September 5, 2008

Dynamic speakers are on men’s conference itinerary

By Sean Gallagher

The third annual Indiana Catholic Men’s Conference on Sept. 27 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis will offer its attendees a slate of dynamic national speakers that come from a variety of walks of life.

“This year, we’re fortunate to have people who will connect with youths,” said conference organizer Mike Fox, a member of St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis.

“They’ll have positive messages for everybody who attends,” Fox said. “I think Father Donald Calloway’s story of going from being a prodigal son to being a Catholic priest—and a very dynamic one—is going to be very powerful.”

As a teenager, Father Donald, a member of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, lived an “MTV lifestyle” marked by drug abuse and sexual promiscuity.

He attributes his conversion and eventual call to religious life and the priesthood to a chance encounter with a book about Mary as well as his mother’s constant prayers for him.

Mark Hart will speak at the conference and serve as its master of ceremonies. Known as the “Bible Geek,” Hart is executive vice president for Life Teen International, a youth ministry program used by parishes across the nation.

Rich Donnelly has coached for 25 years for a number of Major League Baseball teams, including the 1997 World Series champion Florida Marlins.

Throughout his decades of involvement in professional baseball, Donnelly, a father of eight children, has been strongly guided by his Catholic faith.

He was involved in the production of the Catholic Athletes for Christ video “Champions of Faith,” which featured several MLB players talking about what the Catholic faith means to them.

Also scheduled to speak is Ken Ogorek, archdiocesan director of catechesis. Ogorek has written and spoken widely about how parents can pass on the faith to their children.

Father Christopher Weldon, associate pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Carmel, Ind., in the Lafayette Diocese, is also a conference speaker. Ordained in 2005, Father Weldon became a seminarian after graduating from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and working as a buyer for a major clothing retailer.

Fox said that the number of men attending the conference has grown over its first two years. More than 1,000 men from across Indiana, other Midwestern states and as far away as Florida participated in last year’s conference.

“There are a good number of people [who attend] who are at every level in their faith journey,” Fox said, “and they all come away saying that this was very much worth their day.”

Fox hopes the conference will be worth the participants’ time because it will help them grow in their faith and love for their families.

“From the very beginning, we have wanted to have an event that will strengthen men’s relationships with Christ and will bring them closer to Christ,” Fox said, “but also strengthen their relationship with their family and friends, and make them better stewards of the Church and their own parish.”

The 2008 Indiana Catholic Men’s Conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 4:30 p.m. In addition to the speakers, the conference will also include Mass and the opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation.

For those who register before Sept. 15, the cost of the conference will be $40 per person or $35 per person for groups of 10 or more. The registration cost increases by $5 on Sept. 15.

Student registration is $20 per person. Seminarians and priests can attend the conference free of charge.

Lunch is guaranteed for all who register before the day of the event.

(For more information about the conference or to register, log on to or call 317-924-3982 or 317-888-0873.)

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