Diocesan News

George Weigel to Speak at Nebraska Pro-life Conference

LINCOLN (SNR) - At this year’s Nebraska Pro-Life Conference, attendees will hear from several inspiring speakers, including author and theologian George Weigel. The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, Oct.12 and 13, at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln.

Hosted by the Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro Life Activities of the Nebraska Catholic Conference and underwritten by the Knights of Columbus, this annual event is an opportunity for pro-life Nebraskans to hear motivating talks from a variety of local and national speakers.

This year, conference attendees will hear from Father Daniel Mindling, academic dean and professor of moral theology at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. and Omar Gutiérrez, manager of the Office of Missions & Justice for the Archdiocese of Omaha, and representatives from Generation Life.

Father Mindling’s talk is entitled "Moral Cooperation with Outside Organizations," while Mr. Gutiérrez is prepared to speak about "The Pro-Life Issues: Where Can Catholics Disagree?"

Generation Life, a "movement of young people committed to building a Culture of Life by educating their peers…" will give a presentation focused on how youth are creating the future of the pro-life movement. The organization is currently serving in the Archdioceses of Kansas City, New York, Omaha and Philadelphia, and the Dioceses of Lincoln and Rockville Centre (N.Y.).

Mr. Weigel, who currently serves as distinguished senior fellow of Washington D.C.’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, is to speak on both Friday and Saturday.

He will be the keynote speaker at Friday evening’s banquet, where he will discuss, "Why We’re Winning – the Pro-Life Cause 40 Years after Roe v. Wade."

Despite recent developments in the federal government’s health care act and the current contentious presidential election, Mr. Weigel said he is thoroughly confident in today’s pro-life movement.

"For the first time in a very long time, a majority of Americans describe themselves as pro-life," he pointed out.

"Younger women are beginning to grasp what their mothers, grandmothers, Caroline Kennedy and Katherine Sebelius haven’t yet understood: that the sexual revolution, of which abortion-on-demand is the technological centerpiece, is a very bad deal for women, and a terrific deal for predatory and irresponsible men," he added.

When asked where he thought the pro-life movement needs to go, Mr. Weigel said, "Door to door… getting out of their homes and talking with their neighbors."

He acknowledged that politics and law are lagging behind the general populace in embracing a true pro-life position, but he enthusiastically described the pro-life movement as "robust, young and in the fight for the long haul."

During Saturday’s conference, Mr. Weigel will return with a special session entitled, "John Paul II & the Challenge of the 21st Century Culture." Mr. Weigel is the author of two best-selling biographies about the late Holy Father, "Witness to Hope" and "The End and the Beginning."

"I chose Mr. Weigel because of his extraordinary eloquence and leadership in defense of our faith and the dignity of human life," said Greg Schleppenbach, state director of the Nebraska Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities. "I also was intrigued by his insights into the person of Blessed John Paul II as revealed through the biography he wrote of the pope."

This year, the conference will begin with a Friday night social hour with the bishops at 5 p.m. Archbishop George Lucas, Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz and Bishop William Dendinger will all be on hand to greet laypeople, priests, religious and seminarians. The banquet will follow at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, conference attendees will gather for 8:30 a.m. Mass at Saint Mary Church at 14th and K streets, followed by coffee and rolls. Then they will return to the Cornhusker Hotel for the rest of the conference. Registration opens at 9:30 a.m.

Mr. Schleppenbach encouraged people to make their reservations as soon as possible.

"Everyone who is interested in a deeper understanding of truth, life and love should attend," he said.

The cost of attending the entire conference is only $55 and includes the educational sessions, banquet, luncheon and snacks.

Reduced rates are available for those who wish to attend only one day. Tickets to the Friday evening banquet are $35 per person or $350 for a table of 10, and the Saturday conference admission is $35. A discount is available for priests and religious.

To register for the conference and/or banquet, submit your registration and credit card payment online at the Bishops Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities website at www.nebcathcon.org.

For the convenience of out-of-town attendees, a block of rooms has been reserved at the Cornhusker Hotel for the reduced price of $99 per night. To reserve a room, call 402-474-7474 or go to thecornhuskerhotel.com.

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