National singles conference to be held in Westminster
By Julie Filby
National Catholic Singles Conference
When: Jan. 27-29, 2012
Where: Westin Westminster, 10600 Westminster Blvd., Westminster
Cost before Nov. 30: $129, or $109 for students or military
Cost after Nov. 30: $159 or $139 for students or militaryRegister: www.NationalCatholicSingles.com or 608-561-1791 .
The National Catholic Singles Conference, set for Jan. 27-29, 2012, will be held in Westminster. The event, which started in Denver in 2005, is an opportunity for single Catholics of all ages to gather for two days of prayer, presentations and camaraderie.
“It can be difficult to live an authentically Catholic life as a single person in secular society,” said conference coordinator Darin Ries. “Having a network of friends to support you in your faith is very important and the NCSC gives singles a place to build that network.”
The conference has ministered to more than 3,000 Catholics since its inception; organizers expect more than 400 at the upcoming conference.
“We have a lot of fans in Denver,” Ries said. “A lot of past attendees are very excited about our coming back (to metro Denver).”
The event will feature five keynote talks, breakout workshops for men and women, opportunities for eucharistic adoration and confession, social time, a dinner and dance, and two Masses. The closing Mass Sunday will be celebrated by Denver’s apostolic administrator, Bishop James D. Conley.
Events kick off Friday evening with a mixer followed by a presentation from Mary Beth Bonacci known for engaging audiences with her lively talks on love, relationships and chastity. Fashion model-turned-missionary Mario St. Francis will serve as emcee.
Additional keynote speakers will be Jonathan Reyes, president and CEO of Catholic Charities and executive director of social ministry, delivering “Not Counting the Cost;” David Clayton, artist and professor at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, N.H., who will share his “Way of Beauty” program; Daughter of St. Paul Sister Helena Burns speaking on the media and its influence as people seek to live their Catholic faith; and author and counselor Roy Petitfils, who will close the sessions with “Are we fishers of men or keepers of the aquarium?”
“How do all of us, in our vocations in life, go out and share the good news?” said Petitfils, a high-energy speaker who spent five years studying for the priesthood before ultimately coming to the vocation of marriage.
“We all come to vocation differently,” said the father of two young boys. “We don’t come to happiness, peace and fulfillment by asking: ‘What do I need?’ We come to happiness, peace and fulfillment always—whether married, single, priest or religious—by asking: ‘What is God asking of me? What do others need?’”
In his talk Clayton will discuss the link between Catholic culture, with an emphasis on art and liturgy.
“(I will) show how the culture traditionally is in harmony with the patterns and the order of the cosmos,” he said. “God made us to respond to the cosmos. … It gives praise to (him) through its beauty…it is the means by which we model the patterns of the liturgy.”
Clayton said human relationships prepare the faithful for what’s “in store for us” (in heaven).
According to 2010 census data, there are 99.6 million unmarried people, 18 and older, in the United States. Figures included those never married, divorced or widowed.
“We’ve heard many stories of conversion and of people coming home to the Church because of … the conference,” said Ries. “We’ve seen many great friendships, and a few marriages formed.
“People come to learn, socialize and grow in their faith,” he added. “It’s a great weekend.”
The conference will be held at the Westin Westminster at 10600 Westminster Blvd. Early bird registration is available for $129 through Nov. 30. The fee includes meals. Attendees are also invited to attend a post-conference ski trip. For more information, visit www.NationalCatholic Singles.com or call 608-561-1791.