SAMMAMISH – Joey Blair owns a gym and daycare, is active at his parish in Monroe and helps his wife, Candice, raise their three children. Focusing on family and work, Blair grew away from many friends he had known since childhood.
“I didn’t have a lot of people to look up to,” said Blair, who joined the church four years ago and is a member of St. Mary of the Valley Parish in Monroe.
Then he attended the annual Seattle Catholic Men’s Conference in 2015. “I could really feel the presence of God there,” Blair said.
Joining hundreds of Catholic men for a day of prayer, inspiration and brotherhood made Blair realize that others were dealing with similar issues and experiences. “It made me feel like I’m not alone,” he said.
Catholic men throughout the archdiocese are invited to the fourth annual conference, “Iron Sharpens Iron: Manhood in the Year of Mercy,” being held April 23 at Mary, Queen of Peace Church in Sammamish (see box for more information).
The conference is “an opportunity for Catholic men to come together to deepen their faith and pray,” said Rich Shively, a member of the organizing committee and pastoral assistant for administration at Mary, Queen of Peace.
Eucharistic adoration is part of the Seattle Catholic Men’s Conference, a day of prayer, inspiration and brotherhood. This year’s event is April 23. Photo: Bill McJanet
The day begins with Mass at 8 a.m. Scheduled presenters include Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo and Father Kevin Duggan, pastor of Mary, Queen of Peace. They will be joined by Tom Curran, author and local Catholic radio personality, and Al Kresta, the president and CEO of Ave Maria Radio who hosts “Kresta in the Afternoon.”
In addition, 14 priests will hear confessions, healing prayer teams will be on hand, and attendees will spend 30 minutes in eucharistic adoration. Representatives from more than 40 ministries from throughout the archdiocese will provide information about their programs.
“The whole day is about creating an environment for men to experience the sacraments and share their faith with other men,” said Sheldon Sweeney, another of the conference organizers.
The conference invigorates the host parish, Sweeney said, adding that he prays men will carry the energy back to their own parishes.
For Blair, the 2015 Seattle Catholic Men’s Conference was a moving spiritual experience. “It got me into doing something more with my church,” he said, including recently serving as a chaperone for a parish youth group retreat.
Seattle Catholic Men’s Conference
“Iron Sharpens Iron: Manhood in the Year of Mercy”
When: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, April 23
Where: Mary, Queen of Peace Church, 1121 228th Ave. S.E., Sammamish
Cost: $50 per person. Register at the door or online.
Find more conference information on Facebook or call co-founder Allan Murray at 425-330-2380.