The lineup of speakers for our 2009 Saint Benedict Center Conference is now complete. Our speakers will be Sister Marie Therese, Sister Maria Philomena, Doctor Robert Hickson, Mister Gary Potter, Mister John McManus, Mister C. Joseph Doyle, and Mister Brian Kelly. Your humble servant — not listed on the roster — will be the master of ceremonies, so my comments will be spread throughout the two days.
The theme our speakers will be addressing is “Toward an Integral Catholic Culture: Variations on a Theme of Father Feeney.” Having a bit of a musical background, the phrase, “variations on a theme,” is something that came natural, especially considering the fact that all of this year’s speakers are men and women who explicitly consider themselves disciples (directly or indirectly) of Father Feeney. The “theme” upon which they will be improvising “variations” (i.e., their own insights) is summarized by Gary Potter on page 63 of After the Boston Heresy Case. The author is talking about articles appearing in the early issues of From the Housetops:
An article by Fr. Feeney in the third issue of Housetops was especially striking to the present writer. in “Catholicism is Also a Manner,” the priest makes it clear that the Faith is something to be lived, not merely held; and when it is lived a culture results. The culture is what was called at the center an “integral Catholic culture.” The term simply signifies living in a Catholic way. At the center it meant that even games … were spun out of the Faith.
So, our speakers this year will be talking about Catholic Culture. In a sense, this is our perennial theme. But do not expect glaring generalities on the subject followed by wine and cheese (against which, I hold no grudges!). We expect our speakers also to give us red meat: nourishing, fortifying — and yes, challenging stuff. But the nourishment, fortification, and challenge are meant to lead us somewhere; that somewhere is what we can do in our locales, our homes, and our souls, to make a reality of the integral Catholic culture Father Feeney and his disciples idealized and labored to achieve.
Location: Saint Benedict Center, Richmond, New Hampshire. Please find directions here.
Schedule: Friday and Saturday, October 30 and 31. The minute schedule is to be announced, but there will be three speakers on Friday, and four on Saturday. It is expected that Sunday — which is the Feast of All Saints — will see many of the conference goers returning to our chapel for Holy Mass, followed by our traditional SBC brunch, and more Catholic camaraderie. The conference will begin Friday with registration at 11:30 AM and the first talk at noon. Saturday will be a very full day, beginning with Holy Mass at 7:30 AM, and ending with a great home-cooked meal that night, with fortifying red meat and good red wine.
Between the talks, there will be plenty of time for Catholic camaraderie. There will also be some youth programming on the schedule this year.
Airports: Area airports include Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT), Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS), and Bradley International Airport (BDL). Shop around for best prices.
Hotels: There is a block of rooms reserved at the Super 8 Motel in Keene. For our conference goers, they are available for the special price of $75.59 a night. Please call 603-352-9780 (not their toll-free number) to reserve your rooms at that special price. Tell them you are with the Saint Benedict Center conference to get the special pricing.
Other hotels in the area include the Best Western (603-357-3617), and the Holiday Inn (603-352-7616).
Other Accomodations: For those on a more modest budget, there will be some rooms available at the Center, as well as the hospitality of some of the layfolk in our Saint Benedict Center lay community in Richmond. For availability, please contact Russell LaPlume at our offices (603-239-6485 or [email protected]).
Cost: Conference registration is $100 for all the talks plus all the meals. Conference admission only is $25 for Friday and $40 for Saturday. Youths 14 and under get free conference admission, but their meals need to be paid for.
Meals: Both meals on Friday (together) cost only $7, with Saturday breakfast set at $7, Saturday lunch also at $7, and Saturday dinner at $15. That’s $36 total for all meals, a big savings over previous years. The food for Saturday’s lunch and dinner will be home-cooked, much of it on our grills here at SBC. Portions will be sufficient for one adult or two children.
Deadline: Deadline for meals registration is October 15. There is no deadline for conference registration.