Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Exult Rochester: 1st Annual Catholic Men’s Conference

April 28th, 2015, Promulgated by b a

From (facebook page here)

1st Annual Catholic Men’s Conference

Saturday May 16th, 2015
8 am to 5 pm
St John Fisher College
3690 East Ave
Rochester NY 14618

Please help us double our registrations this coming weekend!

Share the link to with any man that you know, and encourage him to attend.

Encourage your priests to spread the word. Pray for the success of the conference!

Thank you
RCMC Planning Committee


31 Responses to “Exult Rochester: 1st Annual Catholic Men’s Conference”

  1. Jim says:

    Ben, Thanks for the promo for the Men’s Conference. I myself signed up to go. I heard from one of the organizers of the Conference, that at this point, not enough men are signing up (that particular weekend is loaded with high school/ college graduations all over), and that there is a danger of having to cancel the Conference and send out refunds. Have you heard anything about this? I certainly hope that this isn’t the case. This is a golden opportunity for Catholic Men to come together, as we really haven’t had a conference like this here in Rochester for many years…if we’ve ever had one here at all.

  2. Diane Harris says:

    When I read Jim’s comment, I made some inquiries about the likelihood of a cancellation. Someone close to the organizers made some contacts, and just told me that the conference won’t be cancelled, and we should continue to encourage the men of the diocese to take advantage of this opportunity. I am just passing on the message I was given. Pray for a good turnout!

  3. Jim says:

    I certainly hope you are right, Diane. I heard the possible cancellation news from two different organizers, at two different times and places.

  4. Diane Harris says:

    I hope my sources are right — I can’t claim any special knowledge, just a sincere reply to my inquiry, which I felt I should share. But if the men’s conference gets cancelled for too few attendees, it would be another “affirmation” of the feminization of the Church, and portend ill for dealing with the greatest problems facing future Catholics — men running away from the battle, and leaving it to their wives to fight. If women, for their part, can’t influence their husbands to attend, they can’t influence much at all. 100 strong, sincere men for Jesus is better than 1000 who really don’t care and would rather play golf.

  5. Ben Anderson says:

    Let me just stick up for men in general here… not attending a conference doesn’t mean you aren’t a good Catholic man. I think conferences in general appeal more to women than to men, so it doesn’t surprise me that there a fewer interested men than women. I absolutely agree that the typical Catholic parish doesn’t appeal much to men (thus the feminization of the Church), but I think that’s a different story than the fact that more woman are interested in spending a day at a conference than men.

  6. Diane Harris says:

    Perhaps we will agree to disagree on this one. When a still new Bishop calls a first time, diocesan-wide meeting of men in a deeply troubled Church, I don’t think it should matter much whether conferences interest or don’t interest them. Instead, they might use their presence to support and influence changes in the “right direction.”

  7. Ben Anderson says:

    Where is the Bishop’s call? I guess I missed that. No one can do everything, so we’re left to decide what God is calling us to do. I think we should refrain from imposing Holy Days of Obligation on others (or suggesting that those not attending are only doing so to partake of some frivolous activity). I, personally, don’t buy into surrendering an entire Saturday simply so that someone can feel better that there were X + 1 men in attendance to listen to speakers from out of state (I honestly considered paying $50 to just hear Bishop Matano say the Mass). Don’t get me wrong – I support this conference, but I think we should be careful not to suggest that a Catholic man somehow doesn’t measure up if he doesn’t go.

  8. annonymouse says:

    I heard that more than 700 are signed up, far less than capacity but still (in my opinion) a great showing for a “first annual.”

    There is a great need for this sort of thing – the last thing “this world” wants is strong, God-fearing men. The “feminization” of the Church is really no different than the “feminization” of our culture and the reduction of any idea of real masculinity to the stereotypes you see on network television. The devil wants to erase from our minds, culture and society the complimentarity of the sexes because complimentarity is of God. Authentic, holy masculinity is of God, as is authentic, holy femininity.

  9. Diane Harris says:

    I heard that the men’s conference is being moved from St. John Fisher to St. Jude’s Church.

  10. annonymouse says:

    The men’s conference is, indeed, being moved from SJFC to St. Jude, in an effort to cut costs. Must be the numbers signed up are disappointing.

  11. RochChaCha says:

    The numbers are very very good considering this is the inaugural event. It is going to be a great event and will be a springboard to an even larger event in 2016. According to the website, the cutoff for registration ends at noon today.

  12. Jim says:

    The Conference was fantastic!! I disagree with Ben saying that Conferences like this are more for women. Bishop Matano saw in his parish visitations that the numbers of men in the pews are disappearing. He is trying to ignite a fire of enthusiasm for men in a diocese that ignores men. If a guy doesn’t want to go to the Conference, that’s his choice (maybe too expensive), but, for Heaven’s sake, Ben, don’t throw stones at an event that this diocese has been deprived of for as long as I can remember! And who in the heck is saying that if a man doesn’t go, then he isn’t measuring up? This was a gift from Bishop Matano to the men of this diocese. If men want to make up excuses for not going, then that’s their loss!

  13. Ben Anderson says:

    When did I throw stones at this conference? I have done nothing but promote it. All I said was that conferences in general are more appealing to women (I still think that’s true, but I certainly could be wrong and I’m fine w/ people disagreeing) and that we should not to judge men who don’t attend (Diane’s comment about preferring golf. I’m sure she didn’t mean it quite like that, but I was just hoping to clarify a bit). There are many good reasons that a man might not have attended this conference. One thing I’ve been growing more wary of in the pop/ewtn/catholic-radio style of Catholicism is that some people seem to think there is only one way to be Catholic and that there is only one right answer to certain questions and if you don’t fall in line with pop-style Catholicism, then you’re not doing it right. I think we just have to be careful not to fall into this group-think mentality.

    I don’t criticize other people for not joining and participating in the Catholic groups and events I’m a part of. And I certainly wouldn’t assert poor motives or say they must be making up excuses for not joining me in these ventures.

    I completely agree we need more men to act like men in Catholicism and that their presence is sorely missing. I think the typical parish sets itself up for it. Fluff and lovey-dovey style religion doesn’t appeal to men. Men want something to believe in, to be proud of, to fight for, to die for.

    I’m hearing great reports about the conference and I’m glad it seems to have had an impact on individuals. I hope it shows some evidence on our local parishes and we start to get rid of some of the 60s style worship and doctrine that has disinterested the last few generations of Catholics.

    Bishop Matano is himself a gift to this diocese and I thank God for him every day.

  14. Ben Anderson says:

    I should note that my comment about conferences not appealing to men as much was meant to be an encouragement. I understand I probably didn’t word it properly to be interpreted that way. In my mind, I find it very encouraging that 400+ men would attend. That’s really good news and I don’t think we need to feel discouraged just because it didn’t match the women’s numbers.

  15. Jim says:

    Well said, Ben. I’m sorry. In re-reading, I realize that my letter was fueled by some anger. Your points are well made. By my throwing stones comment, I meant that you sounded like you were minimizing the importance of the Conference. In humor, one of the speakers made reference to the fact that, if this was a “sports centered” event, they would be turning men away from the door, for lack of room. Let’s face it. In our American culture, it would seem that women are more easily oriented toward spiritual awareness and prayerful introspection. 🙂

  16. Diane Harris says:

    Ben wrote: (Diane’s comment about preferring golf. I’m sure she didn’t mean it quite like that, but I was just hoping to clarify a bit).

    Actually, Ben, I did mean it “like that.” I said: “100 strong, sincere men for Jesus is better than 1000 who really don’t care and would rather play golf.” To Jim’s point, sports is one of the big distractions in our culture, for men in particular (but not only for men.) For the record, I was NOT saying that 500 who didn’t attend were all playing golf, but surely at least one fits the description. And surely there are 499 other explanations, some good and some poor, but none of which is anybody else’s business. The point wasn’t golf or not. It is the point of prioritizing our lives, and meeting the ever-present challenge of sorting between the good and the better, and between the truly important and the urgent. Each individual makes that decision, repeatedly, every minute. And our choice is our witness. But if we don’t participate, to some degree, we lose our right to influence.

    For the record, personally, I went to the Women’s Conference the first year out of support for the organizers, and out of curiosity. Afterward, I decided to skip this year, but someone close to me gave me a ticket as a Christmas present, and I went this year out of gratitude and appreciation for his having thought of me. After two years, now I see some “lost opportunities;” so I plan to write a letter to Bishop Matano outlining those ideas.

  17. RochChaCha says:

    I attended the event and it was better than I ever imagined it would be. I hear the number of men who attended were closer to 500 with people showing up the morning of the event. Great momentum going into next year.

  18. Sid says:

    No one else has defended poor Ben, so I shall, because I think his position holds for me as well. Conferences and so-called “workshops” (unless real tools are involved, not figurative ones) are not my thing and never have been, regardless of the topic. Listening to flown-in motivational speakers does not motivate me except in the direction of being (more) cranky and irritable. I am self-motivating when I WANT to be, and shiftless and indolent when I don’t.

    I have little kids, and I believe Ben has as well. I spend all week in the office and sometimes travel for work as well. When I am home, I’m either spending time with my family or doing some house chores to preserve some capital so that it can be spent on the family / kids’ education / whatever. I don’t play golf, and I don’t attend conferences either.

    I frankly resent being guilt-tripped, brow-beaten, or otherwise reproached for not killing a day and $50 to help get my beliefs pumped up. They don’t need pumping up. If I responded well to such pep-rally tactics, I’d probably be banging the tambourine at the local Evangelical “praise church.” So, call me whatever name you want, but I think it’s more important to be a father and a husband.

    Please don’t misunderstand… I have no problem people expressing their solidarity in Catholicism through these kinds of events. More power to them. Just recognize that:
    1) Folks have their own personal priorities and commitments. My time is a zero sum game. Something has to give.
    2) Despite what you might prefer, not everyone is wired the same way as you may be. Ever take one of those pop-psychology Myers-Briggs tests? People have made an industry out of this.
    3) Ben’s point about conferences in general having higher appeal to women is cogent. That is a generalization of course, but I think he is fundamentally correct. Guys (in aggregate) tend to respond less strongly to group hug strategies than women. It’s pointless to pick this apart on on an anecdotal basis, but such broad meta-analyses are fine if one wants to consider what 1000 people will or will not do. It’s not the whole picture, but it can help explain why an XY conference will tend to have poorer attendance than a similar XX conference.

    Oh, one more thing… If you want to lock people indoors for the better part of a day for a Rochester area conference, May is a *horrendous* time to schedule it! The weather has finally improved and people are out doing things, not talking about doing things. This is a time of year where almost everyone with a family has packed schedules. Truthfully, that didn’t really factor in much for me (In honesty, I likely wouldn’t attend regardless of the time), but I’d wager that if it were February, there would far less competition and hence broader appeal. Consider that for the future.

  19. militia says:

    From Pope Francis today to the Italian bishops in Rome (AP):

    “Francis also complained that the church often organizes conferences where “the same voices” are heard over and over, an apparent reference to the practice of hosting only like-minded speakers at church-sponsored academic conferences. Francis said such a practice ‘drugs the community, homogenizing choices, opinions and people.’ He urged bishops to instead go ‘where the Holy Spirit asks them to go.'”

  20. Diane Harris says:

    Sorry. I keep forgetting to post the link that shows Bp. Matano’s interest in the Men’s Conference. Here it is:

  21. Ben Anderson says:

    Thanks, Diane. I completely missed that letter. How did you find it? I don’t even see where it’s linked from the home page. The letter is somewhat enticing, although I have to admit that I’m allergic to “uplifting music”. I turn into a troll when I hear it 🙂

  22. RochChaCha says:


    I guess 500+ men were not ‘being a father and a husband’ on that given Saturday. Regarding your comment that people were locked indoors, please know that these men chose to attend. Nobody forced them to come.

  23. Jim says:

    Thumbs up to you, RochChaCha. I think Sid’s comments were pretty petty and self-righteous. Maybe if he had attended the conference, he’d have a different perspective on the husband’s and father’s role in the Catholic Church. That was one of the paramount topics of discussion by the speakers.

  24. Sid says:

    RochChaCha — My use of “locked” was obviously being facetious. Humor. The point was that if maximizing attendance is important, schedule it during one of the many months that Rochester has lousy weather. Don’t take it personally… it’s just common sense.

    Jim — Sorry if you think I’m petty and self-righteous (more name calling…), but I frankly objected to the defaming of everyone who didn’t “hear the call.” I kept my mouth shut until after the conference had ended, but the bad-mouthing continued… and continued… One can take only so many snide comments about the rest of us “not caring and would rather play golf” or if it had been “sport-centered”, attendance would have been better. Utter rubbish.

    Let’s be clear, when the event was announced, I checked out the Exult website, read the bios of the speakers (all lay people with a strong evangelist bent, one who even seriously bills himself as a “Motivangelist”) and decided it didn’t interest me. If something had been there examining Thomistic philosophy and how it related to Catholic humanism over the ages or perhaps a study of St. Augustine’s City of God and its relation to the Church today, you might have piqued my interest. Nope, instead there were three professional evangelists. Um, yeah… just not my speed, sorry.

    Finally, I’ll remind you that I did write above “I have no problem people expressing their solidarity in Catholicism through these kinds of events. More power to them.” There are different ways for people to support their Church, Diocese, and Parish. Don’t expect everyone to conform to a single mold and don’t disparage folks who think differently than you.

  25. Jim says:

    @ Sid: It’s unfortunate that you heard people chastising men who didn’t go, and looked down upon those who chose to play golf, etc. This is unfortunate, because God did give us a free will, and this is a free country. We are not executed for choosing to do something, or not doing it. ( We should pray for the Coptic Catholics, and others who are being slaughtered for their faith.) We are blessed that we have choices in our lives. Some men chose to go…others did not, and that’s ok! Nobody should ever force anyone to do something that’s not for them and they should not criticize them for not doing it. We are indeed blessed in America! My only other comments on your last post would be to challenge you about the speakers: If you’ve never heard them, then you really can’t judge them or their motivations. I’m sure the early Apostles weren’t very popular for what they preached either! My only other comment is that I think you are wrong in the “men love sports” arena. You know as well as I do that many more so called Catholic men are either watching ESPN, or going to Bills games than going to Sunday Mass. This a fact, and it is the reason that Bishop Matano is calling upon men in this diocese to re-discover their Catholic Faith, and to come back to Church…..on Sundays and during the week!

  26. annonymouse says:

    Sid – you assert that your time is a zero-sum game. I presume that means you waste no time on frivolities like TV, sports, internet surfing, or the like. If you are honest about your time, I believe you could probably have spared the 6 or 7 hours to attend the conference.

    But then you assert that you didn’t like the evangelistic bent of the chosen lay speakers – didn’t “pique your interest.” And you scorn evangelism – like evangelism is a bad thing! You, Sid, and I and the rest of the Church are indeed called from our baptisms to be evangelists – “go and announce the Gospel to all creatures!”

    If you’re a perfect husband, father and disciple, then by all means, disregard any such opportunities that might prompt you and give you tools to improve in each area.

    Meanwhile, let us praise God that Bishop Matano is providing such excellent opportunities for the men (and women at the women’s conference) of the diocese to grow and enrich their faith.

  27. Diane Harris says:

    It was on the Exult Rochester website.

  28. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Awesome; some of my favorite topics have been commented upon: evangelism/evangelists, men and women, conferences and workshops, uplifting music, Saint Augustine, Bishop Matano, Pope Francis and sports. How can I resist? You all have “motivated” me to comment. Thanks for the motivangelization.

    Honestly, doesn’t it seem helpful to read a short report how this conference blessed, impressed and edified as well as how it challenged, exhorted and encouraged? In that way readers can have something concrete to analyze in determining the value of the May 16 Men’s Conference.

    First a disclaimer. Ever since an adult conversion experience of The Lord Jesus in June 1978, I have sought opportunities to be alone with Him, to be gathered and assembled with other believers for worship (at Holy Mass, at evangelistic and praise events, whenever two or more are gathered informally) and I have sought opportunities to attend teaching and preaching events in which the proclamation JESUS IS LORD is clear, bold and faithful to Catholic Sacred Tradition. For me, each of these opportunities are a response to the Son of God who says: COME and SEE, COME ASIDE BY YOURSELVES, CONSIDER HOW TO ROUSE ONE ANOTHER TO LOVE AND GOOD WORKS….ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER.

    Bishop Matano preached at Holy Mass saying:Jesus’ first command was Come, Follow Me; His last command was Go Forth, Make Disciples. Be aware of the subtle machinations of the Evil One. Proclaim, Pray, Learn Magisterial Teachings, Commune with The Lord Jesus in the Sacraments. Be cautious about being critical of Church teachings for which others shed their blood and give their life; who died for what they believed. Today others are being slaughtered for faith in Jesus Christ. New martyrs are shedding their blood for Christ; ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

    Tim Staples told the personal story of how a Catholic Man and US Marine Sargent, who turned out to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, challenged Tim’s Bible knowledge and started him on the journey to full communion with the Catholic Church. Tim exhorted men to be disciplined, to turn off the TV, to get the Faith into their heads and hearts.

    Hector Molina quoted Pope Francis asserting the Church is a hospital for broken sinners. He went on to assert that we are not made for comfort, we were made for greatness. There is a famine of great men. YOU WERE MADE FOR THE GLORY OF GOD. Hector also explained there is a difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus.

    Danny Abramowicz gave his personal testimony of sin and darkness to conversion to Christ and God’s call to Danny to form Men’s Groups based on CROSSING THE GOAL which effectively form men into spiritual leaders fit for spiritual warfare. Deacon Mike McQuire told the men he has been appointed by His Excellency, Bishop Matano, to be the diocesan liaison to these men’s groups . The Deacon encouraged the men to visit the exult website for the contact information for those inspired to start a men’s group (

    For me the day was very beneficial. Not only did I take to heart each exhortation, I saw men I haven’t seen in years and met for the first time other men committed to The Lord Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church. What a joy to catch up and to announce Christ to each other and exhort each other to love and good works.

    Will I attend next year? Hey, I’m hoping to be invited to help plan and and organize next year’s Rochester’s Second Annual Roman Catholic Men’s Conference.

    Come and See!

  29. Jim says:

    Dominick, thanks for sharing your personal experience of the Conference!

  30. Ben Anderson says:

    4 CD Collection of Speakers Talks including Tim Staples, Hector Molina, Danny Abramowicz and the Panel Discussion with Question and Answer session; Bishop Salvatore Matano’s Homily from the opening Mass is included on the Panel Discussion CD

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