Men gather for learning, fellowship and prayer at annual conference

Often our busy lives take our attention away from God. He is always present to us, but are we always present to God?

“Jesus is completely present to me, there is nothing on his end that inhibits our union, except me,” said Michael Havercamp, Young Life’s national liaison to the Catholic Church.

“This real presence of God ultimately is a mystery,” said Havercamp, who presented the keynote address at the 23rd annual Catholic Men’s Conference Feb. 22 at St. John’s University in Collegeville. “Yes, we have words, we can articulate it, we have a beautiful tradition that reflects on it and expounds on it. But God, the very one who created the universe, who created you and me and all that is seen and unseen, [who is] totally present to you in the Eucharist, is a great mystery.”

About 300 men from around the diocese attended the event hosted by the Office of Marriage and Family of the Diocese of St. Cloud. In addition to the keynote, the conference included time for adoration and reconciliation, a panel discussion with priests of the diocese and Mass with Bishop Donald Kettler.

Bishop reflected on the day’s Gospel — Matthew 5:38-48— in his homily. “At the Last Supper Jesus told us to love even our enemies,” he said. “Jesus exemplified this commandment by his life of care and service of others, and obviously that included his enemies.”

Keep your love of God alive and active first, he advised, then start with someone you already love or have respect for and try to love them more. “Try not to judge them, leave that part to God,” he said.

The theme of the day was “The Real Presence: Bringing Christ to the World.” Fourteen presenters gave workshops relating the theme to topics such as canon law, pro-life issues, marriage, stewardship and prayer.

The conference also featured a Spanish track with Father Omar Guanchez presenting the keynote address.

  • Michael Havercamp gives the first of two keynote talks in the Stephen B. Humphrey Theatre at St. John’s University in Collegeville during the 23rd annual Catholic Men’s Conference.

Photos by Dianne Towalski

Author: Dianne Towalski

Dianne Towalski is a multimedia reporter for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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