Off to a strong start, thanks to the vision and commitment of Monsignor John McCaffrey.
Bryan-College Station, TX. January 17, 2008. The newest Conquest group in the United States was a success off the bat with its first official activity at the Extra Innings Indoor Batting Cages in College Station, Texas on January 10, 2008. Over 70 boys and 25 dads, Monsignor John McCaffrey, and several priests and brothers were present to kick off the newly established group.
Monsignor John McCaffrey, of St Joseph’s parish in Bryan, TX played a key leadership role in starting the College Station Conquest club by gathering several dads from his parish to plan and organize the project. Only four weeks later, the club was a reality, with an even greater turnout expected at the next club meeting.
This first meeting was all action, as the TV report on KBTX news makes clear. After competing for individual best batting averages, followed by a pizza dinner, the boys took part in a batting competition by teams. Prizes were awarded for good spirit and for bringing the most boys to the event.
A much anticipated highlight came when Msgr. McCaffrey himself stepped into the cages, and demonstrated his proficiency with the bat, hitting well over .500.
After the hitting competition, the new Conquest members and their dads watched a Conquest DVD on the story of Brian Bisgrove. After the video, Monsignor McCaffrey gave a few words of encouragement to the new club members. As a token of gratitude, Nate Kennedy presented him with a baseball signed by all those present. Then came the official member registration, followed by a prayer entrusting the growth and fidelity of the group to Our Lady… and the Conquest battle cry: Christ our King, Thy Kingdom Come!
When asked what special gift Conquest had to offer its participants, Monsignor McCaffrey highlighted the fact that the club brings fathers and sons together in a united witness. “I think it’s going to benefit the fathers just as much as the boys to participate in these activities with their sons, and to practice the virtues of Christ,” he said. “With the fathers radiating and practicing and living these virtues, it gives tremendous witness to the boys to go forward and practice what Christ asks them to do.”
He also emphasized that the program enriches the whole family. “I think Conquest can bring an opportunity for these families to live their faith, not just study it and have an academic relationship with Christ, but to have an ongoing personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” he said. “There are other boys’ organizations, but this is the only one in which fathers and sons can relate and share and be together. And the mothers are very excited to see their husbands and their sons doing something in the Church.”
The parish and the larger community also have much to gain from a strengthened male witness. “It’s very good for the parishes to see the fathers and sons excited about their faith, living their faith, practicing their faith,” he said.
“It’s not only in our parish,” he noted, “but there were boys and fathers from other parishes as well. It’s a very good instrument for the whole Brazos Valley.”
Bryan-College Station, a small town 90 miles away from Houston, has set a high standard for the Conquest groups across the United States and Canada. They are off to a running start, and the best is yet to come.
Other related links: Bishop blesses club in Bryan / College Station, TX https://www.kbtx.com/community/headlines/15573327.html