JEFFERSON CITY — Catholics from all corners of Missouri are invited to the state capitol Oct. 4 for the 19th annual Missouri Catholic Conference Assembly.
This year’s theme will be “Marriage and Family at the Crossroads,” and will be held the day before the world Synod of Bishops meets for a historic discussion of the modern challenges confronting families.
Keynote speaker for the assembly will be Ed Hogan, Phd, associate professor of systematic theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. A husband and father of six children, Hogan will examine ways in which the church and its people can help strengthen family life in an era in which:
• Federal courts are ruling that civil marriage is no longer exclusively between a man and a woman.
• Divorce rates continue to skyrocket.
• Couples cohabit and babies are born out of wedlock.
• Unmarried fathers continue to drive away and lose contact with their children.
The daylong conference will also be filled with a choice of workshops that will help Catholics become better advocates in the public arena for strong family life.
Dino Durando, director of the Family Life Office of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, will lead a workshop examining the U.S. bishops’ 1991 pastoral, “Putting Families and Children First” that not only prophetically detailed challenges to families that remain, but offered remedies. Durando and workshop participants will explore how much has changed in the 23 years since the document, and what lessons it taught that can assist families today.
St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson will also offer a workshop on “A Lifetime of Faith for a Happy Marriage,” which will build on the archbishop’s own pastoral on “The Spiritual Life.” Archbishop Carlson will discuss the blessings marriages receive when a couple develops together a deeper relationship with Jesus through prayer, understanding and generosity.
Among other workshops, J.S. Onesimo Sandoval will use data from the U.S. Census Bureau to examine “The Changing Demographic Portrait of the American Family.”
Camdenton physician Dr. R. Wayne Cooper will discuss how the Missouri General Assembly’s decision not to expand Medicaid coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act has impacted Missouri’s poor.
Nancy Hoey, of Grace Counseling of Jefferson City, will discuss “Managing Stressors of Family Life.”
Todd Mayfield, Robin McClay and Mary Beth Hoey, of Jefferson City will lead a workshop on “Parenting the Child with Special Needs.”
Halbert Sullivan and Sister Carol Schumer of the Father’s Support Center in St. Louis, will discuss “Strengthening Families through Responsible Father Engagement.”
Sister Jackie Toben, of Let’s Start in St. Louis, will discuss “The Impact of Incarceration on Families.”
About 500 participants attend each year, and advance registration is encouraged, either online at MOcatholic.org, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-456-1679.
A free box lunch will be served, and the day will end with Mass concelebrated by Missouri’s bishops.
Bus transportation will also be available from Kansas City. A chartered bus will leave St. Charles Borromeo Parish, 900 NE Shady Lane Dr. in Kansas City, north, at 6:30 a.m. and return at 7 p.m.
The bus will be provided at no charge, but a suggested donation of $10 per person or $20 per family would be accepted.
Reservations for the bus can be made by e-mail at email@example.com, or by calling (816) 714-2373.