"Big Four" Highlights


Men on a Mission

Knights of Columbus lead new Catholic men’s conference

Catholic men in the Charlotte, N.C., area will gather for the first men’s conference in the diocese on Saturday, Feb. 19. The event is being organized by the local Knights of Columbus Council #770 and is endorsed by Charlotte Bishop Peter Jugis, who will offer Mass at the conference.

The theme of the conference is “Being a True (Catholic) Man.” Featured speakers are Frederick Berretta, a native of Charlotte, who survived the “Miracle on the Hudson” airplane landing and wrote the book Flight of Faith; and Father Larry Richards, an inspiring speaker at men’s conferences and author of Be A Man.

In addition, the K of C’s Fathers for Good initiative has been one of the models on which the conference is based.

The primary movers behind the event are three young Knights – Jason Murphy, grand knight of Council #770, Dan Trapini and Shawn McAllister.

Trapini told the story of the conference to Fathers for Good:

FFG: How did the idea for the conference come about?

Trapini: About a year ago, I joined the Knights of Columbus and learned about the service ideals of the organization.  I approached Jason Murphy, the grand knight of our council, with the idea of the men’s conference and began doing some research. I quickly found out from conference organizers in other cities that to be successful, men's conferences needed to be diocesan-wide efforts with the support of the bishop and great witnesses and speakers.

With Jason, I approached Bishop Jugis, who was overwhelmingly supportive of the idea and agreed to endorse and participate in the conference. After securing nationally known speakers, I assembled a core team. Together we determined our mission and target audience. We then devised a plan to market the event and develop the conference content.

Pulling the men's conference together are, from left: Shawn McAllister, Mike Witt, Jason Murphy and Dan Trapini.

Our core team is comprised of me, Rick Caron, Shawn McAllister, Mike Witt, Tom Mathis and Jason Murphy. Each of us is in charge of a different aspect of the conference. Father Christopher Roux has agreed to be our spiritual and sacramental advisor, and many other volunteers have come forward to help promote the conference in their parishes and among various diocesan groups and ministries.

FFG: What’s the motive behind the event?

Trapini: There are many great reasons to have a men’s conference in our diocese. When I lived in the New York area, I was fortunate to attend a men’s day organized by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. I was able to see firsthand the spiritual and fellowship benefits the men’s day brought, and I was able to discuss with the Friars the reasons why men’s ministries are so important.

First, men have a great responsibility to be the spiritual heads of their families and to provide for and protect their wives and children. With the culture of death so rampant in our society and so many attacks on the family, this is such an important and difficult job today. Men also have spiritual needs and struggles that are very different from women’s, and often our Church often has few ministries that directly address men.

Also, many priests and religious to which I have spoken have lamented that a by-product of the feminist movement has been the feminization of the Catholic Church. Men often respond to a challenge, yet in the feminized Church, they come to Mass with a message designed “not to offend” rather than a challenging call to holiness. Many Church leaders notice that the men in today’s world have turned over the spiritual responsibilities of their family to the wives, and have become passive participants instead of spiritual leaders of their families. In promoting this conference, I have encountered many women who have expressed to me a desperation for their husbands to take on a more active spiritual role in the family.

FFG: How is the Knights of Columbus involved?

Trapini: As a Catholic service organization, the Knights of Columbus can and should offer resources to promote men’s fellowship, and to spiritually address men’s needs as husbands and fathers. The Knights of Columbus’ “Fathers for Good” campaign’s mission is to provide such resources, and our conference is a manifestation of the campaign’s mission.

We are hoping that this conference brings the men of our diocese together (both Knights and non-Knights), and provides a day that specifically addresses the spiritual needs of men. We want them to aspire to be better husbands and fathers, which inspires them to be better Catholics, no matter where they are on their spiritual path, motivating them toward an active prayer life and engagement in their parishes.

We hope that an annual men’s conference becomes an embedded part of our diocese. We also hope by collecting the men’s information as they register for the conference, we can make them aware of events and resources in our diocese throughout the year that are geared specifically for them.

For information on the Charlotte Catholic Men’s Conference: www.cltcmc.org