In the shadow of William Penn,
it’s my Seven Quick Takes recap of Thursday at The World Meeting of Families!
1.I’m so tired. Seriously, my feet are killing me. My Fitbit says I walked over six miles and had more than 90 minutes of active time. This was due to the fact that it took me all day to figure out that the upper levels of the convention center are conected but you have to walk outside to go between lower levels (or find the right escalator to take you down to the correct lower level if you’re upstairs.) I also was seriously lacking information on where different breakout sessions were located, so twice I went in the opposite direction of my desired destination and didn’t realize it until I was as far as possible from where I needed to be. BUT that’s really the worst of it. I have no complaints about anything else and I should probably just soak these dogs and offer it up for something.
2. Now onto the good stuff, first up, FREE BREAKFAST. I planned to attend Mass but then forgot that that meant leaving the house at the same time I actually rolled out of bed. Whoops. You can tell I haven’t had to commute any further than my living room for a long time. Thankfully, I was still in plenty of time for a free breakfast offered to media at the Reading Terminal Market. Make it a stop on your next trip to Philadelphia; all the good food you can imagine in one place.
3. Onto the conference! Upon arrival I still had time to kill so I visited the media center. Not much was happening, and since I was alone I couldn’t even partake in the corn hole or ping pong.
I shot a Periscope video instead.
The first keynote speakers were husband and wife, Dr. Juan Francisco and Gabriela N. de la Guardia. Their talk ‘A Gift from God: The Meaning of Human Sexuality’ was delivered in Spanish and broadcast simultaneously in English by an interpreter. While there were some wonderful points, something was lost in translation. Maybe the translator didn’t realize how many times he’d have to say ‘genitalia’ and was thrown for a loop.
“And God said He would create a helpmate for Adam, and He created a woman; not another man.” #wmof2015
— Kelly Mantoan (@kellymantoan) September 24, 2015
I did however love the point they made about the rules of sexuality being like traffic signals. Green is go, yellow means take caution and red means stop: they help us safely arrive at our destination. Imagine what would happen if every driver ignored the traffic signals and just drove as he wanted? Just as traffic signals protect drivers, we have traffic signals in our body to protect us. Human sexuality is not a free for all.
4. Immediately following was Dr. Scott Hahn who was greeted with loud applause and cheers. His talk, Back to the Garden of Eden: Unearthing God’s Covenant with Humankind talked about marriage in the bible and the difference between a contract and a covenant.
In a world of no fault divorce, Hahn stressed the importance of marriage as a covenant between a husband, wife and God. In a contract, both parties negotiate in their own self interests over goods in accordance with the law. In a covenant God sets the terms, which we are free to accept or reject and we are motivated by sacrifice in communion with love. Confusing a covenant with a contract is like comparing marriage to prostitution. He ended his talk by stressing the needs of men to take up the new evangelization. Based on a study he cited, 2/3 to 3/4 of children raised in a home with a father who regularly practiced his faith and attended church were likely to become lifelong church attenders themselves. The new evangelization is also “new”, because we are no longer spreading the gospel to distant pagan lands, but re-christianizing a secular and post-christian world.
5. Lunch break! Time to check out the vendor area!
There were so many Catholic book publishers, including several I’d never heard of!!!! (For a full list, download the World Meeting of Families app.) I stopped by Ave Maria Press which featured nine different authors signing books during the meeting. Marge Fenelon was signing copies of her book, Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, A Living Novena; a fitting book given Pope Francis’ devotion.
Fenelon said the event radiated joy. “There’s smiles everywhere. People are just exuberent.”
The bearded and bald men of The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal were handing out St. Francis holy cards and rosaries. I asked Br. Thomas Joseph (who shares my love of Arbp. Fulton Sheen) what makes a man choose the friars over say, becoming a diocesan priest?
“It’s for those who are wooed by Francis; his charism, and his evangelical poverty.”
All though the order is well known to those of us on the East Coast, Br. Thomas said they were making new friends with travelers from across the country and globe.
She called the World Meeting- “amazing. It’s an honor and I feel a special grace being here.”
We talked about the message the Chastity Project brings to teens and young people, especially those in attendance at the World Meeting Youth Congress. ” There is a family in the Catholic Church. Your faith is so much bigger than you. You’re an important piece in all this.”
I asked what she would recommend for me as a mom of a couple of soon to be teens. First up, ‘If You Really Loved Me’ as a quick answer guide for all the questions we’ve already started tackling and then ‘Pure Womanhood’ for my daughter and ‘Pure Manhood’ for my son. She suggested leaving the right materials around the house for the kids to find, as her husband Jason’s mom did, with obvious great success.
6. Now more talks!! The second keynote was given by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, Philippines and member of the Pontifical Council on the Family. The man had a huge fan club already in attendance when he then announced he flew his parents and brother in from Manila for the Meeting. After that, the room was his. #alltheapplause
During his talk, ‘The Family: A Home for the Wounded Heart’ Cardinal Tagle stressed the healing power of a loving home and how we can find the power to heal our wounds and those of our family members using the wounded Christ as our example.
— Kelly Mantoan (@kellymantoan) September 24, 2015
He also used a wonderful example as the Church as a field hospital, but broke it down into six steps we can use in our own lives. 1. Keep in touch with Jesus the chief healer; be humble. It’s about Him. Not you. 2. You must be willing to face your own wounds. 3. Don’t be afraid of the dark: of the raw and unpleasant nature of some wounds. 4. Know how to respond in emergency situations. 5. Offer hope. We can’t be healers if we look desperate. 6. Be quiet.
7. Last talk of the day was with Professor Helen Alvare. I’m a fan of the site she helped start “Women Speak for Themselves”, plus I’m a fan of presenting authentic Catholic social justice so I was really excited for this talk and Professer Alvare did not disapoint. The biggest take away from ‘Building a Just Society: Catholic Social Teaching in Your Life’ was that we don’t need to be overwhelmed with Catholic social teachings or the large scale problems of the world.
She made a great point that in our family we probably encounter many people unlike us that we would not seek out in other circumstances. In learning to love our family, we can learn to love and serve those different from us. While we can’t tackle all the world’s injustices, we can use our talents to help and serve those in our immediate and extended family. After a brief Q&A session, she also stressed the need to fight back against the threat of euthanasia with all the power, and financial backing, that has been thrown at fighting abortion; perhaps by even creating places like crisis pregnancy centers to help those most at risk of considering doctor assisted suicide. What a great day! I’ll be pondering it all for along time! but that’s all for tonight. Link up below and don’t forget to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes! I look forward to reading your posts!!