Published July 6, 2006
A conference for parents on “Cultivating Catholic Families: Building the Domestic Church” will be held on Saturday, July 22, to help participants to be more proactive in their children’s faith formation.
The conference will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will include speakers, a panel discussion, up-to-date and hands-on effective materials to purchase, and time for community building. Preceding that will be an informative day for homeschooling advice and encouragement on Friday, July 21, from 1 to 8 p.m. Both events will be held at Mary Our Queen Church, 6260 The Corners Parkway, Norcross, and the Saturday conference will conclude with Mass at 5 p.m.
One keynote speaker both days will be Dr. Janet Smith, who is chair of life ethics and professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and author of “Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later” as well as many articles on ethical and bioethics issues. Over 700,000 copies of her tape “Contraception: Why Not?” have been distributed. She speaks nationally and internationally on various issues, especially the church’s teaching on sexuality.
On Saturday, another keynote speaker is Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, founder of Ignatius Press and provost at Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla. He will speak on the importance of a Catholic college for those pivotal years, and on the book “The Spirit of the Liturgy” authorized by (then Cardinal Ratzinger) Pope Benedict XVI.
Father Jack Durkin, pastor of St. Monica Church in Duluth, will speak on Saturday on the topic of authority and empowering parents to reclaim it in their children’s lives. As a former middle and high school teacher and former chaplain at St. Pius X High School, Atlanta, he has gleaned much wisdom in how to reach out effectively to teens.
Speaker Father Joseph Peek, parochial vicar at Mary Our Queen Church, will speak to parents on a Catholic worldview and how children can embrace it as their own. As one of three religious vocations in a family of 11 children, Father Peek offers proof that parents can raise children to be righteous adults in a turbulent world.
Also to be featured on both days is Rita Munn of Catholic Heritage Curricula. Munn is a mother of 10 who will speak on mothering, family life and homeschooling. Apologist Ken Henderson will speak on counteracting pornography and other cultural snares and instilling faith in children.
Other Friday speakers are Dr. Mary Kay Clark of Seton Home Study School, and Cay Gibson, a mother of five and author of “Literature Alive!—A Booklover’s Companion” and “Catholic Mosaic” and who oversees the online library House of Literature that promotes literacy and reading as a family. Mother of Divine Grace consultant Tracy Stringer will also speak Friday.
In addition, a panel of priests will discuss topics such as bioethics, canon law, liturgy and basic Catholicism.
The conference will address the many obstacles facing parents today, with the intention of providing practical, proactive and reliable tools so parents can fulfill their ministry to build and form their children in faith. Organizers hope to help parents to offer their families a fuller experience of Catholicism and stretch their children’s understanding of faith past a Sunday duty or sentimental sacramentology based on a merely academic catechesis. Talks are also designed to inspire parents to live their own faith more fully and to inspire their children to follow that example.
“There really is no lack of faith among our parents, only a lack of the practical knowledge and skills to overcome the fear of inadequacy they encounter when it comes to their self-assessed ability to pass that which is most important to them on to their children,” organizers wrote in a letter to pastors.
Participants will be challenged to consider topics such as their children’s faith and whether it clashes with culture, staying Catholic in college, courting a Catholic, whether chastity is reasonable, and what more they might do to supplement their child’s education.
Cost for an individual is $20 for one day or $30 for both days; for a couple or family the cost is $30 for one day and $40 for two days. No child care will be provided, but a parent can stay with a child in the nursery with a sound feed to hear speakers.
To register visit gacatholicconference.org. For information call (678) 513-9275.