The Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon held the fifth annual Real Catholic Men Conference August 18 at St. Joseph’s Parish in Vancouver, Washington. The theme was “I will make you Fishers of Men,” and the Holy Spirit renewed our faith and equipped us to go for a fresh “catch.”
The speakers were some of the liveliest evangelical clergy I’ve heard from in a long time. Leading off was Father Theo Lange of the local Archdiocese of Portland, who gave everyone a terrific sense of the need for prayer and devotion to our Lord in these trying times of spiritual battle. The next speaker, Deacon Ralph Poyo, brought an energetic and humorous style to a very spiritual, no-nonsense message of discipleship in Christ. And the last speaker, inspirational cleanup hitter Deacon Larry Oney, brought everything into perspective and showed us that we are all called to love and serve the Lord.
I get tremendous satisfaction knowing that Logos will be able to keep these fires burning—fires sparked by the Holy Spirit and by these truly gifted speakers. Many of the attendees will be using their new software tonight, contemplating newfound truths in light of Mother Church.
One of the most moving points of the whole conference was when the conference promoter, David Renshaw—who recently accepted a new job in Mobile, AL, and moved his family from Oregon to Alabama—spoke, in an emotional moment, of his decision to accept the post as program director of a Catholic radio station in an area with a population of less than 3% Catholics. He talked of playing Bible roulette when making his decision and landing at Isaiah 6:8, which says, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’”
He also mentioned that before his presentation, two other speakers had quoted that same passage—one of them me, in my Logos presentation, in which I explained my decision to leave my job in manufacturing and join Logos.
After David’s emotional closing remarks, all 250 of us circled around David at the center of the hall, each putting his hand on the shoulder of the man in front of him, and prayed over David. Then we prayed for someone to take the baton—someone to ensure another men’s conference next year.
We all went to Mass, and the conference ended. At dinner that night with the speakers and David, I learned that a group of Real Catholic Men had approached David and taken the baton. There will be a sixth annual Real Catholic Men Conference. To God be the Glory!