Encounter Christ, your life will never be the same

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When we attend a spirituality conference, we never know how God is going to place a person or event in our path that will change us for the better. We don’t know for certain how it will happen, but if our hearts and minds are open to his call, we need to be ready to “expect the unexpected.” 

Last year’s ManUp South Jersey, held at Paul VI High School, Haddonfield, drew men of all ages from throughout the Diocese of Camden. The second annual men’s spirituality conference will be held on Nov. 9.

In preparation for our 2019 conference scheduled for Nov. 9, we reached out to some of last year’s conference attendees and asked them to share what was most meaningful for them. And not surprisingly, each encountered Christ in a unique way. 

Deacon Anthony Cioe, director of the ManUp South Jersey Men’s Spirituality Conference, speaks at the 2018 conference. Photos by Mike Walsh

John Audio of Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Turnersville, was moved most by the sense of fraternity. “It’s amazing that a group of guys of different ages and backgrounds could come together united in sharing the same faith in God,” he said. “There aren’t as many fraternal organizations as there used to be, so this was a chance to come together and then move outward to make a difference in our community.”

Reflecting back on his experience, Ken Pustizzi of Saint Padre Pio Parish,  Vineland, recalls, “I was introduced to two things that have become an important part of my spiritual life: a weekly Gospel reflection group, and the Relevant Radio Catholic radio network app. The combination of Man-Up, the Gospel reflection, and Relevant Radio have caused me to learn much more about the Catholic faith and has brought me to a new level of spiritual maturity. As I look back a year later, I feel like it was the Holy Spirit leading me there and I am so glad I went.”

Carl “Chip” Storlazzi of Saint Clare of Assisi Parish, Gibbstown, tells us, “I was fortunate enough in 2018 to attend the first Man Up South Jersey conference. I had never attended this type of program before, so I had no expectations. I left the conference that day feeling great about the entire experience. The conference was filled with inspirational talks from guest speakers who had triumphed over difficult times in their lives. The speakers and their messages were really powerful and, maybe more importantly for me, the thoughts and ideas expressed helped me think about how I could be a better person and more appreciative of the many blessings in my life.”

Kory Barnas of Our Lady of Peace Parish, Williamstown, recalls, “What I liked most about ManUp last year was the time we spent in Eucharistic Adoration. You felt like it was just you and Jesus.” He adds, “It was a very intimate experience. One of the best adoration experiences I’ve ever had.”

When we attend a spiritual conference with our hearts and minds open to the movement of the Holy Spirit, we are allowing Our Lord to meet us where we are, and to speak to us in a way that is unique to our own individual needs. The ManUp South Jersey Planning Team has worked hard to gather the very best speakers and musicians who will help provide attendees with the opportunity to encounter Christ in a very personal way. We hope that you can join us — just be prepared to expect the unexpected!

For more information and to register for the ManUp South Jersey Men’s Spirituality Conference, go to www.manupsouthjersey.com And if you live in Cape May or Atlantic County, be sure to take a look at the special registration which includes round-trip chartered bus service.

Deacon Anthony Cioe is pastoral associate for evangelical outreach at Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Turnersville, and director of the ManUp South Jersey Men’s Spirituality Conference.