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Men's Conference will provide inspiration and encouragement


Men in the diocese looking for spiritual inspiration and men’s fellowship should plan to attend the 2012 Catholic Men’s Conference on Saturday, March 3 at St. Francis High School in Traverse City. Open to all men – young, older and in between – this special day will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude with a 4:00 p.m. Eucharistic Liturgy with Bishop Bernard Hebda as the main celebrant.

The keynote speaker for the day will be Fr. Paul O’Brien. Fr. O’Brien is a Harvard graduate who then attended North American College in Rome before being ordained in 1991. Since 2001, he has served as Pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Lawrence, Massachusetts where part of his mission includes working with teenagers struggling to grow up in one of the Northeast’s poorest cities. Fr. O’Brien is also Chairperson of the Cor Unum Meal Center in Lawrence, Mass., a not-for-profit meal center which provides nutritious meals in a safe environment to anyone who is in need of food. Approximately 250,000 meals are served annually at Cor Unum.

Fr. O’Brien remains close friends with his college roommate, comedian Conan O’Brien, with whom he, and a group of friends and family members, established the “Labels are for Jars" organization. It is a dynamic and exciting undertaking that seeks to remove the “hungry” label in two ways – by undermining societal labeling and by feeding hungry people. "Labels are for Jars" has raised over $900,000 since 2003.

An avid supporter of Catholic schools, Fr. O’Brien consolidated and reorganized two parochial schools to create the Lawrence Catholic Academy. In the January-February 2012 issue of Harvard Magazine, he said, “What makes Catholic-school education so powerful is the God part. The best public-school teachers can tell kids to do their math, read, and not to join a gang. But in the Catholic schools, it’s ‘God made you and cares about you and God has a plan for you, so you’re responsible for doing math and reading so you can go out into the world and use your gifts.’”

Fr. O’Brien worked in Calcutta with Mother Teresa which he says helped him “see people the way Christ sees them.”

He will offer two presentations at the Men’s Conference: The first will focus on “Growing Your Relationship with Christ Through Service” and the second will help men explore “Practical, Everyday Things to Ground Yourself as a Catholic.”

Bishop Hebda has also been invited to speak about his vision for the Diocese of Gaylord.

Men attending the conference will join in prayer, have the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation throughout the day, grow in their faith and have a great time.

Cost is $25.00 per person which includes lunch and a gift bag. Fathers are encouraged to bring their sons who are in high school (age 16 and up) free of charge.

Space is limited; registration deadline is February 28. Registration forms are available in parishes and may also be downloaded below.

For more information about the Conference, please contact Kevin Endres at 231.534.5225. The 2012 Men’s Conference is being hosted by, a newly-formed Catholic group in Traverse City.


Click here to read the entire article from Harvard Magazine about Fr. Paul O'Brien.

File: Men's Conference Registration Form

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