In just under two months (Sept. 17 and 18), the Nebraska Catholic Conference will be hosting our annual Bishops’ Pro-Life Banquet & Conference. After hosting last year’s event virtually via Zoom, we are thrilled to host an in-person gathering this year.
As usual, the banquet will be on Friday evening (Sept. 17), starting with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. and followed by the dinner banquet at 6:30 p.m. The conference will be on Saturday (Sept. 18), starting with a Rosary at 8:30 a.m. and followed by several excellent talks running from 9 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. All the gatherings will take place at the Embassy Suites in downtown Lincoln. If you are already sold on attending and don’t need to read anything more, visit www.necatholic.org and register to attend!
This year’s theme is “A People of Life and For Life: The Next 25 Years of Evangelium Vitae.” This theme will build on last year’s theme which was a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the publication of Saint Pope John Paul II’s famous encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (in English, “The Gospel of Life”). Rather than looking back on the encyclical, we want to look ahead and envision how the Gospel of Life can be lived in a world that is increasingly secular and broken.
The theme builds on Chapter 4 of Evangelium Vitae. This chapter entitled “You Did It To Me: For a New Culture of Human Life” is a prophetic piece of writing that provides each of us as Christians with a blueprint for cultivating a culture of life in the modern world.
The Friday night banquet will feature a variety of festivities. There will be a social hour beginning at 5:30 p.m., which is a wonderful opportunity for pro-lifers to gather in a laid back atmosphere to share a drink and meet friends old and new! The banquet will feature some of our usual staples. We will honor a few pro-lifers from across the state with our Gospel of Life Award, recognizing their tremendous courage and contributions to the pro-life cause. We will also honor our junior high and high school statewide pro-life essay contest winners.
The banquet will also feature Archbishop Joseph Naumann as our keynote speaker. Archbishop Naumann is the Archbishop of Kansas City, Kan. He also serves as the chairman of the Pro-Life Secretariat for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. A great friend to the three bishops here in Nebraska, Archbishop Naumann is a tremendous shepherd and witness to the Gospel of Life.
Archbishop Naumann finds himself in leadership at an important time in the history of the pro-life cause in America. We currently face unprecedented attacks on life, such as recent attempts by Congress to force taxpayers to fund abortions. We also face serious questions of identity regarding the Eucharist and its worthy reception by public figures and officials who espouse pro-abortion ideologies. Archbishop Naumann is at the helm, helping Catholics across the nation navigate these difficult waters.
Archbishop Naumann is certain to inspire. You won’t want to miss his incisive and prophetic insights.
The Saturday conference is chock-full of invaluable learning opportunities that attendees can use to build up the pro-life cause in their communities. As mentioned earlier, the conference will focus on how we can live the Gospel of Life going into these next 25 years. If we are to win this cause for life, we must be visionaries. The times are not getting easier and we must be prepared, as the Scripture states, “to make a defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you.”
The morning talks at the conference will hit on three crucial themes: renewal of the self; renewal of the family; and renewal of the political community. Each presenter will address how each one of us, our families, and the whole political community all need to be renewed for us to properly build a culture of life moving forward. These talks will be heavy hitting and examine the theological, philosophical, and cultural problems we face. They will help us diagnosis the problems so as to provide solutions and resolution.
The afternoon talks will be a series of “lightning round” mini-sessions. These mini-sessions will be about 20 minutes each and will hit on a wide variety of practical topics, such as preparing for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, caring for the sick and dying in a nation that kills its own through assisted suicide, staying on the cutting edge with pro-life messaging in a digital and social media world, how the family can provide a pro-life witness to the world, among other great topics.
As usual, the banquet and conference are reasonably priced. The banquet is $50; the conference is $40; for those who attend both, you get the NCC bargain of $80! Buy a ticket for yourself, your loved ones, and bring some friends along with you.
As I mentioned, simply visit www.necatholic.org to register or call our office (402.477.7517).