National men’s conference is June 9

TAYLORS — Catholic men are invited to  the Upstate June 9 for a conference that organizers say will offer a memorable spiritual experience and motivation to live the Catholic faith.

The National Catholic Men’s Conference will begin at 8 a.m. June 9 in the parish hall at Prince of Peace Church, Taylors.

It is being organized by the St. Joseph’s Covenant Keepers, a group founded and run by Steven Wood, a Greenville-based author and speaker.  He is also president of Family Life Center International, which has offices in Florida and Greenville focused on bolstering traditional Catholic values and the traditional family.

Wood, a convert to Catholicism, has traveled extensively around the United States and overseas offering similar conferences. He credits Bishop Robert J. Baker for inspiring the idea in January, when he told Wood he was planning to declare 2007 the Year of the Family. Bishop Baker will address the conference during the morning session.

The gathering is billed as an event for Catholic men and their sons, especially teens or young adults, Wood said.

“We’re trying to make it very clear this isn’t a men’s conference and a youth conference — we’re welcoming every young man to come to the sessions with his father,” Wood said. “In a way, we’re saying to them ‘We’re welcoming you into the world of men!’ It will be a chance for the sons to be treated like men alongside their dads in a mature spiritual environment. It could be a wonderful lifetime experience for both fathers and sons.”

As of May 25, about 200 men had registered from around the Diocese of Charleston, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia, Arizona, Idaho and Washington. Wood said a leadership group from Ave Maria University in Florida is planning to attend, as well as professors and students from other Catholic colleges and universities.

Speakers and topics for the meeting include Curtis Martin, leader of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, “The Transforming Power of Virtue;”  Jesse Romero, a Hispanic Catholic evangelist and kick boxing champion, “The Healing that Comes from Confession;” and Rick Strom, a former NFL player with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills and Detroit Tigers, discussing faithfulness to church teachings and the importance of Scripture.  

Wood will speak about the battle for purity in today’s world, especially the struggles men face in a world where pornography has an increasing presence.

The day will end with a speech by Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kan., a convert to Catholicism, who will discuss the challenges of living life as a Catholic while also being a politician, and faith’s role in the public square.

Registration is $35 for adults and $25 for students. For information or to register call (800) 705-6131; visit; mail a check to Family Life Center, NCMC07, 2130 Wade Hampton Blvd., Greenville, S.C., 29615.