Cardinal Pell and Bishop Strickland Headline the Catholic Family Conference Saturday

Marking the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, Kari Beckman of Regina Caeli Academy says the 2nd annual in-person and virtual conference offers messages to help families thrive as domestic churches in this year of St. Joseph.

(L) Bishop Joseph Strickland alongside Cardinal George Pell.
(L) Bishop Joseph Strickland alongside Cardinal George Pell. (photo: Diocese of Tyler/EWTN)

In a year of virtual conferences brought on by the ongoing pandemic, this weekend’s Catholic Family Conference will be one of the first in-person events for Catholic families to participate in. Of course, there will be a virtual component — last year over 40,000 tuned in to hear Bishop Strickland and others — but this year a few hundred families will also be together in Texas to hear in-person, very moving speeches and testimony including Cardinal George Pell himself sharing his own story of surviving persecution. Bishop Strickland will also be participating again this year along with Dr. Ralph Martin, Steve Ray, Trent Horn, and many others. 

Kari Beckman, executive director of Regina Caeli is happy to sponsor this year’s event alongside Carmel Communications and is thrilled about the in-person component. 

“I firmly believe that we need to be in person. We’ve seen so much loss of our fellowship by being divided… While technology is helpful, being in-person really has its own element, where the Holy Spirit works together. Scripture is very clear—when two are more are gathered in his name, He is here with me.”

As founder of Regina Caeli Academy, an online and hybrid homeschooling academy focused on faith formation, Beckman understands the very important work of forming young minds  and says it’s no coincidence that the conference kicks off May 1, telling the Register, “We chose May 1 to host this conference on the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in this year of St. Joseph.” 

Bishop Strickland himself has a talk focused on St. Joseph with many other speakers weaving it in. Beckman says the focus of the conference is helping families to build their own domestic churches and who best to learn from than St. Joseph.

“I homeschool because I really desire for my children to be saints. And of course when we think of that, we think oh, perfect children? I can’t do that—I’m not even going to try. The reality is that every saint was a sinner. But the difference is turning back to Christ. They keep turning back to him for purification and moving towards that goal of perfection. We want to give families the tools to help build a domestic church of potential saints.” 

Dr. Ralph Martin is also participating speaking on the topic of the ‘Church in Crisis’ and if there is one thing Beckman hopes attendees take away with them from the talks this weekend, it’s a path forward given the moguls and roadblocks in the way. 

“The church is in crisis but we have a solution. And it is the domestic church. Family by family, taking back the traditions of our Catholic faith, focusing our own relationship with Jesus Christ, and fixing what’s broken in each one of us to the best of our abilities — that’s how we fix the church in crisis.”

Families are also dealing with so many issues this year, many wrought on by the pandemic, but also cultural snares especially with the rise of cancel culture and so much radical ideology infiltrating not only public schools but Catholic as well. Conference attendees will also hear from author Noelle Mering who wrote, Awake, Not Woke: A Christian Response to the Cult of Progressive Ideology

Today's culture does not change the Catholic mission we all have today, but Beckman's Regina Caeli Academy is offering resources for parents to lead their children on the road to sainthood. Beckman says, "If you are very serious about your kids being saints, it requires more from you to be involved in there life. You being the primary influence. Our students have the best healthiest peer influence ever—their parents!"

Despite the turbulent times we are facing, Beckman explained that the message attendees will hear at the  Catholic Family Conference is one of hope.

"I would encourage everyone if they can to listen to these talks... to really talk about the Holy Spirit. And what a blessing to have the folks that we do all in one day to impart their beautiful knowledge and just how God has inspired them to teach and form us."

The 2nd annual Catholic Family Conference will be held Saturday, May 1, at the Westin Irvine Convention Center in Irving, Texas. The virtual component allows for Catholics to join from across the globe from the comforts of their home. 

Beckman says the conference content is not just limited to parents with families but also married couples and young adults. As she knows from her own conversion story, the Lord works in mysterious ways and we never know who we might influence with our own faith and principles. At the end, it's all about building the domestic church and instilling values and ideals in young minds to strive for sainthood.