Mark & Carol Nehrbas at the Grotto of Lourdes, France. Mark, the main speaker, claims he was healed of his stomach cancer there. Submitted photo.

CANCER SURVIVOR TO SHOW HOW SUFFERING CAN MAKE YOU A SAINT AT 2019 MEN’S DAY

Sooner or later every person will have to suffer.  That’s the human condition.  Will we be able to confront it when it’s our turn?  At this year’s Men’s Conference at St. Stephen’s Church in Caldlwell on March 23 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) we have Mark Nehrbas, who has given talks all over the country.  He has fought a six year battle against an aggressive form of stomach cancer.  He went to Lourdes and was healed!  Nehrbas will give his testimony of what he went through.  He will give tips on how to cope with suffering when our time comes.  He will show how suffering can make us saints.  By uniting our cross with the Lord’s cross and offering it up to God as a dynamic prayer for our intentions, suffering can be very productive.   It will be a great day of enjoyable fellowship and spiritual invigoration.  We’d love to have you (and your son) join us.

If the mother takes the spiritual lead in the family, the probability that the children will remain faithful to the Church as adults is about 40%.  If the father takes the spiritual lead, that probability doubles to 80%.  This is crucial because we are losing our youth.  As Danny Abramowicz of “Crossing the Goal” on EWTN likes to point out, “The children love Mom, but tend to follow Dad.”  

Thus the participants in the Diocesan Men’s Day of Renewal will be held on Saturday March 23 from 9 am to 4 pm at St. Stephen’s Church in Caldwell off of Exit 25 of I-77.  The men are challenged to become true men of God……..dynamic Catholic leaders who will change the world, beginning with their families, their parishes, their communities, and the marketplace through their jobs.

The morning talk, “Victory of the Cross in My Battle With Cancer will be his personal testimony of what he went through since 2012, a six year journey…….the anxiety, the fear, the pain, and the frustration over two separate bouts of an aggressive form of stomach cancer……two major surgeries, countless days with painful chemo, repeated doses of radiation. Through all this, his prayer life became more intense; his faith and trust in God deepened.  Mark Nehrbas tried every path except one.  Providentially and unexpectantly, a generous friend, a Knight of Malta, offered to sponsor him and his wife, Carol for a pilgrimage to the great Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.  Before leaving in May of last year, his doctor indicated that his cancer had come back and would have to resume aggressive treatments after the pilgrimage.  At the time Nehrbas was unaware that his tumor marker count shot up to over 300.  He was reexamined upon his return and the tumor count was normal with no trace of cancer!  The Muslim doctor was baffled!  Mark knew that it’s a miracle!

In the afternoon talk“Victory Over Suffering: Lessons Learned From the Cross”.  Mark Nehrbas will explore the mystery of suffering, why God permits it, how he confronted it, how he grew from it, the lessons he learned, how it can be very productive, and how it can make you a saint.  The most important of all is that sooner or later every one of us will have to suffer.  We can choose to be miserable or we can choose to unite our suffering with the cross and offer it all up as a dynamic prayer for the conversion of sinners as Mary requested at Fatima, for our Church in deep crisis, for the souls in Purgatory, for the world, and for our loved ones.  Such Redemptive Suffering by many people can ultimately save the world.

The theme is The Cross as a Source of Strength and Path to Ultimate Victory Over All Adversity” with St. Joseph, model of a true man of God, as the Conference’s patron.  Through the power of faith men must rise up to be the spiritual leaders of their families, to do their part in renewing their parishes, be servant leaders in the community, and to make a difference for Christ by applying the social teachings of the Church to their professions.  The goal of the Men’s Day of Renewal is to focus on the spiritual development of the men of our diocese. Having spiritually strong men of faith and character translates into more solid families, more dynamic parishes, and better communities. This is crucial to the Church, now and in the future. It is also critical for nurturing vocations.  It involves sacrificing most of a Saturday with some travel, but Lent is all about sacrifice and the quest for holiness.  That gives a pilgrimage flavor.  During the middle ages, pilgrims would travel for days by foot or horseback.

The goal of the Men’s Day of Renewal is to focus on the spiritual development of the men.  Having spiritually strong men of faith and character translates into more solid families, more dynamic parishes, and better communities. This is crucial to the Church, now and in the future. It is also critical for nurturing vocations.  It involves sacrificing most of a Saturday with some travel, but Lent is all about sacrifice and the quest for holiness.  That gives a pilgrimage flavor.  During the middle ages, pilgrims would travel for days by foot or horseback.

The men will see how the participants are moved by the beauty and power of the faith.   The experience of seeing so many men enthusiastically participating and lifting up their voices in song is uplifting.  There will be a Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration and optional Lenten Confession.  The Conference is open to teens so this can also be a father and son event, a shared experience.   Non-Catholics are also welcome.  In the past the men have returned spiritually refreshed, reinvigorated, and enthusiastic.   Registration will be taken at the door. 

There’s more information on the diocesan website, www.diosteub.org and the Conference Blog, “Becoming a True Man of God” at diosteubmen.blogspot.com which is also devoted to articles to keep men in spiritual shape after the Conference.  There’s also a recent article on another blog, “A Little Bit for God and His People” at paulrsebastianphd.blogspot.com (#217).  One may also contact paulrsebastian@yahoo.com or call 740-245-9404.  Attached are the Conference brochure and photos.

 A great day of enjoyable fellowship and spiritual reinvigoration is expected. But most of all, the organizers hope that through grace there will be a few more good spiritually strong men for the kingdom of God in the battle against secularism and other evils and problems that our troubled society must confront…….men –not spiritual weaklings and wimps– who will put Christ into their professions.  Finally, the men will become more knowledgeable, firmer in their faith, and better prepared for a more joyful Easter, not to mention a greater closeness to God and eternity which life on earth is all about.