Great Lakes Conference Guides Next Generation of Catholic Men
By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
November 24, 2022
DEKALB—Men from all over the diocese gathered for some good news at the 27th annual Great Lakes Men’s Conference on Nov. 19 at the Holmes Student Center on the campus of Northern Illinois University. 
“Since the event wasn’t held in 2020 due to COVID-19, we weren’t sure how the attendance would be,” said Andy Wujek of Holy Cross Parish in Mendota, one of the conference organizers. “We were thankful for the 518 guys who attended in 2021 but are very encouraged to see that number up to 681 for the conference this year.”
Paul Vogrinc, who attends St. Bridget Parish in Loves Park, views the conference as a way to help the next generation of Catholic men live Christ-centered lives. “I brought my sons, John Paul and Leo, and their friend Peter Dausman with me today because, in our busy lives, I wanted the boys to see the witness of other men walking with Christ, pursuing Christ, and following Christ. 
“I have previously heard some of the conference speakers and wanted the boys to hear their incredible messages first-hand. I wanted them to hear something positive and see the fullness of our faith in the midst of all the negative things they hear in the world today,” Vogrinc says.
The Great Lakes Men’s Conference featured speakers Chris Stefanick who gave two talks on living with joy and sharing the faith, Father Donald Calloway, MIC who spoke about consecration to St. Joseph, and John Morales who gave a talk on the sanctity of life. 
Fourteen-year-old Peter Dausman who attends St. Bridget Parish in Loves Park was inspired by Stefanick’s talk on living joyfully and Father Calloway’s remarks on following the example of St. Joseph. 
These two dynamic speakers also made an impression on John Paul Vogrinc. “I liked Father Calloway’s talk because it really defined what it means to be a true man of God. Men are meant to work hard and have calloused hands, but above all, we are meant to pray and follow the examples of Jesus and St. Joseph.”
Jim Gabel, who attends St. Patrick Parish in St. Charles, found the conference speakers inspiring and informative. “There were a lot of things 
I didn’t understand about St. Joseph, and Father Donald’s talk really helped me to learn more about this amazing saint’s life,” he said. “Following St. Joseph more closely can help every Catholic man be a better leader and father.”
A.J. Hauser and his brother Vaughn traveled from Ottawa to attend the conference with their father, Scott, a member of St. John the Baptist Parish in Somonauk. “I love the energy of the men’s conference. To see the speakers, talk with such conviction renews my Catholic faith and gives men the encouragement they need to live faithful, prayerful lives in a complicated world,” he said.
The Great Lakes Men’s Conference is the longest-running conference of its kind. It also featured adoration, reconciliation and concluded with a Mass celebrated by Bishop David Malloy.
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