More than 600 men from around Florida recently attended the third annual RiseUp Catholic Men’s Conference at Holy Family Parish where they were inspired to become the men God created them to be.
Adult Ministry Director Tomas Evans prays the experience will help men grow in their spiritual journey. “I hope anyone who attended will rise up in their spiritual life,” he said. “Men are the key to developing Christian families.”
Father Larry Richards, who founded The Reason for Our Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating others about Jesus Christ, spoke to the men about the lack of masculinity in the church. “To be a man is to be Jesus Christ on this earth. We need men to die for God and their families. If you’re not a man of prayer, you’re leaving them unprotected,” he said. “Your number one job as a husband and father is to get your wife and kids to heaven. You have to strive to commit to prayer every day. Prayer is more important than anything else. Start to pray five minutes every day. Find a place to meet Jesus every day.”
Father Richards explained there are three components of prayer. First, tell God you are sorry. Second, surrender your life to Christ. Third, become a child of God and be held. And finally, end with the Lord’s prayer. “The devil loves to keep us focused on ourselves and our past,” he shared. “We are saved by grace and how we bring grace to ourselves is through our prayer.”
This year fathers were encouraged to bring their teenage sons. Sam Gordon, a 17-year-old student from Olympia High School, heard about it through his Confirmation class and wanted to bond with his dad. “I’m leaving for college next year, and I thought it was a good way to kick start it with what manhood should be,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing to bring to college where there is a lot of temptation.”
Bill Gent, director of evangelization at Holy Name of Jesus in Indialantic and on the RiseUp Committee, hopes the men will take what they learned and bring it to their parishes to form small groups and find true friendship. “We want them to be more involved with studying scripture, praying, and engaging in spiritual activity,” he said. “The goal is to grow in Christ.”
By Christine Commerce, Florida Catholic Correspondent – February 19, 2018