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The Annual Catholic Men's Conference 

A Great Gathering of Men

This year's theme: What does it take to be a Catholic Man?

Saturday, February 24, 2018


Past Conference Speakers

March 25th, 2017

Tim Staples

Tim is Director of Apologetics and Evangelization at Catholic Answers. Raised as a Southern Baptist, he experienced faith in Christ in his teens through Christian televangelists. Immediately after his four years in the Marines, he enrolled in Bible College and began a two year search for the truth. He converted to Catholicism in 1986, and spent the next six years studying for the Catholic Priesthood, receiving a degree in Philosophy from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in the Philadelphia area. He then began theology studies at Mt. St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland. Tim left the seminary in 1994 and has been working at Catholic Apologetics and Evangelization ever since; publishing articles, blogging, producing radio shows and videos, as well as speaking at events around the US.

Fr. Michael Denk

Personable, engaging and energetic, Fr. Michael has a passion for making the Gospel message, and the story of the Church, intelligible, encouraging, inviting and hopeful for all. His pastoral ministry builds bridges with younger generations through creative social media. He has a Bachelor's degree in Communications, with a specialization in video and audio production from Cleveland State University. He designed the mobile "EXAMEN" App, which assists people in connecting with God throughout their day, and the Holy Family Prayer medal. His inspiring messages are available on Facebook, his blog, and his contributions to the Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., an online source of inspirational talks and weekly homilies.

Elvis Grbac

Cleveland native and Super Bowl ring winner, Elvis was a star quarterback at St. Joseph's H.S. in Cleveland, the University of Michigan and professionally for nine years as a starter in San Francisco, Kansas City and Baltimore. He has a wonderful story relating his transition from being fully consumed by his football career to welcoming Jesus Christ full-time into his life. Elvis is a very active and visible member of Holy Angels Parish in Chagrin Falls, where he is a daily Mass attendee, PSR teacher, and the leader of the Christ Renews His Parish program which conducts annually both a men's and woman's retreat. He is pursuing a Master's Degree in Theology in preparation for possible candidacy to study for the deaconate. Elvis has been married to his high school sweetheart, Lori, for 23 years.

April 9th, 2016

Fr. Larry Richards is a gifted and captivating speaker, preacher, retreat master and author. he holds the answer to some of life's most profound questions. He speaks from experience as a pastor of an inner city parish, a high school chaplain, a counselor and evangelist. Fr. Larry Richards has directed hundreds of retreats, parish missions, and conferences for young and old alike. His inspirational talks, presentations, and books always authentic and enthusiastic, have changed the hearts, minds and lives of millions of listeners and readers worldwide.

Fr. Larry Richards is the founder and president of The Reason for our Hope Foundation, a non- profit organization dedicated to 'spreading the Good News' by educating others about Jesus Christ. For more information on the foundation and Father Larry, go to: www.TheReasonForOurHope.org

Ralph Martin holds an MA in Theology from Sacred Heart School of Theology in the Archdiocese of Detroit, a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, and a Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (the "Angelicum") in Rome. Ralph is president of Renewal Ministries and the host of The Choices We Face, a weekly Catholic television and radio program distributed throughout the world.

Ralph is director of Graduate Theology Programs in the New Evangelization, and an associate professor, at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He also serves as a visiting professor of theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Pope Benedict XVI named him consultor to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.

Ralph is the author of a number of books, the most recent of which are The Urgency of the New Evangelization: Answering the Call; The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints, and Will Many Be Saved? What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization. He and his wife Anne have six children and fourteen grandchildren and reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For more information about Ralph, please check out his website at http://www.renewalministries.net

March 21st, 2015

Joe McClane is the director and events coordinator for Fullness of Truth Catholic Evangelization Ministries and General Manager of KSHJ 1430 AM in Houston, TX. He also produces a podcast "The Catholic Hack" with a world-wide audience aimed at evan-gelizing the world. Joe grew up in the Church of Christ but fell away, becoming agnostic in his teens. He joined the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil of 1999, married Michelle, in September of 2000, and now has five children. Joe attributes his full con-version to a Spring day in 2002, when he got on his knees and "let go and let God." Joe's journey went into hyper drive at that point and he’s been in love with the Catholic faith ever since. He and Michelle are devout, practicing Catholics who are excited to share the treasure they “found in a field” with the whole world. www.catholichack.com

Father Norm Douglas, ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Cleveland in 1974, is currently a part-time campus minister at the Newman Center at the University of Akron. In 1990, he and Larry Vuillemin co-founded Heart to Heart Communications, Inc. In 1999, Fr. Norm was named Executive Director of Heart to Heart Communications, Inc., a spiritually centered, inter-faith organization that brings individ-uals and organizations together to reflect, discuss, and promote ways to strengthen the connection between people's inner-spirit, ethical values and daily work. He is called upon frequently as a keynote speaker at work-related and civic gatherings. Fr. Norm co-authored with Larry Vuillemin, "How in the World Do We Make a Difference? - Getting to the Heart and Soul of Love and Work." www.h2hc.info/about/our-co-founders

Lawrence W. Vuillemin, J.D., attended Notre Dame University on a football scholarship, graduating in 1970. At the University of Akron School of Law, he graduated in 1973 as Valedictorian. A former Senior Trial Attorney with the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office and Akron City Council-man, Larry is currently a partner in a law firm. He is married to Carol and they have four grandchildren. As a co-founder of Heart to Heart Communications, Inc., he serves as a community catalyst for personal and spiritual development as a foundation for enriching workplaces. He received the Sir Thomas More Award, jointly presented by the Akron Bar Association and the Diocese of Cleveland for personal integrity, professional excellence and community service.

March 22nd, 2014

Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers is a powerful and passionate Catholic evangelist and speaker whose no-nonsense, hand-on approach to living the Catholic faith will challenge and inspire you!

He is the President and CEO of Sevant Enterprises, Inc. a Christian evangelization and apologetics organization dedicated to the dissemination and promotion of Catholic values, principles, and teaching in complete faithfulness and total submission to Holy Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium. The goal of his apostolate is to bring as many people as possible to a deeper love of Christ and the Gospel by sharing the truth of the Catholic faith in love.

As one of the most southt-after speakers in the Church today, Deacon Harold is active in giving lectures, retreats and seminars in parishes, workshops and at numerous conferences across the nation and around the world. He has appeared in Envoy and The Domestic Church magazines, and on many national and international radio programs, including Catholic Answers Live, Catholic Connection, Kresta in the Afternoon, the Drew Mariani Show, Searching the Word and Catholic Bookmarks. He is a regular contributor to the Relevant Radio Network and has been featured on the Eternal Word Television Network’s Life on the Rock, EWTN Live, EWTN Bookmark, and hosts the EWTN series, “Behold Man: Spirituality for Men”, “Made in His Image: Family Life Today” and “Christ the Servant: The Vocation of Deacons.” Deacon Burke-Sivers holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame, and a Master’s degree in Theological Studies from the University of Dallas. Deacon Harold is a Benedictine Oblate of Mt. Angel Abbey, an associate member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, a member of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, and a consultation team member for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops National Directory for Catechesis.

Deacon Harold is featured on The Greatest Commandments: A 40-Week Spiritual Jouney for Married Couples, a vibrant marriage enrichment program rooted in Biblical values designed to help husbands and wives know God better, trust Him fully, and love Him completely throughout the journey of married life.

He is also the president of Sevant Enterprises, a non-profit organization that hosts an international institute for Catholic male spirituality, coordinates dynamic speaking tours and life-changing retreats, and develops products and services that support family life. Most importantly, Deacon Harold is married to his wife Collen and they have four beautiful children.

Francisco (Paco) Gavrilides is currently serving as Homiletics Instructor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI. He received his STB at the Archdiocesan Seminary in Monterrey, Mexico. He is completing his Licentiate Degree in the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart.

Paco has been active in the apostolic and evangelistic ministry for many years. As a convert to the Catholic Church since 1968, Paco has dedicated his life to serving Christ in the Church with a passion to share the Gospel. He is a teacher, speaker and evangelist.

For more than twenty years he was involved in lay missionary work, helping to form small ecclesial communities throughout Latin America, Spain and the United States. For ten years he was Coordinator and Emcee for the Archdiocesan wide Catholic Men's Conferences. He has been active in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and evangelistic outreach to university students.

His ministry to men; preaching, teaching and counseling, has had him serving them at the local, national and international levels. He has served in the Office for Evangelization before his appointment to the Seminary.

As a frequent conference speaker, with bilingual skills in English and Spanish, he gives retreats and missions on faith and conversion, spiritual growth and prayer, and spiritual leadership. With his wife, Inez, he gives retreats and workshops for married couples. Paco and Inez have three children and reside in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

February 23rd, 2013

Father Rick Wendell has had a variety of experiences in his life — including a near death experience that may have been the root of his vocation. There’s no "moderate" in Father Wendell’s approach to life. Whether on the hockey rink, ski slopes, hunting fields training his Labrador- retriever dogs, the seat of a motorcycle or behind a wheel of a car, Wendell pushes himself to the limit.

His full-steam ahead approach nearly sidelined him permanently the summer before college, when he crashed his motorcycle, putting him in a Minnesota emergency room, followed by an immediate trip to the operating room where he underwent eight hours of surgery. His helmet saved his life, believes Wendell, whose left wrist contains a ragged scar — a reminder of his brush with death. "People started saying to me, ‘God’s saving you for something special,’" said Wendell in an interview with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Catholic Herald.

He was ordained in May, 2006, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is now associate pastor at Holy Angles Parish in West Bend, Wisconsin. His amazing story of life, death and the graces he was given in Medjugorje will truly touch you.

Sean Forrest began his ministry as a full-time youth minister at St. James Parish in Stratford, Conn. In January of 2000, Sean founded Movin' With The Spirit, Inc. (MWTS), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to renewing the Church and society as a whole by proclaiming God's eternal Truth and love for all. Since then, he has had the opportunity to speak to hundreds of thousands of teens and adults across the country and internationally.

Sean has been a guest on multiple programs on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and has been featured in nationally recognized magazines and newspapers. In 2000, he won two honors at the UCMVA UNITY Awards, and in 2004 he was the recipient of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry’s "For God and Youth" award. Sean has performed and spoken at venues such as: The National Catholic Youth Conference, World Youth Day, many Steubenville youth conferences, and the CreationFest and SoulFest Christian music festivals. He also has been challenging men at diocesan men’s conferences throughout the country to live their faith and lead others to Christ. This spring, Sean graduates from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn., where he already serves as an instructor and retreat leader.

Building on his organization’s work in the U.S., Sean has also mobilized a team to help the poor of Haiti. Last year, Movin’ With The Spirit Mission Haiti completed construction on a new orphanage, and has been housing, feeding, and caring for children and villagers in desperate need of support. MWTS is now in the process of building a state-of-the-art school and medical clinic in Haiti. Sean Lives in Connecticut with his wife and three children.

February 25th, 2012

Father Timothy Kalista was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland on May 17, 2003. From his first assignment at St. Charles Borromeo in Parma, he has continually exhibited an enthusiasm and energy about sharing the Good News, and he encourages others to join him in the pursuit of holiness. Father’s current assignment is as the Parochial Vicar at St. Mary in Chardon, Ohio. While Chardon has the dubious distinction of being the “Snow Capital of Ohio”, it is really a little slice of Heaven! Father seeks Heaven no matter where he is or where he visits and his challenge to us is to not only seek Heaven for ourselves, but to help lead others there also!

Father shepherds the Life Teen program at St. Mary and actively pursues the spiritual development of others through a variety of activities including: a monthly men’s prayer and discussion group, the TMC (Ten Minute Catechism) offered one weekend each month after the Masses, and spiritual retreats, to name a few. Father’s devotion to our Blessed Mother is second only to his love of and devotion to our merciful and ever-loving God!

Mr. Richard L. Lane was born in Detroit, Michigan to Mary O. Alexander, retired Educator for the Highland Park School system and the late Dick “Night Train” Lane; National Football League Hall of Fame Cornerback, Mr. Lane, Jr. attended Morehouse College in Atlanta Georgia and also served honorably for nearly six years in the United States Army Military Police Corps in numerous domestic and international locations.

As a convert to the Faith in April 19, 2003, it was in early 2005 when Mr. Lane was lead to begin proclaiming the Gospel as a Street Corner Evangelist, sharing the Word of God, passing out Bibles, Crosses and other Religious items. Since that time Mr. Lane has been featured on “Catholic Answers Live”, Ave Maria Radio, Relevant Radio, Our Sunday Visitor, the National Catholic Reporter, Sports Review Magazine, as well as Eternal Word Television Network’s (EWTN) the “Journey Home” with Marcus Grodi and is the Co-Founder of Catholic Men for Christ Men’s Conference in St. Louis, Missouri which continues to draw thousands of men each year to hear the Powerful Message of the Gospel.

Mr. Lane’s dynamic and charismatic style of ministry is based upon three principles; Faith – Hope – Love; integrating these with the Sacraments instituted by Christ. Evangelist Lane focuses on Reconciliation in effort to bring about healing to so many who are lost and fallen away from His Church. More on his ministry can be found at: www.qorban.net

Richard is the proud husband of Donna L. Lane and a beautiful daughter, K. Alexandria Lane.

Gerry Faust is a long time supporter of Catholic Men’s Fellowship and a member of the Catholic Men’s Fellowship group at St. Hilary’s in Akron. During his 18 years as a high school head football coach, he led Cincinnati Moeller to a record of 174-17-2 (.902 winning percentage). Faust’s team won 12 Greater Catholic League championships, 10 city championships, 8 regional championships, 5 state championships, and 4 mythical national championships.







April 2nd, 2011

Deacon Ralph Poyo was born to his Colombian mother, Connie, and his Cuban father, Jose, in Cali, Colombia. They came to the United States in 1965 and spent a few years in Atlanta, Georgia before settling in Miami, Florida. It was in high school in Miami that he met his future wife, Susan, and after five tears of dating, they married in 1984. They now have five beautiful daughters. After graduating from Taylor University with a B.A. in Scripture, Ralph first set out to work in the Lord’s vineyard by serving in Miami Youth for Christ as a trained evangelist. After serving the youth in Miami he spent eight years within the St. Louis community, he moved his young family to Raleigh, North Carolina where he took on the youth ministry position at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Seven years later, he became the Director of Faith Formation at St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in North Raleigh, the position he held until his recent move to Steubenville, Ohio. Also during this time, Ralph was ordained to the permanent deaconate for the Diocese of Raleigh in November of 2005.

Doug Barry is the founder and director of the Catholic apostolate RADIX, as well as a husband and father. Since 1992 he has traveled throughout the United States along with journeying to several other countries, spreading and defending the Catholic faith. With a dynamic and explosive style Doug has spoken to thousands, young, old alike, through television, radio, and live appearances. He is best known for his powerful one-man performance of the Passion of Christ, seen regularly on EWTN and other Christian channels throughout the world. Pulling no punches in his presentations, Doug goes after the issues that we are all confronted with. There is a fight for souls at hand. We must be Christian soldiers of prayer and of action. Raised as a Catholic from birth, like many, Doug never really embraced his faith in his youth. It wasn’t until a powerful experience involving the Blessed Mother and Doug was finally awakened to reality.

March 20th, 2010

Father Larry Richard is gifted and captivating speaker, preacher and retreat master, Fr. Larry Richards holds the answer to some of life's most profound questions. He speaks from experience as a pastor of an inner city parish, a high school chaplain, a counselor and evangelist. Fr. Larry Richards has directed hundreds of retreats, parish missions, and conferences for young and old alike. His inspirational talks and presentations, always authentic and enthusiastic, have changed the hearts, minds and lives of millions of listeners worldwide.

Father Larry Richards was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After high school, he attended the college seminary at Gannon University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling in 1983. Father Larry Richards continued his studies at the major seminary at St. Vincent in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and received his Masters of Divinity degree in 1987. He will soon conclude his studies at the University of Notre Dame and be awarded a Master of Arts degree in Liturgy. Ordained to the priesthood in 1989 for the Diocese of Erie, Fr. Larry Richards serves as pastor of St. Joseph Church/Bread of Life Community in Erie. He is also the Spiritual Director of the TEC (To Encounter Christ) Retreat Program for the Diocese of Erie.

Fr. Larry Richards is the founder and president of The Reason for our Hope Foundation, a non- profit organization dedicated to 'spreading the Good News' by educating others about Jesus Christ. For more information on the foundation, go to: www.TheReasonForOurHope.org.

Fr. Larry Richards hosts a nightly radio show called “Changed Forever with Father Larry Richards.” It can be heard nationwide on Relevant Radio daily at 8 pm ET/ 7pm CT, Sunday at 7 am ET/ 6 am CT. For more information, or to listen on-line, go to: www.relevantradio.com

Ralph Martin has been a leader in renewal movements in the Catholic Church for many years. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, he did graduate work in philosophy at Princeton University and holds an MA in Theology, from Sacred Heart School of Theology in the Archdiocese of  Detroit. He was the founding editor of New Covenant  Magazine, as well as the founding director of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office, currently located in Rome. Ralph is the Director of Graduate Theology Programs in Evangelization and an assistant professor of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Ralph is also president of Renewal Ministries (www.renewalministries.net), an organization devoted to Catholic renewal and evangelization. Renewal Ministries is the sponsor of “The Choices We Face” a widely viewed weekly Catholic television and radio program distributed throughout the world. Renewal Ministries is also actively involved in assisting the Church in Eastern Europe, Africa, and various other places through leadership training, evangelistic conferences and retreats, and the publication and distribution of literature.

He is the author of a number of books the most recent of which is The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints. He  has also developed a number of CD audio albums making accessible the teaching of Doctors of the Church in the area of growth in union with God. He and his wife Anne are parents of six children and reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

February 28th, 2009

Danny Abramowicz is a former NFL all-pro wide receiver and coach, author of the book “Spiritual Workout of a Former Saint”, and creator and co-host of the new EWTN show “Crossing the Goal” Danny Abramowicz returns to our conference. From a life of ego and booze to a Godly man, Danny is in demand as a speaker for men’s organizations all around the country. He pulls no punches! You’re going to hear from the real deal!







Fr. Philip Chavez is from the Armator Institute of York, PA. Fr. Chavez is a priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. Ordained in 1993, he has been involved in pro-life work as well as the concerns of marriage and family. Now, embarking in men’s outreach, he presents a forum to restore the hearts of men and strengthen their spirit to build stronger families and a more vital society.





February 9th, 2008

Father John M. Capuci was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Boston in 1990. During his time in that Archdiocese, Fr. Capuci has been involved with youth ministry, marriage preparation, parish ministry, and Catholic high school chaplain. He was assigned to the Diocese of New Orleans as the director of The Center of Jesus the Lord, New Orleans, Louisiana, a Spiritual Retreat Center, and focus of ministry to the poor of New Orleans. Fr. John is a dynamic, popular conference speaker, retreat director throughout the United States. He has authored a book entitled "Opening the Gates of Praise”. Fr. John captures his audiences with his own love of God and his powerful teachings on the transforming truth of Jesus' love.


Father Sal Ruggeri is the administrator of St. Felicitas parish in Euclid. He was born on July 30, 1966 to Salvatore and Annette Ruggeri. He grew up in Mayfield Heights and attended Mayfield High School before studying at Indiana University in Bloomington where he earned a B.S. in Accounting. After college he worked for almost 6 years as a CPA in public accounting and as an accounting manager before entering the seminary in 1993. Fr. Sal was ordained on May 29, 1999 and spent his first 5 years as a priest at St. Hilary in Fairlawn. Beginning in June of 2004, he spent three+ years at St. Basil in Brecksville. In November 2007 he accepted the position at St. Felicitas. He has 2 sisters and 6 nieces and nephews, and let’s not forget his dog Murphy. Hobbies include reading, traveling, perfecting his Italian, and a true passion for cooking. Father Sal will share some of his life story with us of rejecting the faith of his parents as he graduated from high school and embracing atheism. It is a story of how several people and events opened his mind and heart to listen to God, a God who called him to the priesthood. He responded but not wholeheartedly and struggled with the call often walking away, but others who knew him kept challenging him to continue the journey. It is a story of God's revelation to listen to His call.

Rich Cleveland lives in Colorado Springs. He is Director of Emmans Journey, a Catholic evangelization and discipleship ministry which helps Catholics become enthusiastic about their life in Christ. Rich is the author of six best selling bible study books and popular books on men's ministry.