Sunday, March 21, 2004

4,000 attend Catholic seminar



By Anna Michael
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Martin and Mark Travis woke up at 5 a.m. Saturday to make sure they would make it to Xavier University's Cintas Center on time.

The teenagers traveled two hours with their father from New Bremen, Ohio - near Lima - to attend the 10th annual Catholic Men's Conference, presented by the Catholic Men's Fellowship of Greater Cincinnati.

"I didn't like waking up, but it's worth it," said Martin, 16.

Mark, 14, and his brother said they have been on several retreats, and Saturday's the "Answer the Call" conference was "cool."

Nearly 4,000 men, ranging from pre-teens to elderly, filled the arena's lower level. Although the number of attendees was down about 1,500 from last year, singing, prayer and responses echoed throughout the building.

Speaker Denis Beausejour asked the audience to shout "freedom" several times during his speech, reiterating his point that the issue at stake is freedom from evils such as pornography, alcohol and drugs.

Three-time attendee Dion Duckett, of Franklin, said the conference helps him concentrate on the important people in his life.

"It helps me focus on my family - my (five) kids and my wife," Duckett said. "It just reinforces what you need to focus on."

Jim Huffman of Delhi Township was attending the conference for the fourth time. He likes that the conference brings men together in a protected environment.

"You don't get to see men being able to say things to other people," Huffman said.

Declan O'Sullivan, trustee of the Catholic Men's Fellowship, which organizes the conference, agrees that it's designed to help men understand "they can't conquer evil on their own."

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E-mail amichael@enquirer.com




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