Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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Portland deacon, EWTN favorite, to lead Catholic Men’s Conference next month
by Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register
(From the February 19, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)
Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers will be the keynote speaker at the Catholic Men’s Conference next month, hosted by Gonzaga University. (IR file photo)
Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, a popular conference presenter and EWTN television personality, will be the keynote speaker for the 2015 Catholic Men’s Conference at Gonzaga University.
With the theme “A Man’s Toolkit for Catholic Spirituality,” Deacon Burke-Sivers’s consistent message – that Catholic men need to live “a life of sacrifice and service” – will find a receptive audience.
The deacon, 48, has engaged in his speaking/presentation ministry full-time for the last two-and-a-half years, he said, growing out of an invitation to speak at an Oregon parish and slowly building to a nation-crossing ministry of preaching, writing, and encouraging men to live their vocation. He led a parish mission last October at St. Joseph Parish, Otis Orchards, Wash.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from the University of Notre Dame, and a master’s degree in theology from the University of Dallas, where he studied with and was a research assistant for Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa, another EWTN favorite.
In addition to his presentations and media ministry, he also functions as a deacon at Immaculate Conception Parish, Portland.
“I love everything the Lord asks me to do,” he said during a recent phone interview, but dearest to him is his ministry with families and with men.
He explained that men are called by Christ, “in my opinion, to an ever-deepening revelation of sacrifice and service. Catholic men need to live their spirituality from the Cross of Jesus Christ.
“Leadership, headship, authority are rooted in service, says Jesus,” who came not to be served, but to serve. He said this is demonstrated acutely in the Gospel of St. John, where Jesus is described as washing the feet of the apostles, “which only the lowest-ranking servant did.”
The deacon is also a Benedictine oblate of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon. Oblates are individuals who, though not members of the monastic community, live out Benedictine values and charisms in their daily life. Perhaps primary among those charisms is the phrase “ora et labora” – Latin for “prayer and work.”
“You have to learn how to listen to God,” said Deacon Burke-Sivers. It’s a mistake, he said, to try to “listen through the culture.” To listen to God, “you have to be quiet. Men who respond to God do it in silence.” He cited the examples of St. Joseph in the Gospels; Samuel, who heard the voice of God while sleeping in the temple; Elijah, waiting for the Lord to pass by, and who spoke to him “in the whispering sound.”
Eucharistic Adoration, he said, is where it happens; an encounter that “changes everything. I highly, strongly recommend Eucharistic Adoration. And while there, I tell (men) to read something. Slowly, prayerfully, carefully.”
Men must learn to open their hearts to God and recognize their need for Christ, he said. “That’s not a sign of weakness,” but “you can’t be strong men of faith until you recognize that you need Christ. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable before God.”
The interview had to conclude so that he could take part in a marriage preparation meeting. But before he signed off, he said, “I want to encourage all the men to come to the conference,” which would be an opportunity for Catholic men to learn “how we can deepen and share our faith as men and lead our families.”
(The 2015 Catholic Men’s Conference, “A Man’s Toolkit for Catholic Spirituality,” will take place Saturday, March 28. Registration is requested by March 20; click here to download a PDF registration form.)
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