Speakers inspire men to live in joy, humility

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - Updated: 2:00 pm

By JOHN FRANKO Staff Writer

Because Jesus opens his heart to us, Bishop David Zubik said, we can leave behind our sins, guilt and sense of worthlessness. No matter what we do, we receive the grace of forgiveness through the sacrament of reconciliation.

“That’s the religious freedom that sets us on our course as we prepare to receive the love of the open heart of Jesus,” he said.

Bishop Zubik was the celebrant at a Mass closing the 13th Gathering of Catholic Men, “Encounter Mercy,” April 6 at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood. The crowd of several hundred took in the program that included inspiring talks and music ministry. The bishop joined brother priests in hearing confessions throughout the afternoon gathering.

“I am just elated,” said Santos Hernandez, vice chairman of the CMF board of directors, following the program. “The Holy Spirit led us.”

He spoke of the many distractions men face and the challenges of getting them to attend such a gathering. It was another example, he noted, of trusting the Lord.

Sean O’Hare is an entrepreneur who serves as board chairman of Students for Life of America. He also works closely with former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow and his foundation, and is the founder of the nonprofit Runway Rock Stars.

O’Hare spoke of Tebow and the late Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo as men who took risks to help others. O’Hare related how he used to measure his own value by his finances, but he came to realize that his true worth is spiritual. We must ask what we’re willing to risk to achieve it, he said.

What would the words on your tombstone read? What would you be willing to risk to get to heaven?

You don’t have to be an NFL running back or quarterback to be a man of virtue, O’Hare said, adding, “What if we got up every day and lived our faith to the fullest?”

Jimmy Mitchell, founder of Love Good, a Nashville subscription company that empowers artists, patrons and young people to raise their standard for media and build a better culture, talked about using authentic masculinity to turn around a culture of perpetual adolescence.

We live in a culture of noise, he noted, one in which cellphones, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube combine to create many distractions. “We’re numb,” he said.

Mitchell pointed to a society that tends to be weak and too easily pleased. We settle for noise and complacency, he said.

“There’s never been so much confusion about what it means to be a man,” Mitchell said.

Authentic masculinity advocates a desire for holiness, he noted, and real manhood means loving fully as Christ does. Men need virtue, prayer and brotherhood. People will follow a man in pursuit of the cross, Mitchell added, so they must be men of confidence, joy and humility. 

Our hearts must never rest until we find God in heaven, he said, and we must build a culture in which evangelization happens naturally.

Sam Arnone, CMF board chairman, said the gathering was only the beginning of evangelizing. “You guys are not meant to keep this,” he said. “Take this back to your parishes and communities.”

Hernandez pointed out that the goal of CMF is to raise new leaders. “We want these guys to plant the seed,” he said. “We are here to help them.”

He added that a number of upcoming events will be specifically geared toward young men, in the hope of creating ministry support that will help them grow.

For information on forming a CMF parish group, visit www.cmfpitt.org.

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