Looking for an evening celebrating faith, hope and courage? Look no farther than opening night of the 12th annual Midwest Catholic Family Conference, scheduled for Aug. 5-7 at Century II in Wichita.
Raising the curtain on the three-day event will be the interactive drama "The Great Adventure," presented by the traveling troupe Theater of the Word.
The production will feature children participating in the Conference joining actor and playwright Kevin O’Brien and the professional actors of Theater of the Word on stage in a funny and up-to-date depiction of the obstacles and choices young people face in their journey of faith.
The Theater of the Word group was inspired by the clandestine theater company of the same name run by Karol Wojtyla, later Pope Paul II, in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Following that performance, composer and virtuoso pianist Eric Genuis offers a new and refreshing approach to music when he presents his tour de force, "A Concert of Hope."
With his music described as combining fire, ardor and noble passion with tenderness and poetry, Genuis’ concerts thrill lovers or both classical and contemporary music alike.
Capping off the evening, former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson will share the gripping story of the life-changing experience that drove her from being a pro-choice proponent to becoming an outspoken pro-life advocate.
Johnson’s unique vantage point from both sides of the abortion clinic property line shines light and compassion into the political controversy that surrounds this issue.
The evening’s events are part of the weekend-long Conference, but registration for the entire weekend of activities is not required in order to attend the Friday night sessions, according to Kevin Regan, Conference co-chairman.
"Of course, we hope people will participate in the full slate of weekend activities," Regan noted, "But if they can’t, we certainly invite and encourage them to join us for Friday night only."
Advance tickets for the Conference’s Friday evening sessions only are $25 for a family, $23 for married couples, $13 for single adults, $10 for single seniors, and $5 for teens or children. Prices at the door will be $5 higher.
Advance tickets can be ordered online via the Register page of the Conference website, www.catholicfamilyconference.org, by email to email@example.com, by calling 316-618-9787, or by mail to Midwest Catholic Family Conference, P.O. Box 21301, Wichita, KS 67208.
In addition to the Friday evening entertainment, the Conference features nationally recognized lay and religious speakers offering programs for adults, young adults, teens and children.
Speakers on the conference schedule, in addition to Johnson, include:
• Dr. Ray Guarendi, esteemed clinical psychologist, author, radio host, and father of 10 adopted children;
• Rick Sarkisian, vocational rehabilitation counselor and author of "LifeWork" series of books and videos;
• Tim Staples, former Southern Baptist now a leading Catholic evangelist;
• Rev. Joseph Fessio, S. J., founder and head of leading Catholic publisher, friend and former student of Pope Benedict XVI;
• Martha Fernandez-Sardina, director of evangelization for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas, international bilingual speaker and consultant;
• Betty Brennan, former Satanist now dedicated to exposing evil in the world;
• Vinny Flynn, heads family-based ministry focused on music and writing;
• Susan Tassone, best-selling author and champion of the Holy Souls in Purgatory;
• Sister Mary Eucharista, S.M.M.C., teacher who helped found new religious community.
The Conference also provides numerous opportunities for devotions including Saturday Mass, with the Most Rev. Michael Jackels, Bishop of the Wichita Diocese, as principal celebrant and homilist, and an outdoor Eucharistic procession. Nearly 80 vendors will offer a wide range of religious articles, art, books, music, and other items.
Registration is required to attend the Midwest Catholic Family Conference in its entirety, and can be accomplished online at the event website, www.catholicfamilyconference.org, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling 316-618-9787, or by mail to Midwest Catholic Family Conference, P.O. Box 21301, Wichita, KS 67208.
Discount rates are available if registration is completed by July 15. Those planning to attend are encouraged to mention the Midwest Catholic Family Conference for special rates when making reservations at designated hotels near Century II.
To receive posts about the Conference on Facebook, go to your Facebook page and search for "Catholic Family Conference," then click on "Like." The Conference page will be added to your feed. Those interested can also learn more about the Conference by going to the Facebook event page "12th Annual Midwest Catholic Family Conference," and becoming a fan.