The 10th Annual Ignited by Truth Catholic Conference convened February 24th and 25th, 2012, at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Not counting scores of walk-ins on Saturday, some 1,500 people attended the Conference. The theme of the conference was "Bringing to light the truth of the teachings of the Catholic Church and igniting in our hearts a love for our Faith."
“We are excited we’ve been able to offer the conference for ten years,” said Peggy Fedorovich, speaker coordinator. “We realize it couldn’t have happened without the help of hundreds of volunteers contributing their time to the conference each year.”
The conference began on Friday night with music, vendors and speakers addressing those desiring to learn more about the Catholic Church. Among Friday night’s offerings: “The Bible is a Catholic Book” by Dr. Michael Barber, and “The Influence of Modern Media,” by Mario St. Francis.
The program continued on Saturday at 8 a.m. with speakers, praise and worship music, vendor and ministry fair, and student breakout workshops. “We had five very strong, solid speakers who each bring something to the conference to help evangelize and teach people about our Catholic faith,” said Mrs. Fedorovich.
The conference featured several well known speakers and presenters and included:
- “Lessons from Mother Angelica” by Raymond Arroyo, an internationally recognized, award winning journalist, producer, and bestselling author, whose program is available each week in more than 100 million homes around the globe. He has worked for the Associated Press, the political columnist team of Evans and Novak, and as a Capitol Hill Correspondent. He is host and creator of EWTN’s international news magazine, “The World Over Live.”
- “Unlocking the Book of Revelation” by Dr. Michael Barber, At the age of 13, after listening to a couple of lectures given by Dr. Scott Hahn on cassette tape, he told his father he wanted to get his Ph.D. in Theology and become a professor. Dr. Barber is now a Research Fellow for the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, founded by Dr. Scott Hahn, and is Professor of Theology, Scripture & Catholic Thought at John Paul the Great Catholic University. Dr. Barber is the author of a number of books, including Coming Soon: Unlocking the Book of Revelation & Applying Its Lessons Today and Genesis to Jesus: Studying Scripture from the Heart of the Church, a Bible study co-authored with Kimberly Hahn.
“I really enjoyed Mr. Barber’s talk on Revelation,” said Kelleigh Russo. “I’ve always been afraid of Revelation, because I never understood it. He explained how it is the Mass explained and the end of time; it was an amazing discovery for me.”
“This is my third IBT and I keep coming back because I learn so much about my faith with a deeper understanding,” said Meghan Killela. “I enjoyed Dr. Barber’s talk on the how the Old Testament points to the New Testament; I always leave the conference more educated than when I walked in.”
Abigail Reimel, a high school student from Wilmington, said she was especially impressed by Dr. Barber. “I want to get some of his tapes for my father to hear when he’s driving,” she said. “Dr. Barber really gave great insights into the Bible, and he was also fun to listen to.”
- “From Volleyball to Convent: My Love Story” by Sr. Miriam James Heidland. Recruited to the University of Nevada- Reno on a full volleyball scholarship as Sharon Heidland and 800 miles away from church- going parents, she had everything the world said she needed to be happy. She was a star athlete on a full ride, academically successful, a beautiful and popular party girl with a football player boyfriend, a late night disc jockey, and aspired to be a “fabulously wealthy” business woman and live a “glamorous life.” Yet she felt something was missing. She knew she had to do more with her life. Thus began her journey back to Christ.
- “Spiritual Combat” by John W. Garcia, A gifted and popular speaker who is well versed in a number of areas including the study of addictions, spiritual warfare, family life, demonology and obedience to the Magisterium. He is well known for his spiritual revival retreats. Mr. Garcia is the founder of Sober for Christ, a Catholic lay ministry that reaches out to those with addictions.
- “Living Chastity with Courage” by Mario St. Francis. A model and actor, once named one of America’s Most Eligible Bachelors by Cosmopolitan magazine, and one of Pittsburgh’s Most Beautiful People, Mario St. Francis led life in the fast lane of fame, money, and prestige. God sent a miracle that began a series of events that would flip Mario’s life upside down. Never to be the same, Mario left it all behind to follow Christ and is now a full-time “man on a mission.”
Twin teenagers Tom and Michael Beley were impressed with Mr. St. Francis’ testimony. “He compared sexuality to a knife. It can be used for good, such as cutting a steak, or for bad, such as hurting someone,” said Michael. “He said God wants our sexuality to be used for good: in marriage, to create life and build a family. I could really relate to everything he said, and he gave me a new way of thinking about things.”
- “Reflections on World Youth Day” by Margaret Schuetz, a junior at Franciscan University of Steubenville studying English with a concentration in Writing and History. When not in school, she lives in Raleigh, NC, with her parents and four siblings. This past summer, she traveled to Madrid for World Youth Day, and was excited to share her experiences.
The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge concluded the conference with Mass at 5pm. Among the concelebrants were Msgr. David D. Brockman, Vicar General, and Msgr. Jeffrey A. Ingham, Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Southern Pines.
In his homily, Bishop Burbidge said, “Jesus did not stay in the desert. He returned to preach that the Kingdom of God is at hand! You, too, are sent forth to a world that needs to hear that message.” Bishop Burbidge continued, “Ignited by Truth, share it with others always, with conviction and consistency and in the spirit of compassion and charity. Never underestimate how the Lord will use the example and witness you offer and the seeds and good deeds that you plant.”
Watch Bishop Burbidge’s homily (Windows Media)
Read Bishop Burbidge’s homily
Above: Raymond Arroyo, EWTN program host and author, speaking to 10th annual Ignited by Truth Conference in Raleigh. (Click photo to view larger.)
Above: Sr. Mirian James Heidland, sharing her faith journey from sports to Consecrated Life. (Click photo to view larger.)
Above: The Ignited by Truth Conference provides attendees the opportunity to peruse religious articles displayed by Catholic organizations and stores. (Click photo to view larger.)