Sunday, March 19, 2000

Colson featured speaker at Catholic men's conference

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Charles Colson, former Nixon lawyer and Watergate conspirator-turned-evangelical Christian leader, will be the featured speaker April 1 at the sixth annual Answer the Call Catholic men's conference.

        The rally, which will be at the Firstar Center, is expected to draw 10,000 men from several states, organizer Declan O'Sullivan of Mount Lookout said Saturday. “You don't just pray in isolation. The purpose is to share our experiences of the Lord in our lives,” said Mr. O'Sullivan, part of the organizing team since the event was started in 1995 at St. Gertrude Parish in Madeira.

  • What: Answer the Call, a conference for Catholic men.
  • Where: Firstar Center, downtown.
  • When: 8:45 a.m.-4 p.m., April 1. Doors open at 7 a.m.
  • Cost: $25 a person. Register at or by calling 321-4673 or by visiting a local parish.
  • Miscellaneous: Covington Bishop Robert Muench and Cincinnati Bishop Carl Moedell will celebrate Mass at 3 p.m. Music will be provided by Romans, a local group consisting of brothers Greg and Jeff Schutte, Rick Crone and Mark Hingsbergen.
        Five hundred men attended the first year, and 2,000 the next when it was moved to Thomas More College. It has since been held in the University of Cincinnati's Shoemaker Center and the Firstar Center. It now attracts between 8,000 and 10,000 people.

        Answer the Call, developed by the 15-year-old Catholic Men's Fellowship group in Cincinnati, has spawned similar rallies in 20 cities, including New Orleans, Chicago and Baltimore, Mr. O'Sullivan said.

        More than 100 priests are expected to hear confessions from as many as 5,000 men.

        Contemporary music is featured, as are dynamic speakers. The event is similar to non-denominational Christian men's rallies sponsored by the Promise Keepers organization. It has attracted such guests as football coaches Mike Ditka, Lou Holtz and Gerry Faust; former POW Adm. Jeremiah Denton; and talk-show host and presidential candidate Alan Keyes.

        Mr. Colson is author of 1994's Evangelicals and Catholics Together. He won the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1993.

        As President Nixon's special counsel, Mr. Colson served 207 days in federal prison for obstruction of justice in connection with the “White House Plumbers” break-in at the office of anti-war activist Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist.

        He also is founder and director of Prison Fellowship, a Christian counseling outreach program that operates in more than 600 prisons nationwide. He lives in northern Virginia.

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