Archives for Speakers

Leah Libresco

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.

 

 

Speakers List

Roy Schoeman

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.

Speakers List

Claire Culwell

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.

Speakers List

Fr. Shenan Boquet

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.

 

 

Speakers List

Christine Bell

Christine Bell gives an update on her plans to set up a house in Auckland for young men in crisis: her vision is focused on “New Horizons of Hope”

Speakers List

Teresa & Monica Orbe

The mother/daughter duo were excited to be sharing their musical talents with us at our 2015 Convention. Mum Teresa played the piano while Monica sang. The videos below are recordings of their presentations.

Speakers List

Dame Colleen Bayer

Dame Colleen Bayer spoke to the subject matter “Welcoming the Least Among You” at our 2015 Eucharistic Convention to a very attentive audience. You can watch her presentation on the video recording below.

Speakers List

Michelle Kaufman

Michelle Kaufman from FLI Auckland gave this incredible opening address at our 2015 Eucharistic Convention – their was dead silence as Michelle spoke. To see why watch the video recording of Michelle’s presentation below.

Speakers List

Fr Tony Ricard

Father Tony Ricard and his incredible connection with the Mother Of Divine Mercy Refuge Community here in Auckland, New Zealand was one of the great miracles of our 2014 Eucharistic Convention. “How Did You Know?” he asked me after I suggested he needed to visit the Refuge sometime before the opening of our event this year. “I didn’t know” was my response, “but this was obviously what the Lord had in mind as He perfected the human planning of this most amazing event that is the Eucharistic Convention” I responded. This is what God does if we put ourselves at His service. It happens time after time, year after year. Enjoy these videos; I know I did. JOHN PORTEOUS

Speakers List

MDM Refuge Testimonies

Recorded at our 2014 Eucharistic Convention in April, you will see in this video four members of the Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge in Auckland give their very moving testimonies of how their lives were saved, and changed by their association with Mother Susana, as they call her, and their experience of a new life at the Refuge she established.

Speakers List

Stephen Eguino

Stephen Eguino Bio: I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. Music and faith was always a part ...

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RabelztheMC

“My goal, my mission is to expose Jesus’ Divine Mercy to hip-hop culture, to youth, and ...

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