Men Under Construction offers Lenten experience

v36n22muc2by Joe Bollig

OVERLAND PARK — Do you want an ooey-gooey, huggy-feely, candy-coated, hand-holding spiritual experience?

Then don’t go to Men Under Construction 19 on Feb. 21 at the Church of Ascension, 9510 W. 127th St.,  Overland Park.

Men Under Construction is for men (and their sons) who want to get real about themselves and God.

“This is not a ‘Kumbaya’ event,” explained Phil Hernandez, a Men Under Construction board member and organizer. “This is for real men, with real problems and needs, seeking real answers.”

Men Under Construction is the wildly successful annual one-day Lenten retreat conducted by the Kansas City Catholic Men’s Fellowship. Last year, the event drew about 1,200 people. It has drawn men and their sons from as far away as Wichita and Sedalia, Missouri.

Some men who’ve never been to a men’s conference like MUC might be a little leery about attending, not wanting a “huggy” event that focuses on feelings.

“This is [about] real life,” said Hernandez. “We don’t candy coat [problems]. We don’t candy coat the solutions. People know in no uncertain terms there are better ways to live your life. That’s the thing a lot of guys walk away with.”

Many men have left the conference to return to their home parishes to either join or start a men’s group, said Hernandez.

The reason why MUC is so successful is in large part because of the great speakers. This year is no exception.

The keynote speaker is Mike Aquilina, an award-winning author of more than 40 books on Catholic history, doctrine and devotions. He is an expert on the Fathers of the Church, a group of early successors to the Apostles.

The second speaker is “Bear” Woznick, a two-time Masters World Champion Tandem surfer. He is a pilot, skydiver, open ocean paddler and holder of the rare ninja black belt. He is a cast member of Fuel TV’s “Clean Break” and hosts a weekly 90-minute podcast on BearsWave.com. He is also a committed Catholic, and his faith informs all his activities.

The third speaker is Adam Blai, a professional demonologist. He is recognized by the church as an authority on demonology, exorcisms, hauntings, demonic possession and demonic infestations. He trains and assists priests in the Rite of Exorcism. (Parental guidance is advised for younger attendees, since these topics deal with the reality of Satan and evil.) Blai will present a non-sensationalized treatment of the subject.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann will also speak and give the final blessing.

The doors open at 6:15 a.m., with Mass at 7 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast.

The rest of the day will proceed with times of praise and music, breaks, opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation, and a special presentation for youth. Lunch is included as part of the event.

The cost to attend is: $30 for early adult registration; $20 for early college student registration; $15 for young men in junior high or high school; and free for Catholic clergy.

To register to attend MUC, go online to: www.ksmuc.org. At the top of the page, click on “conference” and  scroll down to “Click here to register.”

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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