Living the Catholic Faith Conference to feature ‘Youth Day’ track
By Julie Filby
LIVING CATHOLIC FAITH CONFERENCE
The Living the Catholic Faith Conference, coming up March 2-3 in Denver, provides Catholics of all ages and stages with resources to help them live the word of God in their daily lives.
The event will feature two days of workshops, Masses, exhibits from Christian vendors and organizations, and keynote talks headlined by Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court; Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, planetary scientist and curator of meteorites for the Vatican Observatory; Chris Stefanick, director of youth, youth adult and campus ministry for the Denver Archdiocese; and John L. Allen Jr., longtime Vatican analyst and National Catholic Reporter senior correspondent.
More than 20 workshops will cover themes including prayer, Scripture, confession, engaging in the public square, marriage and family life.
Steve Markel, will present a workshop “Families of Character” based on a program he co-founded in Denver four years ago to assist couples with instilling virtues in day-to-day family life.
“God wants us to use a natural means to grow in supernatural grace,” said Markel. “It’s like a radio station that broadcasts a signal—God is broadcasting grace to us by living natural virtue … that allows us to grow in supernatural virtues: faith, hope and love.”
The presentation, targeting parents and grandparents with children up to 12 years old, will discuss challenges as well as solutions.
“First, families need to understand the challenges they’re facing in our current culture,” he said. “I’ll talk about some of those challenges and some of the solutions.”
To develop virtue, one’s knowledge must translate to action.
“I could read a lot of books about virtue, and have a total understanding of it, but does that mean I’m a more virtuous person? Not at all,” he said. “The solution is how to develop those virtues on an ongoing basis.
“I’ll give people ‘a track to run on,’” he said.
Markel—husband of 35 years, father, grandfather, parishioner of St. Vincent de Paul in Denver, and former investment management firm executive—has been involved in bringing parenting programs to families for nearly 20 years.
“There’s a lot of research that shows the results of virtuousness lived-well are happiness and health,” he said. “A family that is virtuous has a great deal of unity… they’re happier, healthier, more productive, successful … (so) they’re not only helpful to each other, but productive to society.”
Additional workshop presenters include biblical scholars Thomas Smith, Mary Healy, Ben Akers and Tim Gray; writers Jennifer Fulwiler and Mark Shea; Msgr. Bernard Schmitz; Father John Riley; Jenny Kraska of the Colorado Catholic Conference; Father Andrew Kemberling and Mila Glodava of St. Thomas More Catholic Parish in Centennial; and marriage ministers Terri and Andrew Lyke.
A new feature this year is a gathering specifically for teenagers on Saturday. “Youth Day: A Celebration of Faith and Purity,” for students from eighth through 12th grade, will consist of a keynote talk by Catholic Answers Live radio host Patrick Coffin titled “Saying ‘yes’ to God’s plan for your life;” praise and worship music from the Matt Miller Band, skits, eucharistic adoration; and a keynote talk by Jason and Crystalina Evert: “Romance without regret: saying ‘yes’ to real love.”
“So often when young people hear a chastity talk, they expect to hear merely about abstinence—what they can’t do, what they can’t have, scare tactics and guilt trips,” said Jason Evert. “But there’s a richness in the Church’s teachings on sexuality that can’t be reduced to some list of prohibitions.”
The couple will share different experiences and perspectives.
“I come from a perspective of having saved my virginity for marriage,” said Jason. “And my wife shares her perspective of having lost her virginity in high school and how she started over.”
He said there’s more to purity than “technical virginity.”
“I started over in my own ways,” he said. “It’s not just technical virginity; the standard is purity, which is your mind, heart, body, imagination, conversation, your dancing and your wardrobe.”
The couple, who released “How To Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul” last year, will address pornography, modesty, starting over, purity and how to know how far is too far. They speak to 100,000 youth each year.
The conference begins Friday with Mass celebrated by Colorado Springs Bishop Michael J. Sheridan. Saturday commences with Mass celebrated by Bishop James D. Conley, apostolic administrator of the archdiocese. Saturday’s line-up will include presentations in Spanish.
The conference will be held in the Wells Fargo Theater at the Colorado Convention Center at 700 14th St. in Denver. The cost is $55 for one day and $75 for two days; prices go up after Feb. 13. The youth day (Saturday only) costs $15. For more information, visit www.lcfcdenver.org or call 303-715-3260.