“But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”(NIV).
This verse, taken from Luke 22:32, is the inspiration behind the 22:32 Men’s Conference.
The conference will be hosted at Our Lady of Peace Parish on March 2.
The conference was started six years ago and is sponsored by The Reason for Our Hope Foundation, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to spreading the Good News.
The foundation has a unique tie to Gannon, as it was started by a Gannon alumnus, the Rev. Larry Richards. Richards attended Gannon as a seminarian at St. Mark Seminary. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling in 1983. Since his ordination in 1989, Richards has become one of the most sought-after Catholic speakers in the English speaking world.
He spends his time speaking across the globe, and recently returned from a speaking tour in Australia. Gannon students may know him from his Sunday night segments on 90.5 WERG or his Divine Mercy Encounter retreat. Richards will serve as the master of ceremonies for the half-day event.
The conference was started in 2013, making this its sixth year. It was initially started as a reaction to a study that found that fathers are more important in passing on religion than mothers.
The study found that if a father practices his faith regularly, 38-44 percent of his children will become regular worshippers. If the mother practices and the father does not, only 2 percent will become regular worshippers.
So if the church is to grow, it is imperative that men take their faith and their responsibilities seriously. 22:32 Men uses nationally known Catholic speakers, the sacrament of reconciliation, and the liturgy of Mass to educate men to this fact. However, there is also a women’s conference, 1:38.
The three speakers this year will be Tom Peterson, Sean O’Hare and Sean Forrest. Peterson will be speaking about why “The World Needs Catholic Heroes.”
He is the host of the Catholics Come Home TV show, and as had appearances on Fox News, CBS and NBC. O’Hare is a young entrepreneur from New York with interests in manufacturing, restaurants and cyber security. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rider University in 2003, and will be speaking on topics such as pro-life, Christian apologetics, business and philanthropy.
Forrest is a singer/songwriter, performing at nightclubs and resorts. He found happiness through an encounter with Jesus Christ and began a new journey through life speaking at parish retreats and men’s conferences.
Through these opportunities, he continues to sing, write songs and tell the story of his encounter. All of the speakers have timeless messages about the necessity of being the man that God intended him to be, no matter the age, vocation or status in life.
The diverse backgrounds of each of the speakers guarantee that the conference will be interesting and that there will be something for everyone to take from it.
Registration for the conference is $25 for college students, $10 for high school students and $40 for adults and includes lunch and parking. Group rates are available for groups of eight or more. All faiths are welcome.
Those who wish to register may do so through www.2232men.com or by phone at 814-455-7364.