Philip, whose singing talent was made known to us during the year, is the son of Brian and Barbara Hines who are well known in many areas of lay involvement in the Catholic Church in the Auckland Diocese.
We are delighted to be able to welcome Philip onto our guest list this year and look forward to his contribution with eager anticipation.
Mark is the the Senatus President of the Legion of Mary for New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga and Nuie. He has found his calling working within the Legion. He is very aware that all Catholics are called to be witnesses for the Lord. What better way to fulfil this mission but through the Mother of God, Mary. Mark plays the organ at St. Joseph’s Parish in Grey Lynn and helps with the Catechism programme at Holy Family Church in Te Atatu, and for fun he starts up Legion groups throughout the parishes in Auckland. Mark is married to Annemarie and they have two daughters.
At the convention this year Mark will talk about the value that he and other lay people who are involved in the work of the Legion of Mary get from their efforts.
Fr. Linus F Clovis is a priest of the Archdiocese of Castries, St. Lucia in the West Indies. He studied for the priesthood at the Angelicum in Rome and was ordained in 1983 by Saint Pope John Paul II. Fr. Clovis is a qualified teacher and holds a doctorate in Mathematics and degrees in Theology, Canon Law and Latin Literature.
He has served as dean of the Arts, Science and General Studies Faculty of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and for seven years was principal of St. Mary’s College, St. Lucia. He has served as the archdiocesan spiritual director of the Legion of Mary in St. Lucia, through which he promotes devotion to Our Lady, especially that of the Rosary, the Perpetual Help novena, and the First Friday and First Saturday devotions.
Additionally, he has led outreaches to the neighbouring islands, and annual pilgrimages to Marian shrines in over fourteen different countries.
He is also the spiritual director of the Population Research Institute and Family Life International and a versatile speaker on pro-life issues, Scripture, Mariology and on Catholic teaching in general. Not only has he many talks and homilies on CD to his credit but he has made literary contributions to newspapers and international magazines and has published a book entitled “A Biblical Search for the Church Christ Founded.”
In 2003, Fr. Clovis led the resistance to the St Lucia Government’s surreptitious legalization of abortion in his Catholic island and even refused Holy Communion to the head of state for having signed abortion into law.
Fr. Clovis is the eldest of five brothers who are all active in the pro-life apostolate.
Father Clovis is being sponsored by Family Life International, Auckland, for the Eucharistic Convention.
Roger Gilbride who has been to many conventions and is now a Seminarian with the Priestly Confraternity of Saint Peter in Nebraska recommended Jim Bertrand as an idea guest speaker for our convention. Bishop Pat agrees and so Jim is on board for 2016.
This is very exciting because Jim will give us an insight into the Shroud of Turin which he has studied for many years. Here is the Bio he sent us.
Jim Bertrand has been a student of the Holy Shroud for some 30 years and at the most recent International Shroud Convention held in St. Louis (Oct. 2014) he became affiliated with the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, headed by Dr. John Jackson, the world’s foremost expert on the Shroud of Turin.
Bishop Michael Sheridan, of the Diocese of Colorado Springs, decreed the formation of the American Confraternity of the Holy Shroud in September of 2014. “As a presenter of the Shroud, my mission is to unite Truth with the human heart. People will see the most updated scientific evidence regarding the Shroud, and then they can make their own reasoned judgment regarding its authenticity.
Whether a relic or an icon, the Shroud is a sacramental, leading us to a deeper relationship with Jesus.”
Jim and his wife, Kristi, are in their 32nd year of marriage and have six children ages 15 – 30. He has a Master’s Degree in Education and has been teaching high school science for 35 years. In the past year he has given over 40 Shroud presentations to religious communities, schools, and parishes. He also directs his parish choir at St. Peter Parish in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, and has been the Perpetual Adoration Director for the past 24 years. “There is a beautiful harmony between faith and reason. Accepting the fullness of the truth, requires us to use both our reason, and to step out in faith to understand the sacred mysteries which we cannot quantify, such as the Real Presence and the infinite love of God. Having the opportunity to share this information about the Shroud and my Catholic faith, is such a blessing.
People will see some things in the power point they have not seen before.”
Leah Libresco is a writer and school systems analyst based in Washington, D.C. A former atheist blogger and writer for the Huffington Post, Ms. Libresco stunned her readers in summer 2012 when she announced that she was converting to Catholicism. Raised in an atheist household on Long Island, she had graduated from Yale University in 2011 with a B.A. in political science.
Ms. Libresco now writes about her conversion and newfound Catholic faith in the Unequally Yoked blog at the Patheos Catholic portal. A frequent commentator on Catholic issues, she has appeared on CNN and other national media outlets to discuss her conversion from rationalist atheism to Catholicism. Her writing has also appeared in First Things magazine and the American Conservative. Her first book, Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers that Even I Can Offer, was published by Ave Maria Press on May 11.
The great strength of her presentation is that Libresco manages to show how our philosophical and theological prejudices show up in our prayer life. Few considerations could be more profoundly Christian. What we think about the world matters, and it matters most intimately in our personal life with God. Whether she’s debunking her Kantian-Stoic prejudice against petitionary prayer or her fascination with rubrics about the treatment of the Eucharist, by offering her own scruples and perspective, she affords the rest of us avenues of growth. Libresco’s book abounds with priceless examples, which are as accessible and welcome as they are intimate and creative. Arriving at Amen chronicles the bizarre crossroads of contemporary American Catholicism. Ours is now a Church inspired by the fruitful models of Catholic bloggers’ own little examens, prayed with the iBreviary app, and where allegiance to saints is chosen by online generators (there’s as much determinism there as in the holy cards traded by happen-stance on playgrounds of yore, I suppose). If the spiritual classicals of perennial value appear to you hindered by the dust of centuries past, fear not, because Libresco’s book opens ancient devotions like lectio divina, the divine office, and the rosary with insight pregnant for our times: “The joyful mysteries, which begin with Mary’s great ‘Amen,’ invite me to make a small one, at any scale, to receive the chance to better know the God who is Love at all scales.” Perhaps the best of what Libresco offers is her insatiable energy and enthusiasm. She moves, unexhausted, from exercise to exercise. This greatest virtue of modernity directly combats the sloth to which we lovers of the one, true, and good are too often prone. Urging us onward to grapple with prayer, she notes, “If I wait to offer prayers only in moments of peace and confidence, I’ll lose the chance to invite God into all parts of my life, including the tumultuous moments when I need him most.” Libresco eloquently details the challenges of prayer, and captures–with strokes only the most talented expressionist could paint–the essence of the landscape of the spiritual life.
At our Eucharistic Convention this year Roy Schoeman gave two presentations. This is the first of them where he talks about the Role of the Holocaust in Salvation History and the second he shared hir personal testimony with us.
Roy had a dramatic conversion from Judaism to the Catholic faith – he is what he says about himself:
My parents are German Jews who fled from the Nazi holocaust and settled here in the U.S.. I was born and raised in a middle class suburb of New York City. Growing up I was quite religious, but drifted away from religion when I went to college — first to M.I.T., where I absorbed the hip scientific “we know better than to believe in God” philosophy, and then to Harvard Business School, where I eventually joined the faculty.
Despite worldly success my life felt irrelevant, meaningless. When I suffered some reverses in both my professional and my personal lives, I hit bottom. It was at that point that the Lord gave me perhaps the greatest grace of my life. While walking on an empty beach, it seemed like I “fell” into Heaven. I directly felt God’s presence and His love. I knew that He existed, that from the first moment of my life He loved me and watched over me, and that everything, every event which happened in my life was exactly the best thing which could possibly happen. I knew that everything I did — for good or for bad — mattered and was weighed in the scales. I knew that we lived forever, and knew that Heaven existed. I knew about the angelic hierarchy. I knew that this was not the picture of God that I had from the Old Testament. I prayed to know the name of my Lord and Master, my God. I prayed “Let me know your name. I don’t mind if you are Buddha, and I have to become a Buddhist. I don’t mind if you are Apollo, and I have to become a Roman pagan. I don’t mind if you are Krishna, and I have to become a Hindu. As long as you are not Christ and I have to become a Christian!”
Roy has an interesting story – we invite you to enjoy watching these videos.
At our convention in 2015 Claire Culwell shared her very personal story as survivor of a botched abortion – her twin was aborted, she would have been also but the person performing the procedure missed the fact that she was also present in her mother’s womb. Video recordings of Claire’s two sessions are available for viewing below.
This is what Claire says about herself.
I found out I was affected by abortion some timeago. This changed my life. I had walked into the Coalition For Life wondering what their organization provided and 5 months later I met my birth mother who told me my life is a miracle.
My birth mother was 13 years old at the time she became pregnant with me. Her mother took her straight to an abortion clinic where she had a surgical abortion. After thinking she had “fixed the problem,” a few weeks later she realized her belly was still growing. Her mother took her back to the abortion clinic where she learned that she had been pregnant with twins…One was aborted; One survived.
My life is a miracle and I would be selfish to keep this GIFT of life to myself. I want to tell everyone what a gift I and even they have been given!! I want to encourage them to seek alternatives to abortion because I would never want any woman/man to go through the grief and the pain that my birth mother went through simply because she didn’t know she had any other option. I also want to be a vessel to offer God’s forgiveness to the men and women who have previously had abortions. I know healing is possible and I have been given the gift of surviving an abortion so that I can tell these men and women that they are forgiven…coming from an aborted child, I hope they know the power of forgiveness and healing through meeting me. My involvement in Coalition For Life transformed me, taught me how to stand up for life on the front lines, and how to share my story in a meaningful way. I have the staff at Coalition For Life to thank for encouraging me to get involved and to share my story not only on the sidewalk but in public (my biggest fear) because God is glorified when I publically proclaim that “I am here not because of anything I did, but ONLY because of God’s mercy and love for me.”
My life is a testimony that there are wonderful alternatives to abortion (such as adoption in my case) and an accident/unwanted child still deserves life…even a child with disabilities. I was born 2 1/2 months early, weighed 3 lbs 2 oz, had dislocated hips and club feet. I had to wear casts on my feet, a harness and eventually a body cast. The abortion still affects me today. All that to say, LIFE IS STILL WORTH IT.If my life can touch just one person who has had an abortion or considering an abortion or adoption, then I am fulfilling my purpose in the pro-life movement.
I will not be silent because each mother and child are in the same place my biological mother, my twin and I were in 22 years ago and I am here to say THERE IS HOPE and there are options!
Traveling and sharing my story was not something that I had planned for myself, but God proved to have better plans for me than I had for myself. Sharing my story is as much of a gift to MYSELF as it is to others.
In his first presentation at our 2015 Eucharistic Convention Fr Shenan spoke to the title “Speaking a Language of Life and Family” and in his second he talked about “Building a Culture of Life” – see videos of both presentations below.
A little bit about Fr Shenan.
Fr. Shenan Boquet is the president of Human Life International. Before coming to HLI, he most recently served as Pastor of St. Gregory Barbarigo Parish in Houma, Louisiana.
Since being ordained as a priest in 1993, Fr. Boquet has given hundreds of talks at conferences and in parishes on issues ranging from the dignity of the human person and the nature of marriage, to social justice and moral theology. He has given retreats and educational seminars on the Theology of the Body, Holy Scripture and various theological topics. Fr. Boquet has also appeared numerous times on EWTN and Ave Maria Radio, as well as in other media. He has served and continues to serve on numerous boards, including the Diocesan Priests Council, of which he remains Chairman.
Fr. Boquet grew up in the small town of Bourg, Louisiana, just south of Houma in a devoutly Catholic family, for which he is extremely grateful. His earliest and most influential examples were of his parents and parish priests, all of whom instilled in him at a young age a love for Christ and his Church, and an active faith that was to be lived, and not merely held. He was very active as a youth in service projects with Catholic Charities and with other groups who ministered to the elderly, the sick, the poor, and the marginalized.
This active faith grew naturally into a vocation to the priesthood, where the contemplative and sacramental aspects of the Faith complemented and informed the active. A natural teacher, Fr. Boquet has been marginalized himself at times for sharing the Church’s teaching on life and family issues, although he emphasizes that it is important to do so with Charity. Throughout his priesthood, he has found himself in leadership positions, and increasingly in the areas of pro-life and pro-family teaching and advocacy.
Fr Shenan travels around the world spreading the Gospel of Life as president of Human Life International (HLI). He is a priest of the Houma-Thibodaux Roman Catholic Diocese in Louisiana, his home state, where he served before joining Human Life International in August 2011.
As president of HLI, Fr. Boquet has traveled 290,000 miles to 15 countries, speaking at numerous international conferences and pro-life events, spreading the Catholic Church’s teachings on life and family as part of HLI’s life-saving mission worldwide to build a Culture of Life. Since being ordained as a priest in 1993, Fr. Boquet has also given hundreds of talks at conferences and in parishes across the United States on issues ranging from the dignity of the human person and the nature of marriage, to social justice and moral theology. A natural teacher, Fr. Boquet has been persecuted at times for sharing the Church’s teaching on life and family issues, although he emphasizes that it is important to do so with Charity.
Fr. Boquet has been a guest on several EWTN television programs, EWTN Radio, Catholic Answers Live, Ave Maria Radio, Vatican Radio, as well as a number of local Catholic radio programs in the U.S. and in other international media outlets. His writings have appeared in numerous publications such as LifeSiteNews, LifeNews, Catholic Exchange, CNS News, Catholic Lane, and Catholic.org.
Fr. Boquet grew up in the small town of Bourg, Louisiana, just south of Houma in a devoutly Catholic family, for which he is extremely grateful. His earliest and most influential examples were of his parents and parish priests, all of whom instilled in him at a young age a love for Christ and his Church, and an active faith that was to be lived, and not merely held. He was very active as a youth in service projects with Catholic Charities and with other groups who ministered to the elderly, the sick, the poor and marginalized. This active faith grew naturally into a vocation to the priesthood, where the contemplative and sacramental aspects of the Faith complemented and informed the active. Throughout his priesthood, he has been dedicated to pro-life and pro-family teaching and advocacy.