Jesus actor, Austrian archduke, Ohio archbishop join 'Superbowl of Catholic men's conferences'

Actor Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus Christ in the streaming series "The Chosen," is pictured in a scene depicting the Sermon on the Mount. The American actor and practicing Catholic headlines the upcoming National Men's Conference set for March 25, 2023, at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati. (OSV News photo/Vidangel Studios)

(OSV News) – Jonathan Roumie, the American actor and practicing Catholic best known for his TV role as Jesus Christ in "The Chosen," headlines the upcoming National Men's Conference set for March 25 at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati.

Described as the highest crowd-funded multi-season TV series of all time, "The Chosen" is a TV historical drama about Jesus' three-year ministry recorded in the Gospel that is available on streaming media platforms. Some 108 million worldwide have seen part of an episode of "The Chosen," according to an analysis commissioned by the producers.

"Roumie is arguably the most famous Christian actor going right now and his newest movie, 'The Jesus Revolution,' is breaking records left and right," said Joe Condit, founder and chairman of the National Men's Conference who had sought to bring the event back to his hometown of Cincinnati this year after it first debuted there in 1994.

Condit, who is now a technology entrepreneur based in Austin, Texas, said he attended that first men's conference with his father, where the two heard from special guest speaker and NFL coach Mike Ditka.

Condit went on to found the Catholic Speakers Organization along with his work on the National Men's Conference, which he hopes convenes more than 5,000 participants this year along with online participants.

"This conference is now the Superbowl of Catholic men's conferences," Condit told OSV News. "This is not just an event, we are creating a movement and a culture by connecting good men and giving them a way to find each other."

"When that happens, it is electric – God takes us in places none of us could have foreseen," Condit added.

Other speakers at the March 25 event include Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr; Archduke Carl Christian of Austria, Prince of Habsburg-Lorraine, grandson of Blessed Karl of Austria; along with Bishop Earl K. Fernandes of Columbus, Ohio; and Jesuit Father Robert Spitzer, president of the California-based Magis Center.

Catholic men in 2023, Condit said, need an opportunity to come together as men and regroup following the tumult of the past decade and a fast-paced world growing ever more secular.

Condit said the conference offers a well-paced day of inspiration, fellowship and theological instruction to set the stage for a renewed commitment to live for Christ among Catholic men.

"It is as if we were at halftime at a really intense sports game, and we need to regroup," Condit said.

"There is a lot of unexpected stuff that has happened in our lives in the last 10 years. We don't have to be perfect tomorrow; we just need to improve an inch every day," he added.

"We are up against a culture that is just demoralizing men and the Catholic faith more than ever before. Men need to have a refresher on their own faith and to see that there are other men in the room who are like themselves," Condit said, adding he encourages adult men to bring their school-aged sons for a discount.

The conference also includes a panel discussion featuring NFL players and a chaplain from the Cincinnati Bengals and the Indianapolis Colts. Additional motivational speakers, diocesan youth and young adult ministry leaders and campus ministry directors round out the program.

Condit said he is especially proud to be presenting Archduke Christian, who Condit said is coming to the U.S. to give his first-ever public speech, at age 68. Christian hails from what is arguably one of the most famous royal families of all time. His grandfather, Blessed Karl, was the last reigning emperor of Austria-Hungary.

"He has never spoken in the U.S., and I was able to ask him to come talk about what it means to be a true Catholic leader and pass on your legacy in faith and family to the next generation," Condit said.

"He knows a thing or two about adversity, protecting your family and protecting your faith. We all may not be royalty, but we may think of times we have been attacked or faced adversity because of our faith," Condit said.

Condit added that he also created a social media platform to help men attending the conference stay in touch with each other and tap into online resources following the conference.

"My mission with this conference is that men improve a little every day and that a year from now, they will be much closer to Christ next year," he said.


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