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A Catholic Conference For Moms!

 

Catholic Speaker Gary Zimak will discuss anxiety at the 2016 Catholic Conference For Moms

Catholic Moms, Are you looking for something special to do this Lent?

Imagine thousands of moms gathering together online or in their parishes to pray, to learn, to support one another, and to be challenged to live the message of mercy with their spouses, children, families, friends, and neighbors.

On February 20, 2016, that dream will become a reality!

The CatholicConference4Moms began last year as a ministry to busy moms who often are at home with their children or just too busy to attend a regular conference. Over 4000 moms registered for the pilot conference and a combined 10,000 presentations were viewed during the first weekend of the conference. During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, many graces are available. The “Faces of Mercy” 2016 CatholicConference4Moms.com hopes to be that channel for many moms.

I am blessed to be included as one of the speakers for this fantastic online conference. My talk will be “Jesus, I Trust In You: Overcoming Anxiety with the Help of the Lord” and you can view a preview of it below:

To find out more information or to register for the 2016 CatholicConference4 Moms, click on the image below. This is a great opportunity for Catholic Moms to grow closer to Jesus. Please share the news with your friends. I look forward to seeing you on February 20!

Popular Catholic speaker Gary Zimak will be speaking about overcoming anxiety at Catholic Mothers Conference

A Great Example Of Combining Faith And Work

 

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak is available to speak at your parish or conference

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak addressing the Catholic Business Network of Greater Philadelphia

I recently had the privilege of presenting “Give Up Worrying For Lent” to the members of the Catholic Business Network of Greater Philadelphia. Under the leadership of president Barry Phillips and guided by board members such as Bobby Maurone and Chris Martin, this group does an admirable job of helping members to combine faith and work.

Having worked in the corporate world for 30 years prior to becoming a full time Catholic speaker and author, I know just how important it is to live the Catholic Faith in the workplace. It’s definitely a counter cultural message, but it’s one that is vital. I speak to many Catholic business organizations and I am always inspired when I see individuals who strive to bring their faith into the workplace. After all, we are called to be Catholics 24/7, not just on Sundays!

Thank you, Catholic Business Network of Greater Philadelphia for doing what you do. Keep up the great work!

(Gary Zimak is a Catholic speaker and author who travels throughout the United States and Canada giving inspirational talks and leading parish missions and retreats. Click HERE to invite Gary to speak at your parish or conference or to inquire about his availability.)

Doing God’s Will Doesn’t Have To Feel Good!


 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak discusses the fact that it doesn't always feel good to do God's will

“Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

In the course of my travels, I have met many people who genuinely desire to follow God’s will. Many of those same individuals, however, are concerned that they aren’t doing a good job with the task. Do you know why they are concerned? It’s primarily because they don’t “feel” like doing what God wants. Let’s be honest, my friends…enduring suffering, reaching out to those in need, stepping out of our comfort zone and forgiving people who have hurt is generally doesn’t “feel” good. What we need to remember, however, is that a desire to do God’s will has nothing to do with feelings. Rather, it is a conscious decision.

When Jesus asked His Father to let the suffering pass Him by, He was expressing natural human feelings. The Lord could have suppressed these feelings, but He chose not to. By doing so, He reminds us that it’s perfectly acceptable to dislike suffering and to ask God to remove it from our lives. In spite of that aversion to suffering, however, Jesus chose to consciously submit to His Father’s will. Instantly, a feeling of fear was transformed into an act of obedience and love.

Back in the days when our twins were babies, my wife and I didn’t exactly plead with one another for the chance to feed them when they woke up in the night. Even though we loved Mary and Elizabeth, neither one of us “felt” like waking up to comfort them. While it didn’t “feel” good, we did it because we loved them and it was God’s will that we tend to the needs of our children. Despite what we may hear or believe, love isn’t necessarily a feeling. While there are often emotional feelings associated with love, it is primarily a decision. We can choose to love someone, even if we don’t “feel” like it. Submitting to God’s will when we don’t “feel” like it is a great way of expressing our love for Him.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t always enjoy doing God’s will. Sometimes it’s not fun for me either and it certainly wasn’t always fun for Jesus. Doing God’s will isn’t about feelings…

It’s about LOVE!

Struggling To Live Your Faith In The Workplace? Here’s A Book That Will Help!


 

Catholic Speaker and author Gary Zimak reviews Faith At Work by Kevin Lowry.

As someone who worked in the corporate world for thirty years, I understand the challenges of integrating faith and work. Despite the difficulties, however, it’s something that must be done if we are to authentically live out our Catholic Faith. Recently, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Kevin Lowry. I emerged from our meeting a better man, as he is one of the kindest and most genuine individuals I’ve ever met. In addition to being the Chief Operating Officer of The Coming Home Network International and a popular Catholic speaker, Kevin is the author of Faith At Work: Finding Purpose Beyond The Paycheck (published by Our Sunday Visitor).

If you are looking for concrete suggestions to live your Catholic Faith in the work place, you need to read this book. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. Kevin has a great deal of experience as an executive manager and has developed effective methods of integrating faith and work. Each chapter ends with a series of action steps and reflection questions, making it perfect for today’s busy worker. You can find out more about Kevin Lowry (and order the book) by visiting his website.

Do it today. You WON’T be sorry!

How To Stop Worrying About Your Children


 

Catholic author Gary Zimak offers advice on how to stop worrying about our children

If you’re a parent, there’s a good chance that you spend a great deal of time worrying about your children. After all, isn’t that what parents are supposed to do? Although you might feel like it’s impossible to stop worrying, it really is quite possible. I know, I know…it’s very difficult. As a father of two teenage girls, I can relate. As someone who’s been a chronic worrier for most of his life, I can relate. As someone who makes a living speaking about overcoming anxiety, however, I can assure you that you can do it. With God, ALL things are possible!

Let’s look at some steps you can take to stop worrying about your children:

Take Action – This one is so simple that it often gets overlooked. If there is something that you can do to help or protect your children, do it! A trip to the doctor, a visit with the teacher or a discussion with bully’s parent can often be enough to correct the problem and eliminate a great deal of stress.

Let Go – Whether we like it or not, some things in life are beyond our control. This is a source of incredible frustration for those of us who tend to be anxious. Whether we’re talking about our children or other issues, we need to do what we can and then let God do the rest. Let’s face it, God loves our children even more than we do and He knows what’s best for them. Letting go and letting God do His job can bring us great peace!

Take One Day At A Time – In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus clearly instructs us to “not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34). Although it’s not an easy habit to break, we should take His words seriously and try to focus on today. While we may struggle at first, it gets easier. Trust me! If you find yourself worrying about what may happen in your child’s life tomorrow (or the day after that), say a quick prayer and try to focus on today’s issues. You can then deal with tomorrow’s issues tomorrow (if and when they become today’s issues).

Pray – As parents, we should be praying for our children every day. We often overlook the power of prayer, instead focusing on doing “more important” things. That is a big mistake. Jesus prayed often and, in fact, it was the last thing that He did before being taken into captivity. Prayer is always effective (Matthew 7:7-11), worrying is never effective!

Accept The Church’s Gifts – As Catholics, we are blessed to have the Sacraments, sacramentals, devotions and the Bible to help us gain grace and grow closer to the Lord. The closer we get to the Lord, the more peace we will feel. This peace can allow us to relax, even in the midst of the most serious problems.

Stop Trying So Hard – Sometimes we spend so much time trying to stop worrying that we become even more anxious. We worry about our children because we love them and want to protect them. As a result, it’s difficult not to worry about them…unless we have help. Instead of focusing all of your energy on “not worrying”, concentrate on Jesus. Prayer, reading the Bible and spending time with Him in the Sacraments or adoration can have an amazing effect. Before you know it, you’re worrying will decrease or disappear.

While it is easy for parents to fall into the worrying habit, it can be overcome. With a little work and lots of help from the Lord it is entirely possible. When it comes to your children, St. Padre Pio has some great advice:

“Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry!”

Jesus Wasn’t Kidding When He Said We’d Be Hated!


 

You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives. (Luke 21:17-19)

I can just about guarantee that as soon as you start mentioning Jesus, someone will get annoyed. Need some proof? Take a look at former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who makes no secret of his love for Jesus. He has been criticized for mentioning the Lord’s name, but remains true to his beliefs. While people will tolerate our religious beliefs to a point, speaking about Christ will eventually cause a negative response in many situations. I’m sure you’ve heard the recommendation that religion is one of two things (politics being the other) that shouldn’t be discussed in the workplace. Why? Because proclaiming the “Good News” of Jesus Christ causes division. When taken seriously, our Catholic Faith can be very challenging. Many individuals aren’t open to the Church’s moral guidelines, choosing to decide for themselves what they will believe. Even the simple act of verbalizing our own religious beliefs (with no hint of preaching) will cause a backlash, especially if it occurs in the workplace.

Although this negative reaction might not feel good, we can’t say we weren’t warned. On several occasions, Jesus mentioned that His followers (that’s us) would be hated. No surprise there…we all have our enemies and we know that some folks don’t like religion. What sometimes catches us off guard, however, is when the hatred comes from an unlikely source. In one of the most challenging passages in all of Scripture, the Lord warns that His teaching will cause division even within families!

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’ (Matthew 10:34-36)

This passage absolutely drives people crazy. Isn’t Jesus’ entire mission one of peace and love? What’s with this talk of “the sword” and division within families? Although the Lord is using hyperbole to grab the listeners’ attention, He does mean what He says. If we truly live our lives as followers of Christ, we are going to ruffle some feathers. There is no reason to believe that this will not happen within our families. For instance, your husband may want to practice contraception and you may desire to follow the teaching of the Church. Your children may not see anything wrong with illegally downloading music while you object, knowing that it’s a sin. You may be longing to get married and finally meet someone who is divorced and cannot get married in the Church. In each of these cases, we must make a decision. What choice do we make? The Lord makes it very clear in the following verse:

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37)

Being hated in the name of Jesus (especially by a family member) is not easy, but the reward is great. Our Lord promises that if we persevere, we will be saved. While we are always called to repay hatred with love, we cannot compromise our moral beliefs in order to please another person. Whether we encounter resistance from a known opponent or from a family member, we are expected to respond in the same manner. By persevering and obeying the Lord’s commands, we will achieve eternal life.

Help us to always remain faithful to You, Lord. Even when we encounter opposition from a loved one, may we always have the strength to persevere and never compromise our moral beliefs.

(Excerpted from Liguori Publication’s A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible, Copyright 2012 by Gary Zimak)

Are You A Lukewarm Catholic? You Better Read This!


 

“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rv 3:15-16)

For the majority of my life, I was a lukewarm Catholic. I went to Mass each Sunday, received Holy Communion and even went to Confession a few times each year. What’s interesting is that I thought I was being a good Catholic. My attitude at the time – “Hey, I go to Mass each week…what more do you want?”

My problem was that I…

1. Only prayed when I needed something.
2. Repeatedly committed many serious sins even though I knew they were wrong.
3. Didn’t care about serving others, just myself.
4. Did not read the Bible or any spiritual books.
5. Didn’t feel the need to learn about my Catholic Faith.
6. Never spoke about my Faith to anyone…(c’mon, Catholics don’t evangelize!)
7. Looked down on other Catholics who didn’t attend Mass.

But most of all, my most pathetic quality as a Catholic was that I just didn’t care about my Faith…AT ALL!

Fortunately, I am still alive and have not yet been judged by the Lord. Furthermore, I now do care about my Faith, but I need to be careful each day that I continue to care! When I look at Our Lord’s words about the lukewarm (in the Book of Revelation), I cringe because I know that some people will not take them seriously. If you’re a lukewarm Catholic, please listen to what Jesus is saying. You do not want to hear these words on your judgment day (which could come at any time). I encourage you instead to accept His offer, which appears a few verses later. It is something you’ll never regret!

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne.” (Rv 3:20-21)

How Should Catholics Vote?


 

Sorry if this disappoints you, but I’m not going to tell you who to vote for in the upcoming United States presidential election. What I will do, however, is give you some Catholic voting guidelines based solely on Church teaching. I will echo the words of Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput and remind Catholics that primarily we should primarily vote AS CATHOLICS, not necessarily as Democrats or Republicans. And we should not take that responsibility lightly, as one day we’ll have to defend our position when we stand before God on our judgment day.

How should we vote in the upcoming presidential election? Let’s look at some comments by the United States bishops, from their document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States) as well as my own observations. For the sake of brevity, I will focus on one issue, the right to life. There are other issues that are important, but this one should be at (or VERY near) the top of every Catholic’s voting issues list.

As Catholics, who should we vote for?

7. In this statement, we bishops do not intend to tell Catholics for whom or against whom to vote. Our purpose is to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with God’s truth.

This is good. While the Church will not tell us who to vote for, she should and will provide us with the guidelines needed to vote as Catholics. More than “just another opinion”, when the successors of the Apostles speak…we should listen!

How should conscience come into play when voting?

17. Catholics have a serious and lifelong obligation to form their consciences in accord with human reason and the teaching of the Church. Conscience is not something that allows us to justify doing whatever we want, nor is it a mere “feeling” about what we should or should not do.

In other words, we MUST look to the teachings of the Church when making moral decisions. Voting is a very serious moral obligation and should be done in accordance with the teachings of the Church. As Catholics, we have the responsibility to explore and understand the teaching of the Church before voting.

Are some things always wrong?

22. There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such actions are so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to the authentic good of persons. These are called “intrinsically evil” actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned. A prime example is the intentional taking of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia. In our nation, “abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others” (Living the Gospel of Life, no. 5). It is a mistake with grave moral consequences to treat the destruction of innocent human life merely as a matter of individual choice. A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.

Abortion and euthanasia are ALWAYS evil and must ALWAYS be opposed.

Are there any cases when abortion and euthanasia can be supported?

28. The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.

As a Catholic, can I morally vote for a candidate who supports a grave evil such as abortion?

34. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.

35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental
moral evil.

Technically yes, but only if the alternative is worse. If you are voting for someone who supports abortion, there has to be an EXTREMELY good reason. For example, his opponent must pose an even greater threat to life than murdering the unborn. In my opinion, that’s just about an impossibility.

How about if neither candidate is perfect when it comes to issues of life?

36. When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.

Although the bishops allow us to make the choice of not voting, they call it an “extraordinary step”. That means it should only be a last resort. If both candidates support an intrinsic evil such as abortion, our first choice should be to vote for the individual who will do less harm. In the case of abortion, which candidate will cause less children to be murdered?

How does abortion rank when it comes to other issues? What if I feel that the pro-abortion candidate will do a better job with the economy?

37. In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions.

Intrinsically evil acts (such as abortion) carry more moral weight that non-intrinsically evil acts (such as economic issues).

Can I decide to NOT vote for a candidate just because he supports an intrinsically evil act (such as abortion) even if I agree with his other positions?

42. As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.

Yes, you can. Even though Catholics should not be “single issue voters”, you are morally justified in refusing to vote for a candidate solely because he supports abortion. That is a powerful statement by the bishops.

What is the Democratic Party’s position on abortion? This is taken from their website:

Protecting A Woman’s Right to Choose: The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. We strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs.

What is the Republican Party’s position on abortion? This is taken from their website:

The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life: Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion and permitted States to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by enacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions – gender discrimination in its most lethal form – and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a ban on the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop lifesaving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

We also salute the many States that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose life, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.

The two parties differ drastically when it comes to abortion. Make absolutely certain that you read and understand their positions before you vote!

Although many of us have political party affiliations that go back many years, we should take seriously our duty to vote AS CATHOLICS. There is A LOT at stake in this presidential election and we must carefully examine Mr. Romney and President Obama’s positions on critical issues, such as abortion. In the United States, it is currently legal to murder the unborn. Does this matter to you? It should. Please don’t put yourself in the position of having to explain to God why you didn’t do anything to stop the slaughter. Even worse will be having to explain why you helped the slaughter to continue!

The Year Of Faith – 10 Things You Should Know


 

In his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith), Pope Benedict XVI explained his reasoning behind declaring the Year of Faith (Oct 11, 2012 – November 24, 2013). While I recommend that you read the full document, here are 10 highlights that every Catholic should know.

1. The Door of Faith Is Always Open – Although we may choose to resist, the Lord’s door is always open and He waits patiently for us to enter.

2. The Journey of Faith Lasts A Lifetime – We start on this journey at baptism and complete it at our death. Faith is not a destination, but a journey – one which lasts a lifetime!

3. Lukewarmness is Not an Option! – The Holy Father states that we “cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden”. We are called to live and share our Catholic Faith and can’t get complacent.

4. Belief In Jesus Is the Way to Salvation – Want to know the way to “arrive definitively at salvation”? Believe in Jesus Christ and follow the teachings of His Church.

5. Vatican II Meant Something – As Catholics, we should all become familiar with the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Reading them will teach us much about our Catholic Faith.

6. Read The Catechism – It’s been 20 years since the new Catechism of the Catholic Church was published. If you’re serious about living your Catholic Faith, it’s time to either get a copy, take your copy off of the bookshelf or read it online. It is a treasure and summarizes 2000 years of Church teaching!

7. Share Your Faith – According to Pope Benedict, “A Christian may never think of belief as a private act”. While that’s exactly the opposite of what the world tells us, who are you gonna believe – the pope or the world?

8. Look To The Past – By faith…Mary accepted the angel’s word and believed the message, the Apostles left everything to follow Jesus, the disciples formed the first community and the martyrs gave their lives. These men and women are our role models and show us what it means to truly believe. Imitate their lives!

9. Be Nice – Faith and charity go hand in hand. We can believe all we want, but it is meaningless without love.

10. Trust in Mary – When we begin to stumble, we should turn to the Mother of God, who was proclaimed “blessed because she believed” (Luke 1:45). She’ll help you to overcome your doubts and continue on your journey of faith.

This Year of Faith provides us with an excellent opportunity to learn, live and share our Catholic Faith. Let’s not pass up the chance. Jesus is holding the door open for us. Let’s be sure to enter in!

Mark Houck – Rallying Men For The Kingdom


 

As a full time Catholic Evangelist, I have the privilege of meeting and working with many people who share the “Good News” of Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church. Although they preach a common message, their styles often differ dramatically. I find that to be a good thing because different approaches are often needed. On a personal level, some of these folks inspire me more than others. As a result, I have a set of “go to” people who I turn to when I need to get “fired up” about my faith.

A few years ago, while still working as a computer programmer, I was driving home from the office and tuned into Holy Spirit Radio (a Catholic station based in the Philadelphia area). Fully expecting to listen to an EWTN program, I was surprised to hear a local show – The King’s Men. As I started to listen, I was drawn in by the sincerity and passion of the host, Mark Houck. As a man, it meant a lot to hear another male openly proclaim His love for Christ and the Catholic Church.

In the months that followed, I investigated Mark’s apostolate and continued to be inspired. I was especially excited when I discovered that Mark was scheduled to appear on EWTN’s Life On The Rock. I watched with admiration as Mark spoke about the need for men to embrace their faith and be witnesses to the world. He spoke about the King’s Men and their mission to combat the evil of pornography and abortion. He also explained the concept of authentic male spirituality, which was something that I needed to hear. After I finished watching the show, I told my wife that more men need to speak like this…I was energized!

As I got more involved in Catholic evangelization, I eventually was able to meet Mark. Since we both live in the Philadelphia area, I was invited to speak at a King’s Men meeting and I had the opportunity to witness the great work that these men were doing. I saw how Mark Houck and Damian Wargo (the co-founder of the King’s Men) encouraged and supported men who were struggling to live Christ-like lives. I listened as men shared their stories of struggling with pornography and the evils of the world, only to be comforted and strengthened by Mark and Damian. I left the meeting feeling inspired and confident.

When I made the decision to venture into the scary world of full time Catholic evangelization, Mark was one of the first people to volunteer his assistance. “Let me know whatever I can do for you, brother” (BTW, it’s not a coincidence that Mark calls every man he meets “brother”. He REALLY believes that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ!). After that initial offer, he continued to reach out to me and my apostolate. He had me as a guest on his radio show and even allowed me to guest host the program while he was on vacation. Unlike some people in the public eye who disappoint you once you get to know them, the private Mark Houck is every bit as passionate and caring as the public persona. He is “the real deal”!

If you ever have the opportunity to listen to Mark Houck speak…do it! If you are looking for a speaker to fire up the men in your parish or conference, Mark is your man. He will encourage you, he will inspire you and, most of all, he will help you to do what all Christians are called to do…become imitators of Jesus Christ!

(This post was written as part of Support a Catholic Speaker Month 2012)