Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Cardinal Timothy Dolan Of New York Keynotes Western Kentucky Men's Conference

By Elizabeth Wong Barnstead, The Western Kentucky Catholic
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York smiles as he enters the RiverPark Center in downtown Owensboro during the Feb. 11 Catholic Men's Conference of Western Kentucky. Photo by Elizabeth Wong Barnstead, Wetern Kentucky Catholic.

OWENSBORO, Ky. – In his homily for the Feb. 11 Mass concluding the annual Catholic Men’s Conference of Western Kentucky, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York asked the congregation why God gave humanity free will if he knew they would “botch it up.”


“All he wants from us is love and trust, and love and trust can never be coerced,” said Cardinal Dolan.


Earlier that day, Cardinal Dolan delivered his keynote address on the importance of remaining united to the Catholic Church, despite the sins and struggles of its faithful.


The cardinal told the 950 men gathered at the RiverPark Center in downtown Owensboro that it is crucial to “own up to the flaws, the dysfunction in our spiritual family.”


“Be patient with the Church,” said Cardinal Dolan, quoting St. John Paul II, who was known to have publically and frequently apologized for the Church’s wrongdoings over the course of his 25-plus years as pope.


“If we’re not afraid to show the wounds of our Church, maybe the wounded will come back to us,” said the cardinal.


Other conference speakers included Father Larry Richards, an author, radio host  and well-known speaker, and Robert Rogers, a speaker, author and songwriter. Both encouraged the reading of the scriptures to remain steeped in faith.


Father Richards’ talk challenged the men to live authentic Catholic manhood without excuses.


He offered the statement, “No Bible, no breakfast. No Bible, no bed,” as a way to remember to read the scriptures each day.


Rogers, who came from Kansas to speak at the conference, told the story of losing his wife and children in a tragic flash flood, but then building his life back up through the grace of God.


“The only way I could get through the flash flood and death of my family members was through the Word of God,” said Rogers, who has since remarried and now has four children.


Jim Creighton, who traveled to the conference with his brother Knights of Columbus from Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Hopkinsville, Ky., said he enjoyed the conference and the speakers.


He said Father Richards’ presentations were especially compelling: “Either you go to heaven or you go to hell – that’s a message that a lot of men need to hear. Read your Bible, not your phone.”


The Mass at the end of the conference was open to the public, and many participants’ families joined them for the liturgy.


The conference also included opportunities for individual Confession, lunch, and free time to socialize and visit the many vendors.


The Message is grateful to the Western Kentucky Catholic of the Diocese of Owensboro for providing this coverage. For those who missed the 2017 conference, more photos can be viewed at For updates about the 2018 conference, visit