Approximately 60 men gathered – some coming from as far as Erin – on Saturday, May 25 at St Benet’s Hall, Mount St Benedict, for Couples For Christ’s (CFC) Men’s Conference. The theme was Crime and the Christian. Bishop Emeritus Malcolm Galt, spiritual director of CFC was also in attendance.
The morning started with an exuberant praise and worship session and we (the participants) were welcomed by CFC’s Mark Poon Tip, after which Allan Julien addressed us on behalf of the National Catholic Men’s Ministry.
Attorney-at-law Gregory Delzin gave the feature address on the chosen theme. He stated that our society is focused on punishing offenders rather than rehabilitating them and reminded us of our call as Catholics to teach right from wrong, respect all life and the law, to forgive and show mercy. We are all God’s children whether victim or offender and should be treated as such.
Delzin also said that the disintegration of family life and community is a major contributor to crime, thus supporting and rebuilding family ties should be central to the efforts to prevent and respond to crime.
After the address, we gathered for workshops ‘The Call to Manhood’ (led by Lloyd Theodore), ‘Discerning God’s Will’ (Lee Birmingham), ‘The Call of God’ (Liston Nicholas), and ‘The Father Impact’ (Allan Julien). I was assigned to the first workshop.
Theodore helped us to understand our call to manhood and what it entails. I left reflecting on my impact as a man on my family, community and the Church and thinking “When people see me, do they also see Christ in me?”.
The second session struck me the most, ‘Redemptive Suffering’ by the dynamic Keith Patrick. He spoke about our call as Catholics to suffer for our fellow brothers and sisters, just as Jesus Himself suffered for all of us. Not in the context of literal suffering but in being open to sacrifices that we can make to help others live a life pleasing to God.
The day concluded with a wonderful healing session by the Men of Light Ministry.
This was indeed a wonderful day, spent in the presence of men on the same journey and willing to help change the crime situation in our country by first looking at ways we ourselves can make improvements.
It’s something I wish more men could have experienced and a conference I’m very grateful to have been a part of. I look forward eagerly to the next one! – Hakeem Williams, mission volunteer, CFC Youth for Christ