Diocesan News

Annual Conference Encourages Men to ‘Arise. Go forth.’

LINCOLN (SNR) - Any man looking for the inspiration to be a godly husband, father and grandfather is invited to attend the sixth annual Catholic men’s spiritual conference March 24 at St. Joseph Parish in Lincoln.

Featuring television/radio host Msgr. Stewart W. Swetland, S.T.D., and author Tom McQueen, it will be a day of fascinating topics, good food and friendly conversation beginning at 8:30 a.m. Breakout sessions will enable men to explore topics in depth and come away with practical tips they can put into practice right away.

The agenda also includes Mass celebrated by Msgr. Liam Barr, pastor of the parish, as well as opportunities for Adoration and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Lunch will be catered by Lincoln’s popular Valentino’s restaurant.

Best known for his hosting duties on the weekly EWTN program Catholicism on Campus and Relevant Radio’s Go Ask Your Father, Msgr. Swetland is a former Navy seaman who served in the Middle East.

"I see my life as a constant call to just such an ongoing conversion," Msgr. Swetland wrote. "Each day God challenges me to go deeper into the mystery of His love."

A Rhodes Scholar, Msgr. Swetland converted to the Catholic faith while he was studying at Oxford. He reentered the Navy only to resign his commission to answer God’s calling to become a priest and was ordained for the Diocese of Peoria, Ill. in 1991, later earning advanced degrees from the Pontifical Lateran University.

Currently the vice president for Catholic identity and mission at Mount Saint Mary Seminary University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Msgr. Swetland also serves as executive director of the Center for Advancement of Catholic Higher Education and executive secretary of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.

Mr. McQueen is a former marriage and family counselor who worked for years as a corporate and business coach. Now an international speaker, Mr. McQueen is the author of a number of pieces on coaching.

His most recent work is the book, "Letters to Ethan," a collection of personal notes he wrote for his grandson, who is now 3 years old.

"I wrote about my faith, hope, love, responsibility, trust, and even practical matters like drugs and alcohol," Mr. McQueen said.

"Things aren’t the same today as they were 50 years ago," he continued. "There are a lot of pressures in society today and also a lot of demands."

Mr. McQueen and Mr. Swetland will each present their own talks at the men’s conference, and they will team up together for two afternoon breakout sessions.

"The actual workshops will be largely interactive," Mr. McQueen promised. We’ll engage the dads and grandfathers in coming up with a plan to take home to their families.

The St. Joseph men’s fellowship is a loosely organized group that presents various events to encourage community and spiritual growth among men. It includes Bible study, sports leagues, community service opportunities, a quarterly breakfast featuring an interesting speaker, and more.

The annual conference is open to men of all parishes who wish to further their understanding of their roles as spiritual leaders in their homes, on the job, in their parishes and in the community at large.

Organizers intentionally plan the conference to give "regular guys" the opportunity to bolster their faith in a setting that they find appealing. Speakers are selected for their ability to inspire men and provide productive breakout sessions. Even the choice of caterer was based on a desire to serve the meal (and quantities) that men enjoy.

The pre-registration cost is $25 per adult, $40 for fathers and sons. Tickets at the door cost $5 more. This fee includes a buffet lunch and snacks catered by Valentino’s.

Men who would like to attend the conference can pre-register by completing an on-line form at www.stjosephlnk.org.

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