The 7th annual Napa Institute Conference will be held July 26-30 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, California.  Featured speakers include Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, author George Weigel, author Mary Eberstadt, Dr. Tim Gray and Dr. Ted Sri, both of the Augustine Institute, Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J., president of the Magis Center and the Spitzer Center, and attorney Alan Sears.

The weekend conference includes fine dining and socializing opportunities.  On Thursday evening, for example, dinner includes a Taste of Napa Valley, which features products from wineries and breweries from all over Napa Valley.  Off-site events for attendees to choose from include a golf outing at Eagle Vines, wine tasting at Mondavi or Domaine Carneros, Trinitas Library Tasting and, for the first time this year, a tasting at the Napa Distillery.

I recently spoke with Emily McCormick, events manager for the Napa Institute (, about the Institute and upcoming conference.


What is the history of the Napa Institute and what does it do?

In his article Catholics and the Next America, Archbishop Charles Chaput delivers a prescient warning to American Catholics regarding a growing trend toward secularization in American culture, with Catholics facing dwindling relevance, threatening their ability to be heard.  In response, the Napa Institute was formed to help Catholic leaders face the challenges posed in the “next America” — to continue the work of the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops, heeding Christ’s call for ongoing evangelization.

By leading participants to a deeper understanding of the truth behind the Faith, the Napa Institute emboldens Catholics to live and defend their faith with a peaceful confidence that is borne out of solid formation, fellowship and spiritual enrichment.  The Napa Institute plans 3-4 conferences, symposiums and pilgrimages a year to bring people together to work together towards a more faith-filled culture.


What impact has the Napa Institute had on you personally?

It has impacted me through the relationships I have formed with so many Catholics from across the country and world.  It is amazing to see what people do with their talents God has given them and I have enjoyed getting to know many different people.    For me, having the opportunity to create major Catholic conferences and events has encouraged me in living out my faith as well.


Who should come to the conference?

Catholic business CEOs, leaders, presidents of Catholic schools, clergy, bishops and cardinals, lay people who are involved in the Church and want to create new relationships with other leaders.


How did the 2016 conference go?

Last year had the biggest attendance ever with more than 520 people. Speakers included New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Rick Warren, Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron, Carly Fiorina, Dr. Robert George, Dr. Carter Snead and Scott Hahn.  It was a pivotal year for the Napa Institute and the best conference yet!  I have big shoes to fill for 2017’s conference.   


What impact do you think the Napa Institute has had on its participants?  Has attendance been growing?

Yes, attendance grows by about 80 people each year.  It has been helping people grow their ideas and apostolates, gather support from like-minded Catholics and create new relationships for ventures that have yet to be determined. 


What other activities does the Napa Institute have coming up?

We have an exclusive Spain pilgrimage the first week of September that will be high-class and a memorable trip. We also have our business conference with the Catholic University of America’s Busch School of Business and Economics, featuring Charles Koch and his book Good Profit.


What should someone do if they want to get involved with the conference or other activities of the Institute? 

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