Since the first year of this conference, men throughout the Archdiocese have been challenged to live out their Catholic faith more fully. Here is a year-by-year summary of the conferences from 1997 to the present. Many of the talks are available for purchase by clicking here.
2013 – Real Men DO Read the Bible
Fr. Felix Just, S.J. was our keynote speaker for the 17th Annual Conference. Attendance was our third largest with almost 300 men from around the diocese and beyond. Fr. Just gave two keynotes: We Are Called To Be Faithful Disciples of Jesus and We are called to put our faith into action. Breakout sessions included: “Confession: Walking Before the Judge”by Fr. Chris Podhajsky, “Rosary & Liturgy of the Hours” by Fr. Brian Dellaert, “Why Doesn’t Dad Go to Church” by Fr. Tom Zinkula, “Evangelization/The Year of Faith” by Fr. Jim Dubert, “The Saints: Models for Our Faith” by Fr. Alan Dietzenbach, “Jesus Alive; Acknowledging our Past; Engaging the Present, Embracing the Future” by Vicar General, Monsignor Thomas Toale, “4,000 Years in 40 Minutes” by Deacon Sean Smith, “For Better or Worse: Living out the Sacrament of Marriage” by Deacon Ron Smith, “Financial Stewardship” by Deacon Jim Harris and a special “Panel Discussion on Promoting Vocations” featuring fathers of seminarians and those in discernment about joining a religious order. The student break out sessions included a testimonial talk by Tony Phillips called “Lost and Found”. During our split lunch session, the men in the theater listened to Fr. Davis Schatz presentation on “What would Jesus Say to the Rich Young Man If He was Poor?”: The Principles of Catholic Men’s Fellowship Engagement of the Christian Life”.
2012 – Be a Man!
Over 500 men attended the 16th Annual Conference featuring to hear featured keynote speaker Fr. Larry Richards (thereasonforourhope.org). This was a record turnout in the history of the conference. Fr. Larry challenged the men with two keynote talks, What does it mean to be a man of God? and How do you live as a man of God? Gary Dolphin “The Voice of the Hawkeyes” returned as our conference host. Breakout sessions included: “At the Heart of the New Evangelization” and “No Excuses-Becoming a Man of Prayer” both led by Jon Leonetti, “What single thing will change your parish? EUCHARISTIC ADORATION” by Fr. Ivan Nienhaus, “Be Still and Know that I Am God” by Fr. Michael Podhajsky, “Her Most Chaste AND Patient Spouse” by Fr. Dennis Quint, “The Sacredness of Work” by Fr. Tom Zinkula, “Loving and Life-giving: The Call of Christian Marriage” by Deacon Dennis Mulherin, “Keeping College Students Catholic” by Loras College FOCUS Missionary Jason Eilers, “Keeping Our Eyes on the Road…to Emmaus” by Deacon Sean Smith and a “Q&A Priest Panel” with Fr. David Schatz, Monsignor Russell Bleich, Fr. Henry Huber and Fr. Jon Seda. This year was the first time we held “Small Group discussion” after each of the keynote talks. This was for those that wanted to discuss what impacted them most about Fr. Larry’s talk. Student breakout sessions included “The Communion of Saints” by Fr. Brian Dellaert and “The Game Plan Living as a Young Man in Christ” by college students Zach Gignac and Cody LeClaire. Because of the large numbers, we had two lunch sessions. While one group was eating, the other listened to a presentation in the theater “Why Am I Catholic?” by Xavier teachers Dr. Phil Drey and Mike Goldsmith.
2011 – Made For More
Curtis Martin (focusonline.org) returned again as keynote speaker for the 15th annual conference on April 16th at Xavier High School. There were over 350 men in attendance; the largest attendance since the very first conference in 1997. We also introduced special pricing for students and families, plus special student breakout sessions led by Jon Leonetti, Fr. Scott Bullock and Dominic Michalik. Curtis Martin gave two keynote talks: Made for More and Worldview plus two breakout sessions “Digging Deeper into Worldview” and “Principles of Evangelization”. This year’s conference also featured the most breakout sessions to date. Sessions included: “Church Teachings; Where and How to Find Them” by Fr. Jerry Kopacek, “Catechism of the Catholic Church” by Fr. Brian Dellaert, “Spirituality for Men” by Fr. Tom McDermott, “Theology of the Body and Worship” by Fr. Chris Podhajsky, “Reconciliation” by Fr. Henry Huber, “Out of Africa” by Fr. Ivan Nienhaus, “Spiritual Leadership” by Tom Keating, “WWJG – What Would Jesus Google?” by Dan Rouse & Tom Coppa, “Social Justice” by Steve Schmitz, “How Catholic is Your Sunday?” by Scott Zogg, “Financial Track” by Ed Meisner, “A New Call to Grandparents” by Gary & Kay Aitchison, “Scripture Breakout” by Dr. Phil Drey, “Proclaiming the Gospel in a Digital Age” by Deacon Sean Smith, “Raising Faith Filled Kids” by Gary Ward and “A Father’s Wound – FOCUS Missionaries: Jason Eilers and Jonathan Sanchez-Hidalgo. Archbishop Hanus once again concluded the day with Mass as presider and homilist for the Palm Sunday Liturgy.
2010 – As Iron Sharpens Iron
We returned to Xavier on Saturday, March 27th for the 14th Annual Conference. Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers gave two keynote talks; The Meaning and Necessity of Spiritual Fatherhood and Finding the Courage to Live the New Evangelization. Breakout sessions included; “Words Matter:Liturgical Translations Today” by Fr. Dennis Quint, “The Deception of Sin” by Fr. Don Hertges, “Year of the Priest: Reflection on the gift of Priesthood” by Fr. Dustin Vu, “Catechism of the Catholic Church” by Fr. Chris Podhajsky, “Jail and Prison Ministry in the Archdiocese of Dubuque :Is God Calling you to be Involved?” by Deacon Bill Hickson, Guy Richmond and Les Oelke, “Life: Shaped by Vocation(s)” by Fr. David Schatz, “Are you Called to Serve? The Harvest is Plentiful, but the Workers are Few” by Deacon Ray Larson, “NFP-What You Haven’t Heard” by Gary Ward, “An Epic Story; 73 Books…..and this story is our own!” by Joe Lutgens. There were two panel discussions featuring laymen from around the diocese: “Raising Faith Filled Children” and “Small Men’s Groups”. We also helped promote a new study series “That Man is You”. The men at St. Columbkille Parish in Dubuque began using this resource, and shared the materials and their thoughts about the program during a break out session.
2009 – As Iron Sharpens Iron
The thirteenth annual conference was at LaSalle Middle School in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, April 4th. Keynote speakers were Fr. Phillip Chavez and Kenneth Henderson. Fr. Chavez challenged the men with a powerful keynote entitled “The Lion and the Lamb: The Identity of Every Man and Father”. Kenneth spoke in the afternoon on “The Greatest Battle of Every Man’s Life”. In addition to video taping both keynote talks, Blue Sky Productions in Marion, also made audio recordings of each break out session. These included “Potatoes Are for Chips, Not Pews” by Dave Airy, “Hope in Challenging Times” by Msgr. Russell Bleich, “Not under my roof!-The Centurion’s Dilemma” by Fr. Nick March, “Lasting Treasure- Some Thoughts and Principles on Money” by Ed Meissner & Tom Satern, “Sex, Fatherhood, and Priestly Authority” by Fr. Chris Podhajsky, “Living a Sacramental Life” by Fr. Michael Podhajsky, “Why Me?-An Overview of the Permanent Diaconate” by Deacon Richard L. (Rich) Wallace. And back by popular demand, a presentation of the DVD “Champions of Faith-Baseball Edition” followed by a short discussion. After lunch Joe Lutgens led a panel discussion of men talking about the impact Catholic Men’s Fellowship groups have had on their lives entitled “As Iron Sharpens Iron-Being Encouraged in Faith”. The conference concluded with a Palm Sunday liturgy with Celebrant & Homilist Archbishop Jerome Hanus.
2008 – Were Not Our Hearts on Fire?
This year marked two milestones… this was the first year that Catholic Men’s Fellowship of the Archdiocese of Dubuque planned and sponsored the conference, plus we had the most men in attendance in 10 years. Close to 200 men gathered from around the diocese at XavierHigh School on March 15th. Jesse Romero (jesseromero.com) fired up the men with his morning keynote talk“Catholicism 101”. After lunch, Joe Lutgens and Frank Easton led a panel discussion in the theater on Catholic Men’s Fellowship groups called “As Iron Sharpens Iron…Being Encouraged in Faith!” Jesse Romero then took the stage again and challenged men with his second keynote talk “The Battle for the Heart”. Jesse also led an afternoon breakout session entitled “Spiritual Workout”. Other breakout sessions included: “What Does It Mean To Be a Christian Man?” by Fr. David Schatz, “End of Life Issues” by Fr. Bill Joensen, “The Last Four Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell” by Fr. Michael Podhajsky, “Nuts & Bolts (of Small Men’s Groups)…and the Right Tools to get the Job Done” by Frank Easton and Joe Lutgens. Portions of the Champions of Faith video from Catholic Exchange were also shown in one of the classrooms as a breakout session.
2007 – The Journey Home: Walking with Christ
The conference returned to Xavier High School on March 31st, 2007. Curtis Martin (focusonline.org) was the keynote speaker and gave two talks; “Christ’s Call to Greatness” and “The Transforming Power of Virtue”. He also led a breakout session called “Raising Faith Filled Kids”. Other breakout sessions included: “Deus Caritas Est-God is Love” by Fr. Bill Joensen, “Emmaus: Recognizing Christ in Daily Life” by Fr. Greg Bahl, “A Catholic Approach to Scripture” by Fr. Brian Dellaert , “Small Faith Sharing Groups by Joe Lutgens and Frank Easton, “On Bended Knee” by John Harris, “Spiritual Leadership” by Tom Keating and “Treasures in Heaven” by Tom Satern. Two panel discussions were also offered: “Simple Rules for Dating your Wife” led by Dan Rouse and “Faith in the Foxhole” led by Fr. Bill Kneemiller.
2006 – The Journey Home: Living the Catholic Life
Saturday, April 8th at LaSalle Middle School in Cedar Rapids. Keynote speaker – Maurice Blumberg, (http://waupartners.org/resources/article/from_your_partners_relations_team/ ) Executive Director, National Fellowship of Catholic Men. Breakout sessions – “Promoting Catholic Traditions” by Fr. Brian Delleart, “Social Justice that makes Sense” by Deacon Sean Smith, “Men’s Faith Sharing Groups” by Joe Lutgens, “Everyday Stewardship” by Dennis Mullherin, “Faith in the Workplace” by Scott Zogg, “Living the Vocational Life” by Fr. Phil Gibbs and a panel discussion on the roles of men comprised of various laymen. Celebrant & Homilist Archbishop Jerome Hanus.
2005 – The Journey Home: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith
Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids hosted the ninth annual conference. Raymond Arroyo (raymondarroyo.com) was the morning keynote speaker and Msgr. Russell Bleich gave the afternoon keynote, “The Eucharist: Becoming What We Eat”. Sam Black gave a talk before Reconciliation. Joe Winters was conference host/MC. Breakout sessions included: a Q&A session with Raymond Arroyo, “What do we do with Vatican II?” by Msgr. Russel Bleich, “We Believe…Our Creed” by Fr. David O’Connor, “Catholic Beliefs on Scripture” by Fr. Jim Brockman, “The Mass Explained” by Fr. Henry Huber, “The Bible in Iraq” by Fr. Bill Kneemiller-U.S. Army Chaplain, “Leaving a Spiritual Legacy” by Deacon Laverne Flagel, “The Domestic Church: Praying as a Family” by Jon Kopecky, “Men’s Faith Sharing Groups” by Joe Lutgens, “Marriage & Sexuality” by Gary Ward. Celebrant & Homilist Archbishop Jerome Hanus.
2004 – The Journey Home: Coming to Faith
Beckman High School in Dyersville hosted the eighth annual conference on Saturday, March 27. Deacon Henry Libersat (henrylibersat.com) returned as the keynote speaker. Bob Lillibridge gave a talk before Reconciliation. Conference host/MC was Gary Dolphin, “Voice of the Hawkeyes”. Breakout sessions included “This is Your Life” by Fr. Phil Gibbs, “Empty Nesters” by Deacon Jim Pfafly, “A Man’s Man” by Jon Kopecky, “Pure of Heart” by Tony May, “Small Men’s Groups” by Joe Lutgens & Frank Easton. “You are Not Alone” by Pat Hurley. Celebrant & Homilist Msgr. James Barta.
2003 – Effective Father’s Seminar
In place of the regular conference, we welcomed back John Ream (http://astore.amazon.com/nrccm-20?%5Fencoding=UTF8&node=3) from Effective Father’s Seminar to give his two day seminar Friday, February 28th & Saturday, March 1st at St. Columbkille parish in Dubuque and Friday, March 7th & Saturday, March 8th at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Hiawatha. The wives of the men were invited to join us Saturday night to learn what John had been sharing with us.
2002 – Your Spiritual Journey with Christ
Deacon Henry Libersat (henrylibersat.com)was the keynote speaker as the sixth annual conference changed to a breakout session format. Columbus High School hosted the March 9th conference. FormerNew Orleans linebacker and current Green Bay Packer pro scout, Marc Lillibridge was the conference host. Despite freezing rain and snow, men from around the diocese drove to Waterloo to hear breakout sessions from Henry Libersat on “Incorporating Scripture into Your Life”, “Modern Culture & Preserving your Integrity” by Chuck Ryan, “Becoming a Disciple and Sharing the Good News” by Jim Mudd, “The Eucharist: Source and Summit of Our Faith” by Fr. John Haugen, “The Domestic Church: Passing it On, Handing it Down” by Patrick Rinker, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese of Sioux City. Fr. Denny Juhl gave a talk before Reconciliation. Archbishop Hanus celebrated Mass.
2001 – A Call to Holiness
The fifth annual conference returned to St. Jude’s in Cedar Rapids. The men in attendance heard many powerful talks throughout the day from speaker and author Matthew Kelly (dynamiccatholic.com), Catholic evangelist Peter Herbeck of Renewal Ministries (crossingthegoal.com/meet_the_team/peter), Fr. Jim Dubert, Pastor St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Iowa Falls, Fr. Phil Gibbs, Director of Vocation Awareness for the Achdiocese of Dubuque and retreat leader Bob Lillibridge who spoke about discerning your gifts of the Holy Spirit. Joe Winters was the conference host and Archbishop Hanus concluded the day with Mass.
Veteran author and Catholic evangelist Ralph Martin (renewalministries.net) was one of three speakers who challenged and encouraged the men to strengthen their walk with the Lord. Author and seminar leader John Ream (http://astore.amazon.com/nrccm-20?%5Fencoding=UTF8&node=3) also gave some life changing advice on how to be “Effective Fathers”. Gary Dolphin, “the voice of the Hawkeyes”, shared some personal insights from his life as a cradle Catholic growing up in Eastern Iowa. Conference emcee Joe Winters even wore his Wisconsin Badgers tie in Gary’s honor! The conference was held at St. Jude’s and concluded with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Hanus.
1999 – Responding to God’s Call
In 1999 the conference moved to St. Jude Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids for a Saturday, April 1st event. This was no April Fools joke as three other Catholic Men’s Conferences were held this same day in other parts of the country! Archbishop Hanus gave a brief reflection before inviting the men to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Our conference emcee was television weatherman Joe Winters. Jeff Cavins (jeffcavins.com) returned to our conference once again and we welcomed speaker and author Steve Wood (dads.org) of St. Joseph Covenant Keepers. This year men from around Iowa and surrounding states attended the conference!
St. Edward Catholic Church in Waterloo hosted the second annual conference. Archbishop Jerome Hanus celebrated Mass with the men before lunch. Speakers included author, speaker and television host, Jeff Cavins and Catholic evangelist Tom Edwards with Renweal Ministries. Phillip Kapela, Executive Director of Catholic Men’s Ministry in Chicago also spoke about the importance of meeting regularly with other Catholic men for accountability, study and prayer.
1997 Living the Call
The first Catholic Men’s Conference was held Friday night April 11th and all day Saturday April 12th at the FiveSullivanBrothersCenter in Waterloo. Despite a early spring snow storm, men came from all over Eastern Iowa to hear several speakers including Matthew Cramer of the Cramer Foundation and Msgr. Frank Chido, Pastor of the Basilica of St. John in Des Moines. Episcopal Vicar, Msgr. Dean Walz presided at Mass to conclude the conference.