Monday, September 14, 2009

"Reasons To Believe" Conference

I attended the "Reasons To Believe" Conference at Kellenberg HS on Long Island on Saturday. It was the first time I heard Dr. Scott Hahn speak and he was excellent. He gave three talks. (Fr. Anthony Stanganelli gave the opening talk and he was very good too.) Scott Hahn, who was formerly a Presbyterian minister before converting to Catholicism spoke about his faith journey and conversion. He used humor, at times, which was uplifting and he also used stories to convey that it seems all his studying, learning and knowledge of Scripture brought him to the Catholic religion. He explained that he read the Sunday homilies of the Early Church Fathers as a Presbyterian minister to help him write sermons. It was through those studies that he came to see and believe in Catholic truths. He came to see that the understanding of the Bible and the homilies that the Church Fathers wrote, explaining how the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament was a revelation for him. It was an understanding and explanation of biblical truths that he couldn't dismiss. He began to see Catholic rituals in a different light and the truths of the Catholic faith became evident to him. Over time, after attending Mass (while he was still a Presbyterian minister), he came to appreciate the beauty, depth and the sacredness of the Catholic Mass and it transformed him. He was astounded by connections he saw to the Mass and the Book of Revelation. He felt like he was experiencing the heavenly Jerusalem described in the Book of Revelation. He began to see and experience the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and there was no turning back. He was married to a Presbyterian woman, the daughter of a minister and so he had a lot of explaining to do to his wife. Ultimately, she converted too, but it took some time. They have six children. It's a great story of faith and the complexities of belief and conversion. 
He had many good stories of how God worked in his life and brought him to where he is today. He's a best selling author, lecturer and he has an amazing understanding of Scripture, (he learned much from the Church Fathers), and years of studying, which he conveyed very well.
All in all, it was a successful day. There were hundreds of people in attendence, all there trying to deepen their knowledge of God, the Bible and Catholicism. 
There were some vendors at the Conference as well.  I purchased a CD, titled, "Unlocking the Book of Revelation," from Lighthouse Catholic Media. I'm very impressed that they sell CD's for the reasonable price of $3.00. They even have a CD of the month club. Their website I've bought their CD's before and given them as gifts. 
The ticket price of $10.00 was a real bargain. Though you had to bring your own lunch, it was still a great value (4 excellent talks for $10.00). And as always, the "staff" at Kellenberg HS ensures that everything runs smoothly. 
Offering Catholic conferences (with dynamic speakers) at low cost is great for evangelization and for building faith and knowledge. "If you build it, they will come."