Year of St. Joseph to Be Marked by Virtual Conference This Fall
The event, sponsored by Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry, will bring together dozens of well-known Catholic speakers
Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry will present its first-ever virtual Saint Joseph Summit Sept. 30 to Oct. 3. Themed Our Spiritual Father: Pilgrimage to the Heart of Saint Joseph, the free, online conference will feature presentations by dozens of prominent U.S. Catholics over a 72-hour period. Featured speakers include Father Donald Calloway of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Dr. Scott Hahn, Chris Stefanick of Real Life Catholic, filmmaker James Wahlberg, Deacon Harold Burke Sivers, Father Robert Spitzer of EWTN’s Father Spitzer’s Universe, the Avila Institute’s Dan Burke, Leah Darrow and Chastity Project founders Jason and Crystalina Evert.
Many prominent U.S. bishops will also serve as presenters, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City. Speakers will talk in their areas of interest while tying in the importance of the intercession of St. Joseph. Conference themes include spiritual warfare and healing and the family, with a particular focus on the spirituality of men, who conference organizers believe are called to be spiritual heads in their families.
To register for free and to see a complete list of presenters, visit www.saintjosephsummit.com. Due to the large numbers of speakers for a 72-hour period, however, organizers are encouraging the public to opt for the $49.99 premium “passport” which allows for lifetime access to presentations as well as bonus content and a free digital copy of Father Donald Calloway’s new book Consecration to St. Joseph: the Wonders of Our Spiritual Father.
The conference is the vision of permanent Deacon Steve Greco of the Diocese of Orange, California, who is also founder and president of Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry, an apostolate engaged in evangelism and the promotion of spirituality. Deacon Greco hosts a weekly Relevant Radio program, Empowered by the Spirit, which is recorded at the diocesan chancery office, Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. For one show in 2020 he interviewed Father Calloway, who discussed his book Consecration to St. Joseph. Deacon Greco noted that while Father was active in many apostolates, he believed his work promoting devotion to St. Joseph “was one of the most important things he’d done since becoming a priest.”
After reading the book and praying about what he had read, Deacon Greco believed God was calling him and Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry to present a conference “dedicated to St. Joseph in this Year of St. Joseph as designated by Pope Francis.”
He enlisted the support of Cardinal Studios, known for its work presenting online Catholic conferences, and Catholic publicist Alexis Walkenstein. The team has reached out to a variety of speakers since, and nearly every one asked has agreed to present. Deacon Greco has been encouraged by the enthusiasm the conference has generated; in fact, Cardinal Timothy Dolan invited him and Father Calloway onto the Cardinal’s Sirius XM radio show “Conversation with Cardinal Dolan.”
Deacon Greco said, “From the moment our Summit site went live, there has been a huge buzz in the Catholic world. The early excitement and support from so many is already bringing the Church together for a monumental move of God in this Year of Saint Joseph. To have cardinals and bishops, religious and so many lay leaders on board is a testament to the power of God to help us build the Summit and bring renewal to the Church.”
Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry
Deacon Greco was ordained to the permanent diaconate for Orange in 2007. In 2014, while working as an executive in the pharmaceutical industry, he founded Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry. The apostolate engages in Catholic evangelization and helping people grow in their prayer lives, working closely with the priests and lay people of many parishes and dioceses. Pre-pandemic, the ministry offered more than 100 talks and conferences annually.
As deacons are called to serve the poor, the ministry also supports the foreign missions in the Philippines and Indonesia. Deacon Greco has made four mission trips to these countries, and the ministry has committed itself to helping fund construction of San Pablo Apostle Church in the destitute neighborhood of Tondo in the Archdiocese of Manila.
The pandemic forced the cancellation of the ministry’s in-person events, so Deacon Greco and his ministry turned their attention to improving the virtual component of the ministry. He and his wife, Mary Anne, for example, present a Friday afternoon Facebook Live presentation on the upcoming Sunday’s Mass readings. They also launched several online conferences monthly. He explained, “While we very much want to get back to regular in-person events, the virtual component is here to stay, as it gives us the ability to reach people anywhere in the world who have an internet connection.”
Open to Promptings of the Holy Spirit
Deacon Greco describes St. Joseph as a compassionate man, open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He also said Joseph possessed great faith and patience, and was devoted to his family. He continued, “Imagine the stress on him when it was time for Mary to give birth. He must have been frantic, but in the end was able to secure the perfect place. I’m sure a stable in Bethlehem was not the script he would have been written, but when he saw this was the direction God pointed him, he went with it.”
He believes it is the ideal time for Catholics to take Joseph as a model and guide. He explained, “He can help us in our battle against Satan, and help us heal from past wounds. He is also an important guide for our time. He helps us better understand the role of the man in marriage, as a spiritual head, at a time when there is a dearth of such role models in society.”
Deacon Greco also noted that in the Year of St. Joseph, which runs through Dec. 8, there are a variety of special indulgences granted by the Holy See. One involves participating in a spiritual retreat of at least one day that includes a meditation on St. Joseph.
He anticipates that tens of thousands will join in the Summit, and hopes that it will transform the lives of many. He said, “I want to change minds, hearts and souls. I want people to understand that they are loved by Jesus Christ, the Holy Family and St. Joseph. I want our participants to experience total conversion, or metanoia. I believe this is one of the most important initiatives Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry has ever had.”