2012 St. Louis Catholic Men for Christ

2017 Conference

February 4, 2012

Speakers: Archbishop Carlson - Welcome

On April 21, 2009, it was announced that the Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson was appointed by the Holy See as the successor to Archbishop Raymond L. Burke as the Archbishop of Saint Louis, Missouri.

Prior to his appointment to the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, Bishop Robert J. Carlson was installed as the fifth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw on February 24, 2005 at the direction of Pope John Paul II. A native of Minneapolis, Minn., he was ordained to the priesthood on May 23, 1970 for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He was later ordained as an auxiliary bishop for his home archdiocese on January 11, 1984 and went on to serve as Bishop of Sioux Falls, S.D., from 1994 to 2005.

You may learn more about Archbishop Carlson at the Archidocese of St. Louis

Zip Rzeppa - Master of Ceremonies

Zip Rzeppa is widely remembered as the sports director/anchor at KMOV-TV Channel 4 from 1988-1995 and at KTVI-TV from 1984-1988. He created and presented his trademark "Zippo Awards" on St. Louis television for seventeen years from 1984-2001. While Zip first entered the hearts of St. Louis through our televisions, his spiritual endeavors bear special mention.

Previously, Zip served as the Executive Director for the St. Louis Metropolitan Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. During his four-year tenure, the Society has seen rapid growth in programs designed to serve the poor, the needy and the suffering. There are currently 24 programs that address the needs of a varied population of persons in need. The Society's 2600+ volunteers serve through visits to homes, hospitals, and prisons; through its thrift stores and food pantries; and through unlimited acts of charity including financial assistance. No act of charity is foreign to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Although he has a great heart for the Society of the St. Vincent de Paul, he tirelessly serves the community in many other ways. He consistently supports the efforts of other charities, including Covenant Network, St. Agnes Home, the Daughters of St. Paul, etc. He is widely sought after as a guest speaker and is known throughout the Metro St. Louis area for his moving witness to God’s place in his life.

A devout Catholic, Rzeppa served as chairman of the Community Issues Committee for the visit of Pope John Paul II to St. Louis in 1999.

As a volunteer, Zip served for four years doing weekly door-to-door evangelization in impoverished parishes with the Society of Our Mother of Peace. He worked for eight years, first as a job developer and then as Vice President of Community Affairs, for MERS/Goodwill.

Zip became the Managing Director of Angels’ Arms in July of 2011. Angels’ Arms is an organization that provides help to foster children to find a family in our area.

Monsignor Stuart W. Swetland, STD

Monsignor Stuart W. Swetland, S.T.D currently serves as the Most Reverend Harry J. Flynn Endowed Chair for Christian Ethics and Chair of the President's Committee on Catholic Identity and Mission at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He has also served as Vice President for Catholic Identity and Mission and Director of Homiletics and Pre-Theology. Before arriving at Mount St. Mary's University in 2006, Monsignor Swetland served for over a decade as Director of Newman Centers at Bradley University and University of Illinois and as Pastor of two parishes.
Monsignor Swetland has served as Theological Advisor to the Catholic Conference of Illinois and is the Executive Secretary for the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. Monsignor Swetland is also a highly regarded and regular contributor to Catholic and secular media outlets in radio, TV, magazines, and newspapers.
Monsignor Swetland was ordained a priest in 1991 for the Diocese of Peoria, IL. He received his undergraduate degree in Physics from the United States Naval Academy. Elected a Rhodes Scholar in 1981, he entered the Catholic Church while studying at Oxford. During his time in Oxford, he captained the Oxford University Basketball team to two British University Sport Federation national titles. Monsignor Swetland holds a B.A. and M.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford; a M.Div. and M.A. from Mount St. Mary's Seminary; and his S.T.L. and S.T.D. from the Pontifical Lateran University, having studied at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, DC.



Father Michael Lightner

As a standout athlete in high school, Michael accepted a full scholarship to play football at the University of Eastern Michigan. Standing 6 feet 4 inches in height and possessing a massive build of 330 lbs, he's the ideal candidate for the NFL's next offensive lineman.

On a pilgrimage to Medjugorje with his Mother Joyce, the Lord called Michael to come play for His team. Through his incredible confession, to seeing God's Healing Power first-hand, this college football-player was deeply moved by God's Divine Mercy.

Father Michael is now the Director of Campus Ministries of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He is also the Director of Apostolate of Prayer in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, WI. His remarkable conversion story, captured on DVD, will inspire many.

You may learn more about Fr. Michael here.

Deacon Ralph Poyo

Deacon Ralph’s Speaking Ministry

In addition to consulting with Parishes on evangelistic efforts on a parish level, Deacon Ralph is also a gifted and popular National Speaker. He is frequently booked to speak to a wide variety of groups and parishes. His passionate communication style utilizes humor, testimony, scripture, and very practical applications on living the faith. Having been a Youth Minister for 25 years, Deacon Ralph is comfortable speaking to all ages.

Deacon Ralph is asked to speak at various venues:

  •     Parish Missions
  •     Men’s Retreats & Conferences
  •     Women’s Retreats & Conferences
  •     Parish Pornography Presentations
  •     Chastity Events
  •     Purity Ball (Father/Daughter Dinner Dance)
  •     School Rallies
  •     School Staff Retreats
  •     School Parent Presentations
  •     Youth Conferences
  •     Youth Retreats
  •     Youth Ministry Volunteer Training and Retreats
  •     Youth Ministry Parent Retreats and Parent Nights
  •     Diocesan Youth Ministry Training
  •     Diocesan Youth Rallies
  •     Diocesan DRE Training on Evangelization
  •     Priests Day of Reflection

For more information about Deacon Poyo, click here.

Father Joe Kempf

Fr. Joe Kempf is the second of six children, a diocesan priest from St. Louis, Missouri, and someone whose love of God shows forth in an enthusiasm for life. Fr. Joe is the pastor of Assumption Parish in O'Fallon, Missouri, and founder of “Gospel Values,” a non-profit company dedicated to proclaiming the beautiful message of Jesus for children of all ages.

He is the author of No One Cries the Wrong Way: Seeing God Through Tears and several recent books of prayers for children, including, My Sister is Annoying: and Other Prayers for Children, You Want Me to Be Good ALL DAY?, and Don't Drink the Holy Water: Big Al and Annie Go to Mass published by Liguori Publications.

Fr. Joe is perhaps best known for his video works, which include a series of DVDs for children called Big Al LIVE!, and recent DVDs on the Eucharist: Feeding Hungry Hearts: Celebrating the Eucharist and A Child's First Communion: and So Much More!. Winner of the “Great Preacher Award” from the Aquinas Institute of Theology in 2004, Fr. Joe brings a love of storytelling, a heart for God’s people, and a desire to help us remember those things that truly matter. To learn more about Fr. Joe's nonprofit, Gospel Values, please visit www.welovebigal.com.

"Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

-Romans 12:2