We weren’t sure whether this would be the “1st Annual” or just the “first” conference for men in the Diocese of Knoxville, but it was very successful and well received by all – so it appears that we will try hold the 2nd Annual conference next year sometime. A lot of hard work went into planning the conference, and a special ‘thank you’ to all who were involved.
The conference was sponsored by the Diocesan Office of Christian Formation and the St. Joseph Society at Sacred Heart Cathedral. As men, we look to St. Joseph as the perfect example for becoming the men God created us to be. He took Mary as his wife and raised Jesus as his own son and undoubtedly taught him how to be a man. St. Joseph was not just your “average Joe,” and we should all aspire to be lik e him in all ways.
The conference started with opening remarks by Tim Irwin, Knox Country Juvenile Court Judge. Tim is a member of Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish, and played football for the University of Tennessee from 1976-1980. He went on to play for the Minnesota Vikings (1981-1993), and finished his NFL career with Tampa Bay and Miami (1994). He talked about his experience as a judge and the problems that he has seen because many of the troubled youth do not have a father, or anybody else who really cares about them. He said that he is convinced that the vast majority of the youth who get into trouble would probably not have come before his court if they had just had someone who would care for, and love, them. He talked about the importance of fatherhood and the impact that our actions have on our children.
Conference Photos (click to view and download photos)
The next speaker was Jeff Cavins who created the popular Great Adventure Bible Study. Jeff’s talk focused on what it means to be a man of God and how to become the man who God wants you to be.
Steve Wood, founder of the Family Life Center in 1992, gave the next talk. He is also the founder of the St. Joseph Covenant Keepers a movement that seeks to transform society through the transformation of fathers and families. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI awarded Steve the “For the Church and for the Pope” (Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice) medal, an award given for distinguished service to the church, in recognition for his work with St. Joseph’s Covenant Keepers. His talk challenged us to become better Christian fathers and grandfathers.
After lunch, the attendees got the chance to ask Jeff and Steve questions in a panel discussion format. They answered several tough and though provoking questions that were on the minds of many of the men.
The conference ended with Holy Mass celebrated by Bishop Richard F. Stika.