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Theology at the Fair?

BY Tim Drake

| Posted 9/3/09 at 4:20 AM

Tim Drake
 

What do you get when you combine three priests, cheese curds, and over 1 million visitors? “Grill a Priest,” part of Theology on a Stick, at the Minnesota State Fair.

Conceived by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Cathedral Young Adult group, this is the second year that the group has brought its innovative bite-sized theology program to the state fairgrounds. Housed in the St. Bernards Bulldog Lodge and sponsored by the Catholic Aid Association, the event, held during five evenings of the fair, includes a lineup of Catholic speakers such as Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piche and University of St. Thomas professor Michael Naughton, “Grill the Priest,” Catholic music, and the opportunity for fairgoers to talk privately with a deacon or priest.

Last night, more than 60 fairgoers stopped by to ask intriguing questions of the three priests on hand: Father Nels Gjengdall, Father Erich Rutten and Father Ralph Talbott. They included questions such as: What is the Catholic response to the anti-science movement?; What happens when we die?; How did you know you had a call?; and How do we as Catholics respond to attacks on the Church’s traditions as ‘traditions of men.’