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February 2024 Newsletter

Men, Happy Feast of the Presentation of the Lord!  This major feast day is also known as Candlemas because of the reference to the Light of the World to whom we must open our hearts.  The Feast of the Presentation takes place exactly 40 days after Christmas (we all know the number 40 is important in our faith).  This feast is the last observance of the year of Christ as a baby, and Simeon, the prophet to whom Jesus was presented in the temple, tells us in the “Nunc Dimittis” that the Child Jesus is “a light”:


“Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;

your word has been fulfilled:

my own eyes have seen the salvation

which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

a light to reveal you to the nations

and the glory of your people Israel.”

 

This beautiful canticle is prayed in the Night Prayer or Compline of the Church by all who pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and in it the elderly, fragile Simeon simultaneously rejoices that he may now die, since he has seen the Messiah, and announces the Messiah as the “light to reveal you (God) to the nations…” 


Because Jesus is the Light, it stands to reason that candles are blessed on this day.  I hope you had the good fortune to attend Mass today and witness candles being blessed, and if you were like us at Helias, each person in the congregation held his own candle during the blessing of new candles.   Thank you, Father Clark, for your great attention to detail.  It was a beautiful way to start our day and the rest of the year that focuses on Jesus the Light.

 

Men, it doesn’t seem like it was very long ago that we were turning the calendar to 2024, but now we have turned the page to February–the month when I can begin to tell that the days are getting longer and often sunnier.  It never ceases to amaze me how the Church calendar flows (almost like God set it in place….).  Candlemas is appropriately observed just when the days are becoming noticeably longer.

 

A Men’s Conference Right Here in Jefferson City??

 

Now, for a very big announcement:  the Men's Conference that I and members of the Planning Group have been ruminating over since last Spring is a reality!  The Men of Signum Crucis will host the first ever Catholic Men’s Conference in Jefferson City on the evening of Friday, April 19, and during the day on Saturday, April 20.  As of the writing of this newsletter, not all contracts are signed, but we have the following men coming our way to speak to us about deepening our Study, Devotion, and Service:  Lamar Hunt, Jr., from Kansas City, will present on Friday evening after dinner.  The next day, we will hear from Father Bill Peckman of our Diocese; Adam Wright of Covenant Network in St. Louis; Dr. Andrew Swafford, Theology Professor at Benedictine College; and Brian Miller, Director of Evangelization and Discipleship for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

 

Men, let me be boldly direct with you about this Conference:  if you have any desire to grow in your faith, this Conference is for you.  Each of these presenters is an inspiration in the way they live out their faith.  Rubbing shoulders with these men will give you the confidence to ratchet up your faith life that extra bit, and I know you will leave the conference a better man

 

Moreover, men, we deserve this “Heart of a Hero Men’s Conference.”  Is there any reason that we need to drive 2-3 hours for an event like this?  What makes us “not worthy”?  Nothing at all.  We are all called to greatness, and this first conference will lead us there.

 

More information will follow via registration forms to be posted in as many physical and digital locations as possible, but I hope you will mark your calendars now to take advantage of this opportunity devoted to all men in our diocese (and beyond).  I hope you will make your reservation early.

 

Once again, those dates are April 19 (evening) and April 20.

 

Lent Already??  What??

 

Yep, it might seem crazy that Lent is right around the corner, but by virtue of the first full moon after the 2024 Spring equinox, Ash Wednesday falls on February 14 this year (I don’t make this stuff up).  This means it’s time again to commit ourselves even more fervently to prayer, sacrifice, and almsgiving

 

One excellent way to step into Lent on the right foot is to take on the Consecration to St. Joseph (need I remind you St. Joseph is the patron saint of the Men of Signum Crucis?) facilitated by Dave Lankford of the Cathedral Parish.  It’s not too late to sign up.  The daily readings toward the Consecration begin on Friday, February 16, and will end 33 days later on Tuesday, March 19.  Men completing the 33-day devotion can participate in the Consecration ceremony at the gathering of the Men of Signum Crucis the following night, on March 20.  Contact Dave Lankford or me to receive your free book to participate in the Consecration.

 

Eucharistic Revival

 

Men, I hope you are staying ever faithful to the Eucharist–we are nothing without it.  Consider attending a daily Mass (or two) each week, and do your family a favor and invite them to attend also. 

 

And, don’t forget that the first Eucharist Revival in the United States in 83 years takes place in Indianapolis this summer on July 17 through July 21.  Our complete understanding and support of the doctrine of the Real Presence is needed now more than ever in our country.  I am wondering if we will ever see such a prestigious lineup of Catholic scholars in one place again in our lifetime–check out the website here for the complete list of activities and presenters.

 

Thank You!

 

Thank you once again to Chris Hentges, Theology Teacher and Coach at Helias Catholic High School, and Father Drew Clary, C.S.C., for treating the Men of Signum Crucis to an evening of Study and Devotion on January 17.  Chris presented on Church History (which will continue in March), and Father Drew gave a reflection and led the Chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows.  Thank you, Chris and Father Drew, for answering the call.

 

What’s All the Buzz About Church History?

 

I knew it was bound to happen.  Coach Hentges’s Church History Study sessions have been wildly popular, and many Men have asked me if Chris might commit to more sessions and slow down the pace of the Study.  I have spoken to him and he has committed to at least one extra session (June).  In May, we will have our semi-annual Adoration and Confessions evening, so there will be no Church History in May, but, as of now, Chris will be presenting Church History in March, April, and June.  Thanks once again to Chris for all the time he is devoting to our Men of Signum Crucis.

 

Other Men’s Conferences in the area:

 

●      Attend the Men’s Conference in Overland Park on February 17, 2024.  Speakers include Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Ray Guarendi, Archbishop Naumann, Benedictine College President Steve Minnis, and Braden Johnson, a young man who will speak of his reversion to the Catholic faith during college.  Click here to learn more about the “Men Under Construction” group that hosts this annual conference.


●      Attend the Men’s Conference in St. Louis on February 17, 2024.  Speakers will be Dr. Edward Sri, Father Anthony Wieck, S.J., and Pete Burak.  This conference comes highly recommended by Men of Signum Crucis Assistant Chaplain Ray Purvis and Adam Brown.  Click here for more information about the Catholic Men for Christ group in St. Louis and to learn how to register.


●      Attend the Men’s Conference in Springfield, Missouri on February 24, 2024.  Justin Fatica will lead the day’s activities in Springfield.  Jefferson City native Craig Henley invites us to this conference that he helps with and promotes.  Click here for more information about this opportunity.


February 21 Gathering…

 

I hope to see each of you at our gathering in February.  The Men of Signum Crucis Planning Group has established an annual schedule such that we return to the Source and Summit of our lives in February and September with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.  During these two months, we do not offer a separate Study, because there is no way to top the Eucharist.  Before Mass, we will pray the Rosary, beginning at 6:00 p.m., for all who can arrive early; after the Mass, as always, we will head to the Commons for further fraternity and refreshments.

 

In Conclusion…

 

I hope you are able to gather with your fraternity of Signum Crucis on February 21 at Helias Catholic.  Ask (another) son, father, brother, uncle, or friend to come with you.  Each man present is needed–someone is better because you are there.  Afterwards, we will enjoy fraternity and refreshments in the Commons.

 

Men, thank you for your fidelity to the Men of Signum Crucis.  Your dedication to this growing fraternity is inspiring.  I pray that you are growing in your faith each month, and that you will always invite other men to join us.

 

And, let us never forget:  St. Joseph “chose hard.”  Let’s choose to do the same.

  

St. Joseph, Foster Father of the Son of God, and patron saint of the Men of Signum Crucis, pray for us.


In hoc signo, vinces,

Mark Rehagen



Future Gatherings:  

 

●      February 21, 2024 (Celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass)

●      March 20, 2024  (Study on Church History and Devotion TBD)

●      April 17, 2024  (Study on Church History and Devotion TBD)

●      May 15, 2025 (Adoration and Confession)

●      June 19, 2024 (Study on Church History and Devotion TBD)

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