Theme this year chosen by Pope Francis: Love Is Our Mission: the Family Fully Alive.
Archbishop Chaput explained the theme in the welcome letter for the congress: Our theme, “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive” was inspired by the early Church Father, St. Irenaeus, who wrote “the Glory of God is man fully alive.” The glory of men and women is their capacity to love as God loves – and no better means exists to teach the meaning of love than the family. His Holiness, Pope Francis also inspired the theme. He embodies the message of mercy, joy and love at the heart of the Gospel.
Pope Francis will NOT be there for the congress but will be attending events the two following days, including a papal Mass. Tickets for the Mass were gone in 30 seconds.
The speaker line-up looks very solid. Here are a few and I'm sorry I can't list them all but there are dozens.
Christian and Christine Meert
A bunch of non-Catholic speakers as well
Rev. Terrence D. Griffith – pastor of the oldest African American church in PA
Elder D. Todd Christofferson – Mormon
Rabbi Abraham Skorka
Suzy Ismail – Muslim
I wish I could attend the congress, both for the speakers I know and for some of these non-Catholic speakers. I am interested about how they view the current state of the family and what they see as solutions for repairing the destruction we see all around us.
Since most of you aren't going to the World Meeting of Families and won't get to hear all of the great speakers, I want to spend the rest of the show talking about some of the great books and DVDs in our Aquinas and More Marriage Toolbox. We hand-picked all of these products because they will help you and your children to better understand marriage and family and also help you to be evangelists.
Basics – sex and marriage – If you truly want to be able to understand and defend a position, you need to get a clear grasp on the foundational reasons behind it. There is very little actual debate about anything these days because it has all been reduced to Internet memes and name calling. Unfortunately, the truth is always harder to explain than lies are to spread. The purpose of this first group of books is to build a foundation showing what sex and marriage are for so that other things, like opposition contraception and the importance of family can be understood and explained later.
These books take a natural law and philosophical approach to explaining sex and marriage instead of a religious one. With Christianity only as a fading veneer on society right now, these books are the most useful for learning how to defend marriage. I actually think that most Catholics are so poorly catechized that assuming they know these fundamentals would be a mistake.
Once you have a good understanding of sex and marriage from a non-religious viewpoint, it's time to look at how Catholicism elevates sex and marriage to something sacred.
Once you have a firm grasp on the sacredness and purpose of marriage, it's time to take dive into the biggest lie of our time. Contraception has been promoted as the solution to bad marriages, unwanted children, teen pregnancy and STDs and yet we now have more of all of these than ever before. What's worse is that the Church has been warning everyone for over eighty years and society has dismissed the Church while fulfilling everything that the Church warned about.
Love, Marriage and the Catholic Conscience was written by one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century, Deitrich Von Hildebrand. In this short book he clearly explains the Catholic view of marriage and why contraception is not just wrong for Catholics but why it is objectively bad for society as a whole.
Sex Au Naturel by Patrick Coffin is your apologetics course against contraception. Patrick is the host of Catholic Answers Live so his book is written to help you learn how to explain Catholic teaching to others and to answer common objections.
These next three titles are a combination of books and DVDs. Instead of getting into the philosophy and theology of marriage, these titles are all what you could call marriage enrichment. Even when you understand what the Church teaches, putting things into practice can be difficult.
I Do is a DVD that also can be used for marriage prep and marriage growth. It asks couples to consider a bunch of different topics including how to live as spouses and even planning for educating your children. This DVD has both English and Spanish which is great for parishes that are seeing big demographic shifts.
Evangelization can be a scary idea. I'm sure that you have wondered how Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormans have the courage to go door-to-door sharing their faith. These books will help you become a Catholic evangelist, bringing the good news to the world. You may not be personally called to go knocking on people's doors but you can still be a witness and evangelize in other ways. These books are the tools you need to figure out how.
How to Share Your Faith With Anyone and How Not to Share Your Faith can bookend all your other books about sharing the Faith. Mark Brumley, the president of Ignatius Press, gives you tips on things to avoid when sharing the Faith and Terry Barber, the founder of St. Joseph Communications gives you advice on how to positively share the Faith in a way that doesn't result in everyone trying to avoid being around you.
Arriving at Amen by leah Lebresco approaches conversion from an atheist's point of view. You can listen to my interview with Leah at aquinasandmore.com/blog/33
Spiritual Handbook for Catholic Evangelists is your spiritual workout book for your work as an evangelist. You can't share the good news and bring people to Christ when you are spiritually empty and evangelizing can be very spiritually draining.
The New Evangelization and You is by Greg Willits of Catholics Next Door fame. He and his wife have been podcasting and radio broadcasting for years. Greg is the Director of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries for the Archdiocese of Denver. This books is your blue print for figuring out how to participate in the the New Evangelization that Saint John Paul II called for. You can listen to Greg and Jennifer's podcast at gregandjennifer.com and read more about evangelization at their newevangelizers.com blog