero, Abel stated that “pornography is a permission slip to the enemy to come into your home.”
It was through reception of the sacraments that Abel was ultimately “rebuilt into the man I’m supposed to be.”
He reminded his listeners that “God the Father already knows your sins” and encouraged them to practice obedience to the Holy Spirit.
“Don’t underestimate how your ‘yes’ can change the world.
“Be Christ in the world. Let’s light it up!”
David Niles and Adam Minihan
David Niles and Adam Minihan shared the origin story of their popular podcast “The Catholic Man Show,” which aims to help men grow in virtue and “walk side by side with Christ.”
Both young fathers of growing families, Niles and Minihan encouraged their listeners to follow virtue-building practices such as regular fasting, a weekly hour of adoration, taking the family to confession, and upholding the honor of wives.
Following Niles and Minihan’s presentation was an inspiring witness talk given by Paul Emrick. It was an appropriate close to a day that could be fittingly described as “galvanizing.”