by Joe Bollig
OVERLAND PARK — If you enjoyed seeing the Kansas City Chiefs win Superbowl LIV in Miami, you’ll probably enjoy this year’s super kickoff for Lent at the 24th annual Men Under Construction conference on Feb. 29.
Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt, the longest-tenured player on the team, will talk about how he and his family entered the Catholic Church at the conference, which this year will be held at Church of the Ascension, 9510 W. 127th St., Overland Park.
Colquitt, who wears No. 2, was a third-round draft pick for the Chiefs in 2005. Last year, he set a franchise record for most games played. He and his wife Christina, and their five children, entered the Catholic Church in 2019.
His sponsor was fellow Chiefs teammate and place kicker Harrison Butker, who wears No. 7. The Colquitts belong to St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood.
“I think God put me in this position as a punter and in professional football because . . . he wants something out of me to be able to share with other people,” he told conference organizers. “As a Christian, I think God has given me a platform to say, ‘Hey, I’ve allowed you to do a lot of things and I need you to speak my name. He always finds a way to put his people in situations where they can spread his word.”
Also speaking at the conference is longtime conference chairman Dan Spencer, a member of the Church of the Ascension. He’s an author, speaker and writer. He’s been a guest on Vatican Radio, as well as EWTN Radio and Television.
Spencer is co-founder of the Kansas City Catholic Business Network and the regional director of the Catholic Men’s Leadership Alliance. He’ll talk about the importance of a man’s spiritual legacy in his family.
Father Andrew Mattingly, pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Kansas City, Missouri, is also on the program. He is director of the young adult ministry City on a Hill. Father Mattingly will talk about that ministry and how young Catholics can keep their faith lively through this and other ministries.
Tony Brandt and Chris Stewart, co-founders of Casting Nets Ministries, are Wichita-based youth ministry leaders. They will address how men can influence the faith of youth and young adults.
Finally, Phillip Morgan, executive director of the Catholic Career Roundtable Job Club, will give a personal testimony.
As at previous Men Under Construction events, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann will offer a few comments and conclude by celebrating Mass. Msgr. Thomas Tank, Church of the Ascension pastor, will offer a final blessing.
This year’s conference chairman is Russ Engel, a member of the Church of the Ascension. This is his tenth conference.
“One of the goals of the conference is to help men realize the importance of their role within the family,” said Engel. “They have to be the faith leader in the family. Often, however, men abdicate this role [and relinquish it] to their wives.
“Wives play an important role, but men must fulfill their important role, too. Studies have shown that their children have greater odds of staying active in the faith when their father is active in the home and is willing to model their faith for their children.”
Last year, the conference made a change to its event format by setting aside brief moments between talks to highlight different ministries available for men.
“We did this because we found that the majority of men were not aware of some ministries,” said Engel. “There are several ministries that can be found at the parish level that have a national support structure, and we’re going to highlight [them].”
The cost to attend Men Under Construction is $40 per person, but $20 for students and free for clergy. To register, go to the website. Walk-in registrations the day of the event are welcome.