Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 18, 2005
Family Life marks 10th year
Catholic families welcome speakers and musicians to their annual retreat
By VICKI BEIER
Special to the WCR
Has it really been 10 years?
Seems like only yesterday since we sat around one anothers' kitchen tables and enthused over the beauty of our new or newly discovered Catholic faith.
I was the convert in the group, soaking up the apologetics and popes' letters and encyclicals like a sponge. But for every one of us it was the beginning of a journey that would change our lives forever. It was the beginning of Catholic Family Ministries.
Through the plea of Pope John Paul II for families to "become what you are, the domestic church and the heart of the world," we took up the cause. We watched videos, listened to tapes, read conversion stories, studied apologetics and grew as a faith community.
The seeds of faith
The idea of a family conference featuring the apologists and converts we were studying began to take shape. It would be a family conference with ministries for the whole family, world-renowned speakers, the sacraments, priests and religious, music, camping, and an opportunity for families to grow in their faith and meet and support other families with the same desires.
Through grace, this starry-eyed vision became reality. It has also expanded as we now offer a Women's Conference, Men's Conference and Marriage Conference. Our young people are plotting a Youth Conference sometime in the future.
As a completely nonprofit organization, we now have charitable status and produce a newsletter and have a website: www.catholicfamilyministries.com. Check there or the WCR for the dates of all our upcoming events.
We are excited this year to celebrate our 10th Family Life Conference and for many of the families who attend, this will be their 10th year. Babes and toddlers are now our youth, and they wouldn't miss it.
Summer holidays are planned around it. We've heard tremendous conversion stories because of it. Families are strengthened through it. And every year we, the organizers, watch in amazement at the Lord's hand in it.
This is an event we want to share with everyone - single or married, toddlers to grandparents. It will be held from June 30 to July 3 at Lac Ste. Anne with a special focus on this Year of the Eucharist. The camping is free (no hookups) and the conference cost very affordable.
This year's lineup
Our lineup of speakers include James Stenson, Archbishop Thomas Collins, Jason Evert, Katherine and Peter Fournier, Father Peter Nygren, Father Paul Moret, John Connelly, and the musical talents of Janelle, One80, and Life Visions. The teachings are always awesome but the experience of sharing this weekend with literally hundreds of other Catholic families may well be an epiphany.
After all the preparation and planning is done and we watch the families pour in and set up camp, renew friendships and begin new ones, we weep. Every time. Following the conference many share wonderful conversion stories and we weep. Every time.
I guess it really has been 10 years but it does seem like only yesterday. We hope to see you there.
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