The 10th Annual Tampa Bay Men’s Conference on Feb 22, 2020 in Higgins Hall at St. Lawrence Catholic Church was attended by almost 600 men, including quite a few fathers and sons. The men were inspired by talks from speakers Dr. Tim Gray and Peter Herbeck, as well as by a member of the conference team who shared his personal journey with Jesus.
Several priests who attended the conference offered the Sacrament of Reconciliation. A room was dedicated for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, providing men the opportunity to spend quiet time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. There was also a ministry room with over 30 different ministries the men could learn about.
Dr. Gray gave an exposition for a better understanding of God the Father from the Old Testament and suggested the men reflect on the 7 attributes of God the Father from Exodus 34: 6-7:
“So the LORD passed before [Moses] and proclaimed: The LORD, the LORD, a God gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love and fidelity, continuing his love for a thousand generations, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin.”
Dr. Gray challenged the men to reflect on Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?”
Peter Herbeck spoke about the vast size of the ever-expanding Universe and how, based on the Big Bang Theory, it all began from an element smaller than a proton. This was to illustrate how awesome God is as the Creator. He also shared how we as Catholics need to stand up for our faith and values in a culture that is trying to redefine our long-held norms and values. To remain silent would be to give a tacit approval to the decaying society happening around us. Peter urged the men not to be cowards, but to stand their ground in defending Jesus’ hard teachings at any cost. He reminded his audience that Jesus said the world will hate them, because it hated him too. But, we are to rejoice for his sake in the midst of our afflictions, because Jesus promised that our recompense will be great in Heaven.
The time for personal witness allowed the men to delve into their own hearts and see how God can and does work in their lives, even when they may feel overwhelmed with nowhere else to turn. Many of the men expressed to the conference team how important it was to hear someone share his personal faith story.
The conference was sponsored by Suncoast Catholic Ministries in collaboration with the Diocese of St. Petersburg and under the spiritual direction of Msgr. Ronald Aubin, J.C.L., pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary parish. Suncoast Catholic Ministries encourages men to Courageously Live the Gospel by building a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, through the resources available within the church and the encouragement, fellowship and support of their brothers.
For more information about Suncoast Catholic Ministries visit their website at http://suncoastcatholicministries.com/.
To view photos of the Tampa Bay Men’s Conference, click here.