Home Diocesan News Conference speakers: Men are called to ‘rise up’ and confront reality of evil
Conference speakers: Men are called to ‘rise up’ and confront reality of evil Print E-mail
Written by Ann-Margaret Lambo, Special to the Exponent   
Friday, 23 March 2018 14:57

LOUISVILLE – Evil is prowling in the world like a hungry lion, and men of faith need to be prepared to fight it, participants in the recent diocesan men’s conference were told.


Men from across the diocese gathered at St. Thomas Aquinas Middle and High School here for the annual Diocesan Men’s Conference, a day of reflection, prayer and education.

Focusing on the theme, “Rise Up, O Men of God! The Battle is Real,” the conference included keynote speakers Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., and Deacon Larry Oney of New Orleans, founder and president of Hope and Purpose Ministries, which strives to foster the New Evangelization nationally and internationally, as well as diocesan deacons who spoke in the breakout sessions.

There were also opportunities for participants to offer one another support throughout the day and to attend the closing Mass with Bishop Murry.

“Satan’s got his connections in this world,” said Deacon Oney, who chairs the board of Hammerman & Gainer International and is an active member of the New Orleans Chapter of Legatus, an organization of Catholic business leaders.

“I’m telling you, brothers, you and I are living in an evil day – not because I say. Look around. We are calling good evil now, and evil good, but the One that is in you is greater than the one that is in the world. God has raised you up for a time such as this.”

Deacon Oney peppered his fast-talking address with words from Scripture, humor and his love for the people of God, to speak to the hearts of audience members.

“You and I are not at war with one another because we look different,” Deacon Oney said. “We are not at war with other countries. The genesis of the war is between the devil and the fallen angels who followed him against [the Archangel] Michael and the heavenly hosts.

“We are living at the time of the greatest confrontation the world’s ever seen. Evil abounds, but where evil abounds, grace abounds there, too.”

Bishop Murry invited participants to speak up for what is right in this world – encouraging them to support and challenge one another, to grow in faith and to be beacons of light to the world.

“So often, the roles of men get pushed off to the side. The role of men should be recognized and be celebrated. And an essential part of being a true man is being like Christ,” Bishop Murry said before his first keynote address.

“And so for you to be here this morning, for you to take your spiritual life seriously, is a great gift, not only to the world, but to our diocese and to each other. Thank you for inviting me here to be a part of your day.”

In his keynote address at the conference, which took place during Lent, when Catholics focus on turning their hearts from evil and sin, he discussed the nature of evil, taking issue with certain popular ideas.

“Evil is an enduring reality in human life and it is rooted in the human person himself or herself.” Evil is not merely something that is learned or brought about by external factors alone, the bishop explained.

The nature of evil is also complex, he continued, encompassing both the personal and the societal – the dramatic and the subtle.

Most importantly, Bishop Murry said, “evil can be overcome but only by the power of Christ”

“Allow the Lord Jesus Christ to come into our hearts and transform us. That is why, gentlemen prayer is so important. Prayer is the way we communicate with God. We should be praying every day. We need to find time in our lives — put aside the noise, put aside other people — to be with the Lord so that we can build up the necessary spiritual strength so that the Lord can help us overcome evil.”

Allan Pavalko of Boardman St. Charles Borromeo Parish has attended Catholic men’s conferences through the years, including events in the Pittsburgh and Cleveland dioceses. Through his participation, he and other St. Charles parishioners, were moved to establish a Catholic Men’s Fellowship group at the parish.

“This is something we look forward to because it’s a chance to outreach and invite other men to the conference to find out a little more about what Catholic Men’s Fellowship is all about,” said Pavalko, who chairs his parish group.

He noted that he found the theme of this year’s conference very fitting.

“The idea is to recognize that evil is prowling through the media, evil is prowling through the movies, evil is prowling through the Internet on Facebook and Instagram,” Pavalko said.

“It’s so easy for kids especially to say evil things, because they’re not face-to-face with someone,” Pavalko said. “As Catholic men we need to get up off our butts and be able to speak for what is right.”


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