Growing interest means two locations needed for Catholic men’s conference this year

  • Written by Brian LeBlanc
  • Published in Local
Photo: Courtesy Iron Sharpens Iron Catholic Men's Conference Photo: Courtesy Iron Sharpens Iron Catholic Men's Conference

A local movement to engage Catholic men more deeply with their faith is gaining momentum.

Because there’s so much interest in the annual Iron Sharpens Iron Catholic Men’s Conference, this year’s March 30 conference will be held at two parishes, said Allan Murray of Northwest Catholic Brothers in Christ, the group that organizes the event.

“It’s too much for one parish,” Murray said.

Last year, some 500 men attended the English-language track of the conference and 175 men attended the Spanish-language track, both held at St. Stephen the Martyr Parish in Renton, Murray said.

This year, English speakers will gather at St. Stephen, while Spanish-speaking men will gather at St. Pius X Parish in Mountlake Terrace. (The conference is open to adults and youth 16 and older. See box for registration information.)

“Both groups are still in communion — it’s about the facilities,” Murray said.

The annual conference, he said, is “all about the sanctity of the men attending — getting them closer to Christ.”

2019 Iron Sharpens Iron
Photo: Courtesy Iron Sharpens Iron Catholic Men’s Conference

The theme of the English-speaking conference is “Fight with Joy!” It begins with Mass at 8 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m. Featured speakers include Archbishop J. Peter Sartain; Father Ed White, pastor of St. Stephen the Martyr; Deacon Carl Chilo, the archdiocese’s director of multicultural communities; and Doug Barry, host of the EWTN television show “Battle Ready.”

The Spanish-speaking conference’s theme is “Hombres Santos y Valientes” (“Holy and Brave Men”). It runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and includes Mass, confessions and a holy hour. The featured speakers include Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo; Father Cal Christiansen, pastor of St. Pius X; Dominican Father Nelson Medina of Colombia; Missionaries of the Holy Spirit Father José de Jesús Sánchez, parochial vicar of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Bothell; and Deacon Abel Magaña of Holy Family Parish in West Seattle.

Murray, a member of St. Mary of the Valley Parish in Monroe, has been involved with the men’s conference since the first one was held there in 2013. The event began when members of a men’s study group discovered there was no men’s conference being held in the Archdiocese of Seattle. They organized the inaugural event and Archbishop Sartain agreed to be a speaker, Murray said.

After this year’s conference, participants who are inspired to start men’s groups in their parishes can join the parish captain network of Northwest Catholic Brothers in Christ for support. NWCBIC is the local affiliate of the Catholic Men’s Leadership Alliance, which is trying to inspire and connect men’s groups at the national level.

Attend the conference

Tickets are still available for both versions of the Seattle Catholic Men’s Conference.

The cost is $45 for the English-language version (register here), being held at St. Stephen the Martyr Church, 13055 S.E. 192nd St., Renton.

The cost is $35 for the Spanish-language version (register here), being held at St. Pius X Church, 22209 58th Ave. W., Mountlake Terrace.

Lunch is included in the registration fee.

Watch a video of last year’s conference.

Watch Bishop Eusebio Elizondo’s message about the upcoming conference.