By Deacon Bill Moesley

St. Charles Parish, Pittsfield

2010 Men's Conference

On Saturday, March 13, I attended the 8th Annual Men’s Conference at Cathedral High School in Springfield, sponsored by Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell.  I never hesitate to register for this event.  I have only missed one and that was due to a snow storm.  

 It is a wonderful opportunity for men to get away and “Grow In Faith.”  Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.”  And that auditorium is filled with Jesus and his Holy Spirit. 

A crowded but happy place

There are always at least four speakers with great faith-filled messages. This year we had five dynamic speakers.  To make it even better, we had one of our very own, Fr. Warren Savage, who is fabulous!!!

Father Warren Savage

They were: Patrick Mc Caskey, co-owner of the Chicago Bears

Patrick McCaskey visits with Sister of St. Joseph Cathy Homrok and Mark Dupont, leaders of the Catholic Communications office for the Diocese of Springfield.

  Michael Preisler, a surviver of German Concentration Camps

Michael Preisler, a Polish Catholic who survived Auschwitz

 Francisco “Paco” Gavrilides, who spoke to the Latino men.

Paco Gavrilides in the Cathedral library speaks in Spanish

and Raymond Arroyo of EWTN.

Raymond Arroyo of EWTN signs a book about Mother Angelica

All of them held us spellbound with their presentations.  

 One of the highlights of the day, for me, is the one-hour Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the “Hem of the Garment” procession.  In this procession a priest  carries the Monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament up and down all the aisles of the auditorium. 

Father Jonathan Reardon of St. Thomas Parish in West Springfield carries our Lord through the aisles of the auditorium of Cathedral High School.

Men can reach out and touch the Monstrance or touch any part of the priests garment (Cope) .  I always kneel down on both knees, pick up the “hem of the garment” and kiss it.  A feeling of warmth spreads through my whole body and I know Jesus has touched me.  The Holy again!!   Then I pray for whatever healing I need whether physical or spiritual.  

"Touching" our Lord

An unexpected faith-filled experience for me was Michael Preisler’s  talk.  I hadn’t read anything about him prior to his talk.  but when he started talking about his seven years in the Concentration Camps of Auschwitz and Mathausen, my stomach started to flutter, my heart began to beat a little faster, and visions of World War II began to flood my memory. 

Michael talking with slides from World War II behind him

 They were flashing pictures of the camps on a large screen,and I had personally witnessed the gruesome scenes.  Michael  had spent seven years in Auschwitz watching people die every day.  Strangely, something told me I had to go up and embrace this man.  

Auschwitz Gate

No, I must be imagining it.  But the feeling got stronger and stronger.  I thought, “Bill,  you must go down there.”  After fighting the feeling for about 15 minutes, I found myself walking down the aisle to the podium.  When I got close to Michael, Fr. Daley was there and he looked at me with a quizzical look on his face.  I said, ” I apologize for this interruption but  I just had to come down and embrace this man. I am  87 years old and fought with the 9th Infantry Division of Gen. George Patton’s Third army in Europe.” 

General George Patton

And, suddenly, over 400 men were on there feet applauding.   I couldn’t believe it!!    When they finally sat down, I continued,  “We liberated Auschwitz and Mathausen and I know what Michael went through.  God Bless you, Michael!!”  And started back to my seat.  Another standing ovation and hand shakes and pats on the back, and thank yous all the way back to my seat. 

Deacon Moesley and Michael Preisler

 Needless to saythis was one of the best conferences for me.  So faith-filled!!  I can still see 93 year old Michael  at the podium.  His story can bring tears to your eyes.    How blessed I was to attend this conference.!!

And her are some other scence from the conference…..

Raymond Gagnon of Holy Cross Parish in Holyoke, Richard Smus of Sacred Heart Parish in Feeding Hills, and Stanley Poplawski of Sacred Heart Parish Feeding Hills chat during a break at the men's conference.

John Pikul, his son Nicolas, and Jack Stasio, father-in-law and grandpa to the pair, enjoy lunch during the men's conference. The three generations said it was important to take time for spiritual enrichment. Nicolas said he was thrilled to be attending for the first time.

The men in the Spanish-speaking session prayed and sang during the two talks they attended in the library.