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January 14, 2009
Conference to observe Year of St. Paul
Annual Living the Catholic Faith Conference set Feb. 27-28
By John Gleason
The theme for this year’s Living the Catholic Faith Conference is “Live with Conviction—‘For the love of Christ compels us’ (2 Cor 5:14),” in observance of the Year of St. Paul. The conference, an annual event sponsored by the Denver Archdiocese, will consider various themes associated with the life of St. Paul, his love of the Church and his zeal for the faith.
This year’s event is set Feb. 27-29 in the Korbel Ballroom of the Colorado Convention Center.
Last year, the conference attracted 2,500 people. The popular event offers dynamic speakers offering insight into Catholic teachings and providing attendees with the scriptural and doctrinal background needed to live a life of genuine, informed Catholic witness. Opening day Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
All of the presentations seek to address practical questions posed by the lay faithful. As such, all Catholics, especially those who perhaps struggle to understand certain Church teachings, are encouraged to consider attending. The conference is open to all Catholic adults. A Spanish-language track will be offered on Saturday
Keynote speakers will include Colleen Carol Campbell, author of the book, “The New Faithful: Why Young adults are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy;” Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley, who will discuss “Heart Speaks to Heart,” which is his episcopal motto; and Marcus Grodi, president and founder of the Coming Home Network International (CHNI), whose address is titled, “Four Conversions.”
Campbell said she plans to share stories from the more than 500 interviews she conducted for her book.
“Young believers are the future of the Church,” she said. “But often, their longing for God is overlooked or misunderstood by our secular culture.”
There are several reasons for the many conversions today, Campbell said, listing attraction to tradition, rejection of the “have-it-your-way” faith that many of them learned as children and a desire to live counter-culturally in a society that they see as increasingly out of whack.
“In a sense today’s ‘new faithful’ are rebels against the values of yesterday’s hippies and sexual revolutionaries,” she said. “But their hunger for God runs much deeper than mere rebellion.”
Campbell hopes audience members come away from the conference knowing there’s hope for the future of the faith regardless of the direction political and cultural winds are blowing.
“In every generation, God raises up new leaders and believers to follow him and serve his Church,” she said.
Following a spiritual journey which resulted in his converting to Catholicism in 1992, Grodi and his wife Marilyn created CHNI to help others who are still on their own spiritual journey, a process he’ll address in his keynote talk.
“My address will be about conversion not as a one-time thing, but as a process of turning in the direction of God,” he said, “and how it involves getting over certain barriers. Catholics need to understand their faith more clearly so they can experience the blessings it offers.”
Grodi said that people also need to live out their faith in the community by helping the poor, spreading the faith and doing works of mercy, which can be difficult in the secular world.
“There are many voices in our lives that are trying to turn us away from God,” he said. “My hope is to encourage people to look into their lives and find a practical way that they can begin to start turning more in God’s direction.”
The two-day event will also host many other workshops, including professor-author Edward Sri speaking on “Men, Women and the Mystery of Love,” St. Mary School Principal Mary Cohen discussing the catechesis and formation of children, and Dominical Father Jay Harrington, S.T.D., of the Office of Liturgy, who will speak on “The Lukan Passion Narrative.”
The Colorado Convention Center is located at 1700 14th St. in Denver. Cost is $55 for one day, $75 for two days. Registrations after Feb. 6 cost an additional $10. For more information, visit online at archden.org/lcfc2009 or call 303-715-3261.