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1st Catholic Men's Leadership Conference 

The Vicariate's 1st Catholic Men's Conference


And what a day it was ! Truly a day of engagement and encouragement . Sharing across a few pictures from the day as it was.Thank you for being part of this wonderful day and we look forward to our next event. 

Read here Bishop Paolo's Inspirational words at the 1st AVOSA Catholic Men's Leadership Conference on Saturday, 22 June 2024, in St Francis of Assisi parish, Jebel Ali, about fatherhood today and reciprocity between men and women.

Introduction: the new challenges

First of all, I thank Fr Peter and the Family Ministry for this first meeting of Catholic men of the Apostolic Vicariate in the UAE and for inviting me to speak to you on a rather complex topic: fatherhood today and reciprocity between men and women. Thank you for the questions you sent me. I have tried to deal with those into my speech, especially those that directly concern our topic. As some of your observations reveal, being a father today and living the man-woman relationship in marriage and family is not an easy reality. It never was, but today there are certainly more difficulties because we find ourselves in a change of an era, as Pope Francis reminds us; we find ourselves in a global change due to processes that affect the whole world. Please think for example of the enormous mixing of peoples and the great migratory processes that are changing the face of many countries and mixing many cultures. Think about the consequences of the use of computers, the internet, social media, and the artificial intelligence. Think of the crisis of the classical thought and the new image of body that emerges from the new technology. Marriage and family face many challenges. Among these challenges is the correct understanding of the relationship between man and woman and the sense of fatherhood and motherhood, children's education. We often realize that our children know how to use all new technologies much better than us. The Internet seems to be the source of their knowledge more than what their parents can give them. Sometimes we see them passive in the use of these tools with very little critical sense. Too much fake news! How can we educate them to be able to distinguish what is true from what is false?

1. Fatherhood Crisis

How to understand the topic of fatherhood today? Being a father today is between two extremes. On the one hand, a father can be perceived as a very authoritarian, as someone who controls everything and continually puts limits on his children. More than a father, he seems like an owner of his children and has control over their lives and their future. Such a relationship is characterized by fear. This very authoritarian figure appears very problematic and contested today. The father's authority seems to be an obstacle to the children's freedom. On the other hand, we realize that especially in more recent decades the figure of the father has weakened a lot. Some of you have pointed out to me that the figure of the woman seems to be getting stronger and stronger, while the figure of the male and of the father seems to be getting weaker and weaker. The father seems almost absent and irrelevant. Some scholars say that contemporary society is a society without fathers, in the sense that parents struggle to exercise the right authority over their children. Children sometimes seem to be happy because they feel to have more freedom; on the other hand, they are lost because they lack an adult point of reference to help them face the future. They have a harder time finding the meaning of life and making big decisions. They have more freedom, but they don't know how to use it. I think that each of you, even if in a different way, may have experienced this tension: being fathers who are too present and invasive towards their children or being too distant and absent. Being a father means finding the right way to relate to your children by supporting them on their path but not replacing them in the decisions they must make for their lives.

2. Divine and Human Fatherhood

The fundamental reference for us lies in the fact that God presents himself as a father. Fatherhood referred to God has a fundamental value; the Jewish-Christian revelation used the symbol of the father to indicate the mystery of God as the origin and ultimate meaning of life. Certainly, in the Old Testament some traits of maternal love can also be referred to God, such as tenderness, compassion, mercy and hospitality. However, especially in the New Testament it is very clear that Jesus presents himself as the Son sent by the heavenly Father, with whom he has a unique and singular relationship. Jesus knows that his Father is the foundation of his entire life. He is one with his Father. He lives for the Father. He wants to communicate the Father's love to all people. As the Fathers of the Church say, no one is a father like God. God the Father is the eternal generator, the source of all divinity and creation. Saint Paul reminds us that from the fatherhood of God, every other fatherhood on earth takes its name. When we talk about human fatherhood, in fact, we must realize the difference between creatures and the Creator. Only God is omnipotent, we are always limited. Here is a decisive sign: humanly speaking, being a father for us always implies being in a relationship with a wife, a woman. Because it is from that relationship that the child is born. While in God we can speak of paternity in an absolute sense, humanly not. In human life we must speak of Father and Mother, we must speak of man and woman. You don't become a father by yourself without a relationship with your wife.

3. The relationship between man and woman in question: from feminism to gender theory

Therefore, before properly understanding the Christian message of being a father today, it is good to reflect on the fundamental human condition that always sees us as part of the sexual difference. In the West, the relationship between men and women has recently been marked by the force of the feminist movement which has thrown into crisis many things that were taken for granted.  Where did this movement originate from? The motive is linked to that of equality of dignity between men and women, that was denied in the past in many cultures and even today in some societies. Its origins date back before the middle of the last century. Above all, certain stereotypes are contested in the description of the role of women that are identified as those linked only to motherhood and exclude all others. The man studies and works, the woman must stay at home.

a) Antagonism
The first stage of feminism is called "antagonistic" because it affirms itself as overcoming the rigid distribution of roles between male and female. This current of thought opens up to the risk of the masculinization of women. The emancipation of women would be linked to her ability to become similar to man.

b) Difference
This current is replaced by a new form of thought which instead supports the importance of recognizing the difference of women, their uniqueness, their autonomy compared to men. This thought aims to valorize women as women and in some cases goes so far as to state that there is a lack of communication between male and female. It goes so far as to say: no man can truly understand a woman. Maybe some of you have heard this phrase.

c) Gender Theory
We arrive at a third phase that is very widespread today and is now known universally, called gender theory. The aim is always that of equality and overcoming discrimination. Given the insufficiency of previous currents of thought, the desire to overcome the difference between man and woman is affirmed. The difference becomes irrelevant. In this vision of thought, in a certain sense anyone can choose whether to be a man or a woman or even change their sexual orientation several times in their life. It is clear that in this perspective the spousal value between man and woman, the value of motherhood and fatherhood, is lost. The only role considered is being parents without considering the reference to men and women. At the center is the ‘absolute freedom of the individual’ who disposes of oneself, including their own body, in order to pursue their own image of happiness. In this way the idea is proposed that the human person can be thought of abstractly, without reference to sexual difference.

d) An interesting Greek myth (androgynous)
This ideological proposal is actually inspired by the thoughts of some ancient Greek philosophers who thought that the human being was originally neither man nor woman. Man was imagined as a sphere perfectly complete in itself. The difference arises when, due to the envy of the gods for the condition of man, this sphere is divided in half and since then the two halves have continuously searched for each other. Like two halves of an apple. In this vision, the difference between man and woman would be negative and love should lead to fusion between lovers and return to forming an undivided sphere. In reality, as we know well, the relationship between man and woman is never that of two halves that blend perfectly. For this reason, in love relationships we are often disappointed because falling in love seems to promise a total fusion with the other person. The other person is always different from what we thought. The fusion of the two halves is never achieved. In this sense, man appears as an incomplete being. 

4. The Christian vision: the good of the difference between man and woman in the image of God

What is the Christian vision of the difference between man and woman? Let's start from the book of Genesis. Contrary to the Greek myth, the difference is original and very positive. In the Bible we have two stories. In the first it is clearly said that the difference between man and woman is part of our being made in the image of God. Being a man and a woman expresses something of the mystery of God. In the second story it is described that God creates the woman from Adam's rib so that she may be similar to him and stand before him with equal dignity. Upon awakening him, Adam expresses his joy in seeing the woman. The difference between man and woman is desirable and a source of joy. In Christian revelation, then, Christ himself as the incarnate son of God is written in sexual difference and lives his mission as the Bridegroom who gives his life for his bride, who is the Church. Therefore, Christianly, the ideal between man and woman is expressed by the relationship between Christ and the Church. A fruitful bond that generates a new people, the people of the children of God. Why do we find it so difficult today to recognize the value of the difference between men and women? First of all, the fact that we are born as a man, or a woman tells us that each of us cannot be everything in life. No one can be self-sufficient. To be oneself, everyone needs the other.  Every man and woman have before them, not a half, but another way of being a human person, which is a source of attraction, but which can never be reached and surpassed. The Christian ideal is never the fusion of lovers but the fruitful reciprocity of difference. True love between man and woman is never closed but always remains open. For this reason, the reciprocity between man and woman opens up the space for fertility, for the generation of new creatures.Therefore, in the relationship between man and woman we learn to recognize the value of the other. Loving is always welcoming the other who is different from me. Our culture today is highly narcissistic. We are tempted to love only those who are equal to us. But the difference between men and women reminds us that loving always means loving the other who is different from me. Therefore, we become fathers and mothers first and foremost in the reciprocal relationship between man and woman. They must never possess each other but love, that is, recognize each other as given to each other for a task and a mission. This is why marriage is a fundamental Christian vocation. Through their fruitful love, man and woman go beyond themselves towards the future. Closed love is always selfish. Being fathers and mothers means transmitting life to the future generations who will continue to live on this earth even when we are no longer here. Becoming fathers and mothers means accepting to pass on life to your children, passing on to them the meaning of life and the fundamental values.

5. Traits of a Christian fatherhood

When we think about how to be fathers, the simple and powerful figure of Saint Joseph emerges for us. He was indeed the sign of divine paternity for Jesus; he was the guardian of the redeemer. He certainly constitutes a fundamental reference for understanding the Christian meaning of fatherhood.
He was the husband of the Virgin Mary. He took care of them, protected them, accompanied them. Saint Joseph shines for his love full of respect towards Mary. Saint Joseph accompanies Jesus as he grew up into an adult. Joseph immediately leads us to understand that to be fathers, we must be humble. We ask Saint Joseph to teach us not to be authoritarian fathers and not to be absent fathers, but to be present in the family with tenderness and respect.

In conclusion I would like to recall some phrases from Pope Francis that open up the new horizons for us on being fathers today, taken from his letter on Saint Joseph: ‘with the heart of a Father’. Let us now listen to some expressions of Pope Francis:
  “Fathers are not born but made. A man does not become a father simply by bringing a child into the world, but by taking up the responsibility to care for that child. Whenever a man accepts responsibility for the life of another, in some way he becomes a father to that person”. 

Here is a very precise description of the paternity:
  “Being a father entails introducing children to life and reality. Not holding them back, being overprotective or possessive, but rather making them capable of deciding for themselves, enjoying freedom and exploring new possibilities. Perhaps for this reason, Joseph is traditionally called a “most chaste” father. That title is not simply a sign of affection, but the summation of an attitude that is the opposite of possessiveness. Chastity is freedom from possessiveness in every sphere of one’s life. Only when love is chaste, is it truly love. A possessive love ultimately becomes dangerous: it imprisons, constricts and makes for misery. God himself loved humanity with a chaste love; he left us free even to go astray and set ourselves against him. The logic of love is always the logic of freedom, and Joseph knew how to love with extraordinary freedom. He never made himself the center of things. He did not think of himself, but focused instead on the lives of Mary and Jesus”.

Pope Francis invites you to look at your children with this chaste love, free from self-interest, desiring their good:
  Every child is the bearer of a unique mystery that can only be brought to light with the help of a father who respects that child’s freedom. … In every exercise of our fatherhood, we should always keep in mind that it has nothing to do with possession but is rather a “sign” pointing to a greater fatherhood. In a way, we are all like Joseph: a shadow of the heavenly Father, who “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mt 5:45). 

6. To truly be fathers, don't stop being children

Dearest Fathers, dearest husbands, how can we live being a father in this way? 
There is only one path: never stop being children, even when you become fathers. It must be said that not only we were children, but even now we are children. You become authoritarian fathers when you forget that we are children; we become absent fathers when we forget that you are children. Being children means being aware that we exist because we are wanted, we are loved, we were chosen and elected to be alive, to the glory of God who is the father of all. In this sense it is true to say that the Father is ultimately only God. But here on earth, we are called to be a sign of the fatherhood of God. We must be witnesses of the love of God the Father. How to do this? Living life as children of God, living the Christian experience in its entirety. Participate in the life of the Church. Pray - pray with your wife, pray for your children and pray with your children. Attend the Sunday mass together as a family, united with Christ through the listening of the word of God and through the Eucharist. Have the humility to approach the sacrament of confession which keeps us humble because it makes us aware that we are limited and sinners. With confession we return to the grace of baptism. All these things help us to live as children of God and recognize God as the source of life. In this way you will be fathers to your children. That is, you will be able to introduce your children to the meaning of life. You will be able to show them the way. You will be witnesses of the heavenly Father to them.

As you can see, I have not given you technical solutions to your questions, but I hope to have helped you in finding the right position in life to be good husbands and good fathers. First and foremost, only being children of God, we can be good fathers, for God never stops drawing us into his infinite love. Secondly, You are not just parents, but fathers and mothers, which draws our attention to the truth that being father is possible only by the reciprocity between man and a woman. So being father is the sign of love of Christ for your wife, recognizing God in your wife, recognizing your children as the gift of God for your open and free love. God gave children to you so that you can be fathers.  Therefore, you cannot be authoritarian father and not to be absent father, but a father like St Joseph, full of tenderness and goodness towards your family. Help your children grow in that same goodness, to make them in their time true fathers and mothers of the new generation. This is our call to be the face of the heavenly Father in your own family, to be the sign of his presence among us. We cannot be good fathers without taking God as our reference and trying to live that love, tenderness, and mercy every day in our life and the family, until the end of the history where we will all be in the joy of His kingdom looking face to face at the mystery of God, inexhaustible source of life and destiny of every living thing.


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Speakers At the Conference

Each of speakers at the 1st Catholic Men's Leadership Conference have a grace-filled background, years of mission work with inspirational experiences gained along the way. And all are here to share it with You ! 

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Frtiz Mascarenhas 

Member of Institute for World Evangelization ICPE


Deacon Roy D'Monte

Deacon At Service at
St Mary's Church Dubai


Bishop Paolo Martinelli 

Apostolic Vicar Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia

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Fr. Peter Fernando 

Office Avosa Family Ministry


Luke Coutinho

Wellness Coach 
LC Holistic Health

Our most asked Question ......
What is the Men's Conference all about ?

And the next one .. Who is the Conference for ? 


Spiritual Enrichment

The Catholic Men's Conference provides an environment for spiritual growth and enrichment. It offers a chance to pray together, as a unit of brotherhood and rejuvenate oneself spiritually. At the conference will be the relics of Saints. Louis and Zélie Martin, the first married couple to be canonized in the catholic church & parents of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. 


Brotherhood, Fellowship and Evangelization

The conference fosters a sense of brotherhood and fellowship among attendees. Sharing this experience with like-minded men who are also on their faith journey can be deeply fulfilling. It provides a supportive network for ongoing spiritual growth. The journey begins with a simple Yes. Yes, to the His voice on one's own journey of faith. By attending these conferences, men can become better-equipped evangelizers. They can carry the message of the conference and their experience back to their parishes and communities, encouraging others to deepen their faith and to discern God's Will for them


Mentorship and Guidance

It features experienced priests, religious and laymen who are willing to share their wisdom and insights. These mentors can provide guidance on living a life for God and neighbor in a deeper way. Perhaps you are one of the "experienced ones", this is a chance for you to help your younger brothers in Christ through prayer, example, and encouragement.


Strengthening Families and Communities

Men who attend these conferences often return home with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to their families and communities. The spiritual growth and insights gained can positively impact marriages, parenting, and local church involvement. Sense of direction where we lie within all the many roles held . Our very own Jesus Youth Music Ministry in attendance to lead us in praise. 

Who is the Conference for ? 

The Conference is for all men. Men looking to make a difference in their life. Men who are growing in leadership. Men who are looking for inspiration from senior leaders, those who have a need to understand better how to  balance their life, those who are struggling with different kinds of pressure & stress and need to know that it can be managed. Men who are looking to be enriched by the Word of God and know Him more. The Conference is for all men.

ആദ്യ പുരുഷ സമ്മേളനം

വികാരിയേറ്റിൻ്റെ പ്രഥമ കാത്തലിക് മെൻസ് കോൺഫെറെൻസ് !(Men's Conference)

അഭിവന്ദ്യ ബിഷപ്പ് പൗലോ മാർട്ടിനെല്ലിയുടെ മാർഗ്ഗനിർദ്ദേശത്തിലും നേതൃത്വത്തിലും, സതേൺ അറേബ്യയിലെ അപ്പസ്‌തോലിക് വികാരിയേറ്റ് (AVOSA) യിൽ ആദ്യമായി,  വികാരിയേറ്റിലെ അവിവാഹിതരും വിവാഹിതരും  സമർപ്പിതരുമായ കത്തോലിക്കാ വിശ്വാസികൾക്കായ് ഫാമിലി മിനിസ്ട്രി ഒരുക്കുന്ന  ഒരു  അതുല്യസംഗമത്തിലേക്ക് , ലീഡേഴ്സിനെയും  ഭാവിവാഗ്‌ദാനങ്ങളായ നിങ്ങളേവരേയും ഹാർദ്ദവമായി ക്ഷണിക്കുന്നു .

പുരുഷന്മാർക്ക് വിശ്വാസത്തിൽ വളരാനും അവരുടെ ജീവിതത്തിൽ ദൈവവിളി വിവേചിച്ചറിയാനും സഭയുടെ ദൗത്യത്തിന് സംഭാവന നൽകാനും അതുല്യവും അമൂല്യവുമായ അവസരമാണ് ഈ മെൻസ് കോൺഫെറെൻസ് നൽകുന്നത് . 

കൂടാതെ  പ്രചോദനാത്മകമായ കാത്തലിക് പ്രഭാഷണങ്ങൾ, തുറന്ന സംഭാഷണങ്ങൾ, റിഫ്ലക്ഷൻസ്‌  മുതലായവ ഉൾപ്പെടുത്തിയിരിക്കുന്ന ഈ മനോഹരമായ കൂട്ടായ്മ വഴി  നമ്മുടെ  വികാരിയേറ്റിലെ വ്യത്യസ്‌ത തലങ്ങളിലുള്ളപുരുഷന്മാർക്ക് ഒരുമിച്ചു കൂടുവാനും കൂടുതൽ വിശ്വാസം തേടാനും  കണ്ടെത്താനും  അവരുടെ സ്വന്തം അനുഭവങ്ങൾ  പങ്കിടാനുമുള്ള  ഒരു ഉത്തമ വേദിയാകാൻ   ഈ മെൻസ് കോൺഫറൻസ് വഴിയൊരുക്കുന്നു 
കൂടുതൽ അറിയാൻ നിങ്ങളുടെ ഫാമിലി മിനിസ്ട്രി  കോർഡിനേറ്ററുമായി ബന്ധപ്പെടുക !!

Ang 1st Catholic Men's Conference ng Vicariate

Sa ilalim ng gabay at pamumuno ni H.E.  Bishop Paolo Martinelli, sa unang pagkakataon sa Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia (AVOSA), ang Office of the Family Ministry ay nagho-host ng isang natatanging kaganapan na pinagsasama-sama ang mga katoliko ng ating vicariate;  Walang-asawa, May-asawa at Consecrated.

Tinatawagan ang lahat ng mga Pinuno at Mga Sumisikat na Pinuno sa Hinaharap!!

 Ang mga kumperensya ng mga kalalakihang Katoliko ay nag-aalok ng natatangi at napakahalagang pagkakataon para sa mga lalaki na lumago sa pananampalataya, tumulong na makilala ang tawag ng Diyos para sa kanila sa kanilang buhay, at mag-ambag sa misyon ng Simbahan.  Isang pagtitipon na may mga motivational catholic speaker, bukas na pag-uusap, panloob na pagmumuni-muni, at fraternity, na kumukuha ng pinakamahusay mula sa mga lalaking dumalo.  Ito ay kung saan ang mga Lalaki ay naghahanap at nakakahanap ng higit pang Pananampalataya.  Nais naming pagsama-samahin ang mga Lalaking may iba't ibang tungkulin sa aming vicariate na magsama-sama upang magkapatid at magbahagi ng kanilang sariling mga karanasan at pakikibaka sa isang pag-uusap.  Ito ay isang araw para parangalan ang mga lalaking nag-aalay ng kanilang oras at paglilingkod sa mga simbahan ng ating vicariate.

 Makipag-ugnayan sa iyong Family Ministry Coordinator para malaman ang higit pa!!

 Ang aming pinakatinatanong na Tanong  …Tungkol saan ang 1st Catholic Men's Conference ?

01  Espirituwal na Pagpapayaman

 Ang Catholic Men's Conference ay nagbibigay ng kapaligiran para sa espirituwal na paglago at pagpapayaman.  Nag-aalok ito ng pagkakataong manalangin nang sama-sama, bilang isang yunit ng kapatiran at pasiglahin ang sarili sa espirituwal.  Sa kumperensya ay ang mga labi ng mga Banal.  Louis at Zélie Martin, ang unang mag-asawang na-canonize sa simbahang katoliko at mga magulang ni Saint Thérèse ng Lisieux. 

02 Mentorship at Guidance

 Tampok dito ang mga makaranasang pari, relihiyoso at layko na handang magbahagi ng kanilang karunungan at pananaw.  Ang mga tagapagturo na ito ay maaaring magbigay ng gabay sa pamumuhay ng isang buhay para sa Diyos at kapwa sa mas malalim na paraan.  Marahil isa ka sa mga “experienced”, ito ay isang pagkakataon para matulungan mo ang iyong mga nakababatang kapatid kay Kristo sa pamamagitan ng panalangin, halimbawa, at pagpapalakas ng loob.


 03 Kapatiran, Pakikipagkapwa at Ebanghelisasyon

 Ang kumperensya ay nagpapalakas ng pakiramdam ng kapatiran at pakikisama sa mga dadalo.  Ang pagbabahagi ng karanasang ito sa mga lalaking katulad ng pag-iisip na nasa kanilang paglalakbay sa pananampalataya ay maaaring maging lubos na kasiya-siya.  Nagbibigay ito ng suportang network para sa patuloy na espirituwal na paglago.  Ang aming mismong Jesus Youth Music Ministry na dumalo upang manguna sa amin sa papuri.


 04 Pagpapalakas ng mga Pamilya at Komunidad

 Ang mga lalaking dumalo sa mga kumperensyang ito ay madalas na umuuwi nang may panibagong layunin at pangako sa kanilang mga pamilya at komunidad.  Ang espirituwal na paglago at mga insight na natamo ay maaaring positibong makaapekto sa mga pag-aasawa, pagiging magulang, at paglahok sa lokal na simbahan.  Ang pakiramdam ng direksyon kung saan tayo ay nasa loob ng lahat ng maraming tungkuling ginagampanan. 


 Para kanino ang Conference

 Ang Kumperensya ay para sa lahat ng lalaki.  Mga lalaking naghahanap ng pagbabago sa kanilang buhay.  Mga lalaki na lumalaki sa pamumuno.  Mga lalaking naghahanap ng inspirasyon mula sa mga nakatataas na pinuno, mga taong may pangangailangan na mas maunawaan kung paano balansehin ang kanilang buhay, mga taong nahihirapan sa iba't ibang uri ng pressure at stress at kailangang malaman na ito ay maaaring pamahalaan.  Mga lalaking naghahangad na pagyamanin ng Salita ng Diyos at mas kilala Siya.  Ang Kumperensya ay para sa lahat ng lalaki.

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