The St. Thomas Aquinas Society, begun in 1991, has hosted a series of conferences and events over the years. Most notable are the 20 major conferences which have brought in many speakers of national and international renown. These conferences have always been three-day events until now with the 21st annual conference, “God the Father of Mercy/Our Lady of Fatima” which will be held at the Pikes Peak Center from August 1-5. Admission is free, donations gratefully accepted.
The Society was led to change from a three-day conference to five days this year when several dynamic speakers expressed interest in appearing at the event. “What happened was that we started out the usual Friday to Sunday planning,” said Therese Lorentz, president of the Society. “Then one day one of our members, Eddie Kemmerer, called to say that he had heard an interview on Annie Karto’s radio show with someone named Nikki Kingsley.” Kemmerer was convinced they needed to invite Kingsley to speak; her story was important to the conference. Lorentz contacted Karto (who is well-known to the conference audiences and is returning this year). She referred Lorentz to Joan Tarca-Alix who is a member of the Rhode Island World Apostolate of Fatima (St. Thomas Aquinas Society is under the banner of Our Lady of Fatima). With that first call between Lorentz and Tarca-Alix, “it was clear that something was up,” said Lorentz, “but it took a while before we realized that the conference would be five days. It started with the idea of a special day on Wednesday, August 1 to honor Our Lady of Fatima. It also became clear that Fatima would be woven throughout the conference, which has a primary focus on God, the Father of Mercy.”
It was through Tarca-Alix that the Society was able to invite Kingsley and other speakers new to the Society’s conferences such as Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer at the United Nations for the Holy See; Fr. James Kelleher, SOLT whose twofold focus is the Eucharist and rosary crusades; and Nuno Prazeres, International Secretariat of the World Apostolate of Fatima in Fatima. Prazeres has a personal connection to the Fatima apparition: his grandfather knew the three shepherd children of Fatima: Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. He lived next door to Jacinta and Francisco Marto, he was Francisco’s best friend and was also at the Miracle of the Sun on October 13, 1917.
Michael Russell O’Brien is returning to Colorado Springs. Michael was a rock star who has reached chart status. However, he gave up his rock star career to become one of the top Catholic Recording Artists and Conference Speakers of the last 25 years. In his talk, “From Rock Star to Our Lady’s Ambassador,” he will describe how an unexpected trip to Medjugorje began a series of events that led him back to his faith. All are invited to Michael’s concert on Thursday evening at 7:00 P.M. No tickets are required.
Fr. Andre Mahanna, Ecumenical and Inter-Faith Director of the U.S. Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, grew up in Lebanon. As a boy he and his family hid in caves in Mt. Lebanon to escape Christian massacres. Fr. Andre advised the U.S. Administration and members of Congress on issues pertaining to religious freedom at home and abroad. He was an honored guest of President Donald J. Trump for the signing of the executive order on religious freedom at the White House on the National Day of Prayer, May 4, 2017. He speaks several languages and is known as an Instrument of Peace.
Bishop Michael Sheridan will preside over Mass at 7:00 P.M. Friday August 3. Mass is offered each day of the conference including a First Saturday Mass at 8:00 A.M. for those who like to keep the First Saturday devotions. In addition, there is also Adoration, opportunities for Reconciliation and prayers for healing.
Other speakers include Fr. Wade Menezes, CPM, well-known Conference Speaker and host of EWTN’s Crux of the Matter; Fr. Bill Halbing, who will also celebrate a healing Mass at St. Patrick Church at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, July 31; Fr. Chris Alar, MIC from the Stockbridge Divine Mercy Center in Massachusetts; Fr. Lou Cerulli from Montreal who has a dynamic healing ministry and also focuses on the Eucharist; Roy Schoeman, Professor at Harvard and author of Salvation is from The Jews; and Judy Studer, President of the Rhode Island World Apostolate of Fatima and Custodian of the United Nations Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima and First Class relics of St. Jacinta and Francisco.
Most speakers will be at the conference for all five days. “We really pack the schedule,” Lorentz says, “so that we can offer as much as possible in these few days. It is good to review the schedule to find the speakers one will want to hear. People are welcome to come and go throughout the conference according to what is convenient for them.”
The Vendor area will feature books, religious items, t-shirts, CDs of the conference and other CDs too. The Society was happy to welcome the Marketing Director of EWTN, who will have a table, and also the Ave Maria Peace Center of Toronto. Other vendors are from Colorado Springs, Nebraska, California, Texas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida and Missouri.
The Society requests that attendees register if possible. It helps with the planning. As always, there is no required registration fee. “We don’t want to keep anyone out because of money,” said Lorentz. “A person who is able to give a donation will receive the blessing of almsgiving because it comes from their heart and not from a requirement.”
For further information and complete schedule and biographies, check the St. Thomas Aquinas Society website at: http://www.stthomasaquinassociety.org/conference-information You may also call 719-448-0020.