HOLDREGE (SNR) - On Friday, March 22, at 8 p.m., Bishop James Conley will make a special appearance at Pub Theology, hosted by All Saints Parish in Holdrege.
Becky Deaver, who launched the program at the parish with her husband Luke last year, said that Pub Theology is an ideal format for Catholics who prefer a more casual atmosphere.
"We’re hoping to engage a different segment of the Catholic population," she said. "Maybe those who don’t feel as comfortable going to church for a talk, would feel more comfortable talking about theology with a drink in their hands."
Bishop Conley is familiar with these kinds of gatherings, having participated in a Theology on Tap program in Denver. The Deavers mentioned their version of it when they met the bishop at his installation last November.
"He was very enthusiastic," Mrs. Deaver said.
When they learned that Bishop Conley would be at All Saints March 23 for Confirmation, they decided to take a chance and invite the bishop to come out the night before for Pub Theology.
They were thrilled that he agreed and are hoping for a good turnout. In fact, they’ve decided to change venues to accommodate a larger audience.
For the three Pub Theology events All Saints Parish has hosted so far, the group has met in the back room of a pub in Holdrege.
However, that room only seats up to 80 people or so. The Deavers are fairly certain of a larger crowd, since so many people want to meet the diocese’s new bishop.
So, this session of Pub Theology will be held at The Balcony, a reception hall in nearby Loomis.
She said that people who have attended Pub Theology in the past are quite enthusiastic about it.
"Everyone enjoys it," she said. "It’s just a great opportunity for fellowship outside the church... to go out and get a drink and get some appetizers."
The beauty of Pub Theology is that there’s no pre-registration and no homework. It’s a "come as you are" event, and everybody is welcome.
"We just want it to be super laid back," Mrs. Deaver said. "You don’t even have to decide if you are going to come until the last minute. Just show up, enjoy and leave."
Bishop Conley has not announced a particular topic for the March 22 event, but he has agreed to do an open question-and-answer session after his talk.
"We’re all just excited about it no matter what the topic is," Mrs. Deaver said.
She hopes that other parishes in the diocese will consider starting similar programs in their own hometowns, adding a word of gratitude for her pastor, Father Thomas Lux, for his endorsement.
"He’s kind of let the laypeople take over with this, but he’s been really supportive," said Mrs. Deaver.
"It’s a good way to evangelize Catholics… which needs to be done all the time," she added.
All Saints Parish’s Pub Theology program is free and open to any interested person of drinking age (although underage college students and high school students with accompanying parents are welcome to attend.)
Anyone who wants to be part of the conversation can join the group from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 22, at The Balcony, 10775 Clifton St., Loomis. Participants picks up their own tab, if they choose to order items. The Balcony can be reached at 308-876-2377.