Monday, July 14, 2008


...First Annual Conference was this weekend and Hugo and I are honoured to have attended it. Let me introduce you to the speakers, and their websites, that we became acquainted with through Envoy. In most cases we were able to chat, sometimes briefly, and other times extensively, with the speakers whom you will see show cased in this post.

Keynote speaker of the weekend was Dr. PETER KREEFT. To meet Dr Kreeft click here. Be sure to listen to at least one of his talks. You will be amazed, absorbed and uplifted. I LOVE listening to Dr. Kreeft, a most humble, but incredibly intelligent man.

Oh my, whom to introduce you to next? I guess it would be easiest to just go through them in the order of when they talked. First was Hector Molina who spoke of the New Evangelization and reminded us all, that the principle calling of the church is to evangelize. Currently Hector is the founding Director of the new Archdiocesan of the New Evangelization in the archdiocese of Saint Louise. Be sure to explore his site well as it is filled with hidden treasures.

Thankfully Hector's talk on the call to evangelize was followed by Dr. Thigpen, editor of the Catholic Answer, recently hired to teach at Southern Catholic and author of Star of the Sea website. Dr. Paul Thigpen carefully guided us through a practical list of just how one can evangelize. It does not, thankfully, necessarily mean gathering up a group of enthusiastic Catholics and then marching through a neighbourhood; patiently & persistently knocking on doors. Rather there are some very practical steps we use to evangelize, some of which are:
Answer a question.
Ask a question.
Recommend a book.
Share a meaningful experience with God.
Offer to pray.
These are just some of the practical means to evangelize that Dr. Thigpen shared with us.

Hugo and I enjoyed meeting Dr Thigpen and chatting with him personally. He is a most humble and intelligent speaker. His journey to the Catholic faith is a fascinating read.

If my memory serves me correctly, Dr Thigpen was followed by Tom Peterson who not only was delightful to listen to, but most interesting to chat with. Both Hugo and I both were able to talk to him and his lovely wife after dinner. It was then we learned that there was a Spanish version of his website. He is currently using the media to reach out to fallen away Catholics and his website commercials can be seen during half time of football games and such shows as Sex in the City. (No, there will no links to this!) They have had incredible results with these commercials, but sadly I am not good remembering numbers and did not think to write them down. My bad!

Then we were educated by Serrin Foster, current president of Feminists for Life. She brought us back in time and introduced us not only to the original feminists, but also their strong prolife/anti abortion message. Unfortunately, Seerin was struggling with laryngitis and so she could not quite speak her complete alloted time. However in chatting with her later, I learned that Senator Dole is the chief sponsor of a bill that will help facilitate colleges and university students to provide much needed support to the unwed mother to stay in school. Serrin shared that over and over the most common listed reason for an abortion was the fear of not being able to finish school and so end up in a life of poverty for themself and their child. (Please note I am not saying I think there is a 'good' reason to have an abortion, but if this is the chief reason given, and we can help eliminate this reason - I'm all for that.)

Following a lovely three course dinner, of which the chocolate dessert was my highlight, we all gathered once more in the auditorium to hear the keynote speaker of Friday evening who was Teresa Tomeo. This was an incredible delight for me as I typically drink my first cup of tea with Teresa while I work on my computer. Only, as I am never in time to catch the introduction of her show on Ave Maria, I did not realize that I was about to get to see and listen to, in person, my favourite morning companion. Once she opened her mouth and her lovely resonant voice filled the auditorium, I recognized her immediately and leaned forward with delight. I recognized names she mentioned in her talk as well as some of the details of her life story. Her aim was to educate us as to the harmful effect the media has on us and our children. And this does not just mean TV, but also the videos and more importantly the video and PC games we allow our children to engage in. This has been a source of conflict in my heart the past months and her talk helped my resolve to change things in our home. Yet, as Hugo pointed out, we need to make sure we replace these forms of media with something else, hopefully something not only fruitful to our family life but also enjoyable - such as reading aloud together. If not - we will easily succumb to bad habits we are striving to replace. I will update you later as to what choices we make in this area. One of the things we might engage in, as a couple, is a study of Theresa's book, Noise, for which I have discovered she has a study guide to.

At the end of the first evening, we mingled in the lobby chatting with the different speakers as well as the many guests, but I made a bee line to where Teresa was and bought her book Noise which she signed for me. Then Hugo and I headed home, exhausted but feeling well fed spiritually and hyped to return in the morning to hear a full day of more speakers.

Saturday morning we arrived too late to attend Mass or even to partake of the breakfast that was laid out for the participants. Following breakfast we were treated to a light history of Belmont Abbey by Ken Davison the VP of College Relations at Belmont. While there is no synopsis of this most interesting history of this beautiful and peaceful Monastery on their website, there is a link to several publications about their history.

Following Ken was the dynamic speaker, Jim Burnham, who gave a great talk about how he almost lost his Catholic faith in College. From that experience rose his vocation - that of providing the means for others to be better equipped when they leave home and face those ponderous questions that most of us do not know the answer to. As Jim said, typically we know what we believe but do we know why we believe it. I realized then and there that this was a gaping hole in my education and so that of my children's. I left that night with an armful of thin booklets that are easy to read and also have study guides to go with them. I found the prices very reasonable. To check out Jim's materials click here. I purchased the Beginning Apologetics.

Chris Aubert took the stage immediately after and shared with us the man's perspective on abortion and the need to make it known just what is happening inside a woman's body when a new life has been sparked within. He shared his horror and dismay when he attended a sonogram of his wife's first pregnancy. Then and there he realized this actually was a real living baby and not a viable mass of tissue; the lie he bought into when he participated in two earlier abortions with previous girl friends. Chris truly brings home the ignorance surrounding today's holacaust.

The rest of the day was filled with Dr Kreeft and was entirely delightful. After each of his talks we had an question & answer period which was as fun, as it was informative. Again I urge you to check out his website and enjoy any one of his many talks listed there.

Both Friday and Saturday evenings were capped with panel discussions that were thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. Thankfully the whole of the convention was recorded and will soon be available on DVD. I will update as soon as they are available. I am looking forward to listening to many of these talks once more, as they were all jam packed and I simply could not retain everything.

Sunday morning was begun in the same manner as Saturdays' with Mass and a breakfast provided. Sadly we were unable to arrive until 11 am when Dr Kreeft gave his last talk and so we missed Gail Buckly who is the founder of Catholic Scripture Study International. I can tell you though, that we have participated in one of this organization's bible studies and I highly recommend them.

We were sad to bid everyone goodbye at lunchtime Sunday, but we left feeling spiritually filled, and ready to try and make some changes that we have been feeling drawn towards for the last month or two. There is nothing like being on the same page when facing such a challenge and after a weekend spent with ENVOY, we feel ready. Thank you to Patrick Madrid and Ken Davison who orchestrated the event, and we all owe a debt to Belmont Abbey for opening their doors to such a great movement. I am praying for the continued success of this program and for their goals. Please keep them in your prayers too and make plans to attend the conference next year. In fact you might want to consider contacting ENVOY and ask to be updated when the dates are confirmed for next year's conference. You don't want to miss it. I know I plan to be there and I hope to see you too!

ignore the
Read more!

Farewell Tony. We will miss you!

Robert Anthony Snow
June 1, 1955 - July 12, 2008
To read about Tony's career and life click here.

We will miss Tony very much and had been anxiously waiting his return to the news and politics. The news of his death early Saturday morning was a shock.
May God Bless his family and we pray for the repose of Tony's soul.

Please ignore

Read more!