Diocesan men's conference to be day of spirituality, fellowship


PROVIDENCE — The diocesan Office of Faith Formation, in coordination with the Men of Saint Joseph International and the Rhode Island Knights of Columbus, will host a diocesan men’s conference at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul on Saturday, April 29.

Though the first of its kind hosted at the cathedral, the diocesan conference will follow in the tradition of a Men of St. Joseph conference previously hosted alongside the diocesan Faith Formation Convocation at Bryant University. In moving the event to a separate date and increasing involvement by other men’s organizations, Edward Trendowski, director of the Office of Faith Formation, said organizers hoped to open the event to a larger number of participants.

“With the expansion, we wanted to let all men know in the Diocese of Providence that they’re welcome,” he said.

The conference will begin with Holy Mass celebrated by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin and include presentations, live music, prayer ministry and lunch catered by Venda Ravioli. Featured speakers will include Ken Yasinki, the founder of Face to Face Ministries and a Lighthouse Catholic Media speaker, and Father Matthew Williams, director of faith formation for the Archdiocese of Boston. Yasinki’s talk, titled “What is the purpose of my life?” will offer a discussion of divine purpose and personal commitment to Christ, while Father Williams will speak about our relationship with the Blessed Mother.

“We’re excited about that. They’re both high-energy speakers,” said Trendowski.

While the conference is open to men of all ages and backgrounds, he encouraged young adult men in particular to consider participating and older men to consider inviting their young adult sons to participate in this day of retreat and fellowship.

“Young men discerning vocations, men with young families, specifically to invite them to come together with other men in this day devoted to prayer and growing in our relationship with the Lord. If a father’s going or a dad’s going, he can encourage his son to come along with him. Even if they’re not really sure about the Catholic faith, this could be an opportunity,” he said. “I think as men we need that. Women need it, too, but I think men don’t always seek it out.”

Trendowski added that the Knights of Columbus have offered to sponsor all priests, deacons and seminarians to attend the conference, a benefit that can be arranged through the Office of Faith Formation. Participants can register by calling the office at 401-278-4646 or visiting www.discovercatholicfaith.org before April 22.

“I like to think of it as a day with high energy and the focus being on our relationship with Jesus Christ,” he said. “We were intentional about putting it during the Easter season. I think it’s important to focus on the joy of Easter, on Christ risen.”

The Office of Faith Formation will also host the first annual diocesan women’s conference at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul on October 7, 2017. More details regarding the women’s conference will be announced closer to the event.