SPRING HILL — Motivational speaker Jon Leonetti hopes to answer tough questions for the men who attend the Days of Reflection at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church next month.
"Each year, every Catholic should take time to step back and review their spiritual life," says a brochure advertising the event, which is offered Oct. 4 and 5 to "all men in the community who believe in Jesus" who are 18 and older.
Leonetti, who is based in Iowa, hopes to engage the Catholic community with answers to questions such as: Why are we here? What reasons for existence does the culture offer? What reasons for existence does the church offer? Which vision resonates in your heart?
The main point of his message, he said, is to tell people that God is waiting to break into their lives.
"In the brokenness and messiness of our lives, God is there, patiently waiting for our intimate embrace of love," the 28-year-old Leonetti said. "He is near, even in the midst of difficult and trying times, offering us meaning, beauty and truth of a life lived in him."
According to the brochure, Leonetti "desires to cultivate an intimate relationship with Jesus and help others do the same through prayer, the sacraments, family life, Mary and the saints."
The speaker, who is also an author and the host of the Iowa Catholic Radio Morning Show, shares his message with both men and women about 40 times a year in events such as the Days of Recollection. He also conducts intergenerational parish missions and makes keynote presentations internationally.
The Son Rise Morning Show with Brian Patrick is one of several radio programs where Leonetti has been a guest. He has appeared on Real Faith TV and a Web broadcast on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site. His book, Mission of the Family, was published by Matthew Kelly and featured in Kelly's Dynamic Catholic Book Program.
Leonetti thinks it is important that men get together in a spiritual setting.
"Catholic discipleship is not isolating. Rather, it calls us out of ourselves to live the Gospel," he said. "With that comes the communal need of spiritual formation and practical application. This is precisely what we mean when we say 'church.' "
Jack Hauser, publicity chairman for the Days of Reflection and grand knight of St. Frances Cabrini Knights of Columbus Council 13209, is hoping for a good turnout and says the event will provide a setting for men to express their feelings.
"We want to bring men closer to and also to renew their Catholic religion," he said. "Men are macho and have a problem dealing with their Catholic faith in a public setting, and this will allow them to talk and share their concerns."
To accomplish his goals, Leonetti will give three talks: "The Reality of Jesus," "Living the New Evangelization" and "The Way of the Saints."
Tickets cost $25 and include beer and brats Friday night and a pancake-and-sausage breakfast and a cold-cut subs lunch Saturday. Attendees will also get a special T-shirt.
Friday night will include prayer and the first of Leonetti's talks. The evening will close with prayer at 8:30 p.m. The Saturday session starts with 8 a.m. Mass, followed by breakfast. As the day's schedule unfolds, there will be prayer, a penance service, lunch and a time of discussion, along with the remaining two talks by the speaker.
Hauser said there also will be some lighthearted moments during the retreat.
The event will close with Mass at 4 p.m. Saturday.
During the weekend, Leonetti hopes to awaken the men's hearts to the story of Catholicism.
"My prayer is that these men will leave the retreat thirsting for greater intimacy with our Lord," he said, "not being afraid to 'cast out into the deep,' as John Paul II challenged all of us to do, becoming missionaries of love, for the one who is love, to the world."