Midwest Catholic Family Conference focus this year will be the Eucharist

Fr. Dennis McManus, a professor of theology, will return to the Midwest Catholic Conference in August. (Advance file photo)

The Diocese of Wichita is teaming up with the Midwest Catholic Family Conference this summer for a Eucharistic Congress during the Year of the Eucharist.

The diocese has always collaborated with the conference because it is a Catholic event held with the permission of the bishop, according to Kathleen Timmermeyer, but this year both parties are working especially close.

“It’s not a relationship that’s going to be at this level going forward,” she said. “We’re excited to be working with the diocese and by the prospect of bringing in more Catholics from the diocese.”

Timmermeyer, one of the coordinators of the conference, said she and others initially worked with the diocese for a lineup of speakers, which was the most important aspect of this year’s event. The conference personnel and volunteers have a lot of experience in the other aspects of the event, she said.

In addition to focusing on the Eucharist, the conference’s first night will be enhanced.

In honor of the Year of the Eucharist, the conference will begin Friday evening with a 6 p.m. Schola Mass, a sung Mass. She is working with Fr. Luke Downing, the parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Wichita, to celebrate the Mass. Fr. Downing is experienced at the sung Mass and is planning to organize a small choir to assist at the service. It will be followed by a speaker and a musical act. To register visit CatholicFamilyConference.org.

Scheduled to speak this year:
• Fr. Dennis McManus, a Catholic scholar who has served the church in many areas, and is currently a professor of theology at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California.
• Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, a neuroscientist and director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia.
• Fr. Richard Veras, Magnificat contributor, director of Pastoral Formation, and professor of homiletics at Saint Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, New York.
• Dr. Mary Healy, professor of scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, and a bestselling author and international speaker.
• Dr. Denis MacNamara, an associate professor and executive director of the Center for Beauty and Culture at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.
• Jimmy Mitchell, pianist and storyteller, whose joy is to help others fall in love with God.