Archdiocese Local Ministries Religious education

Men’s conference offers great Lenten beginning

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — You may have only recently taken down the Christmas tree, but it’s still not too early to think about Lent — and to register for Men Under Construction 14.

Men Under Construction, the annual Catholic men’s conference held in the archdiocese, is slated for Feb. 27 at St. James Academy in Lenexa.

For many, this will be their first MUC, but several of the men who will attend have made this their annual “Lent out with the boys.” Often fathers will bring their sons — or grandsons. Sometimes, three generations of men attend MUC together. Past conferences have drawn between 500 to 800 men.

“There’s nothing like it in our archdiocese,” said Dan Spencer, chairman of MUC. “It’s a unique event that men enjoy each year. There are always different speakers to address different aspects of male spirituality.”

Although there are many different retreat opportunities held during many times of the year in the archdiocese, MUC is unique because it focuses on the special needs of men and the challenges they face.

“In reality, men walk and live out their faith in very different ways than women,” said Spencer.

Men face their own challenges in marriage, in balancing work and family, and in living lives of sexual integrity.

“Most men don’t have a lot of good friends,” said Spencer. “Most don’t have more than one or two good friends. They have a limited sphere where they can share openly with other men the challenges they face.”

This year the format of MUC has been changed to allow more extensive interaction among attendees. Men will be able to choose from among eight subjects in two discussion sessions. Among the topics are: “How to live a pure life,” “How to be a leader in your family,” and “How to evangelize your family.”

Like in previous years, MUC offers dynamic speakers.

This year’s keynote speaker is Richard L. Lane, a self-made evangelist from St. Alphonsus Liguori Parish in St. Louis. Lane, the son of NFL Hall of Famer Dick “Night Train” Lane, is a convert to the Catholic faith. He has gone from evangelizing on the street corner of his neighborhood to the airwaves of the most popular programs in Catholic media.

The witness talk will be given by Michael Franzese, the son of an underboss in New York’s violent Colombo crime family. He became a mobster himself and, at one time, Fortune magazine listed him eighteenth on its list of the “Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses.” After his conversion to Christianity, Franzese served time in prison and became one of those rare individuals who walk away from the Mob and live to tell about it.

Finally, the day of reflection will provide participants with the opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation and for participation in a eucharistic procession and adoration.

With early registration before Feb. 1, the cost to attend is: $25 for adults; $10 for students; and $10 for teenage sons or grandsons. A limited number of tickets are available at the door.

For information or tickets go to the Web site at:

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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