Fr. Vasko will examine the plight of Christians in the Holy Land--the forgotten victims in the current Middle East political crises. Persecution, inadequate housing, high unemployment, greatly reduced educational opportunities—all causing widespread suffering and a mass exodus of the Christian population. About 150,000 Christians remain in the Holy Land. An estimated 500-600 Christians leave each year, and some say that the Christian church may cease to exist here. Fr. Vasko will speak to the need for awareness of the complex human rights issues involving these Christians, the importance of humanitarian aid, the need to safeguard their right to remain in their homelands and the need to stem the tide of this suffering and mass emigration.
Fr. Vasko, a native New Yorker, entered the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land in 1981, after a ten-year career in marketing and public relations. Ordained to the deaconate in Jerusalem 1981, in 1987, he was ordained to the priesthood in Washington DC. Father Peter attended the Catholic University of America, majoring in philosophy and theology, later attending Duke University for graduate studies in anthropology with additional training in archaeology at the Franciscan Stadium Biblicum in Jerusalem. Father has served three consecutive terms on the governing board of the Franciscan Custody in the Holy Land which represents six Middle East countries. Actively involved in the international diplomatic community in Jerusalem, Fr. Peter serves as a liaison and guide for the White House through the U.S. Embassy, as well as with the municipality of Jerusalem. Currently, Fr. Peter is Director of Development for the Franciscan Custody and President of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, created to provide a worldwide voice for Christians living in the Holy Land and to ensure the continued Christian presence in the area. Interviewed extensively by both the secular and religious media about the Holy Land, he has also authored numerous articles and books. His speaking engagements on the Holy Land and the Middle East have taken him to Europe, Africa and throughout the United states.
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About Us: The Sacramento Catholic Forum is a 501(c)3 non-profit Catholic apostolate that aims to bring men and women together for luncheon events to listen to quality speakers who encourage and equip us to live lives of holiness, as disciples of the Lord Jesus. Our luncheons take place once a month at the Red Lion Woodlake & Conference Center in Sacramento - formerly known as the Radisson (View this location and get directions on Google Maps).
Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, a prominent Marian priest, author, speaker, and convert to Catholicism, exhibits unmistakable zeal and for the priesthood and devotion to Our Lady. Also known as the “Surfing Priest,” before his conversion, he was a “military brat,” high school dropout who had been kicked out of a foreign country, institutionalized twice and thrown in jail multiple times. After his radical conversion, he earned a B.A. in Philosophy and Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, M.Div. and S.T.B. degrees from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, and an S.T.L. in Mariology from the International Marian Research Institute in Dayton, Ohio. He speaks passionately and engagingly about the Blessed Virgin Mary and his conversion story. This promises to be a hard hitting, moving, do-not-miss presentation.
Fr. Calloway has written many academic articles and is the editor of two books: The Immaculate Conception in the Life of the Church and the Virgin Mary and Theology of the Body. He is also the author of Purest of All Lilies: The Virgin Mary in the Spirituality of St. Faustina and the Catholic bestsellers, No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy and Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest. His latest books are Marian Gems: Daily Wisdom on Our Lady, Mary of Nazareth: The Life of Our Lady in Pictures and Rosary Gems: Daily Wisdom on the Holy Rosary (coming out this year).
"The Wisdom of Genesis." An examination of the opening chapters of Genesis in light of commentaries by St. Augustine and St. Thomas
Now, perhaps more than ever, Scripture is misunderstood, belittled, and even attacked by believers and non-believers alike. The Book of Genesis is not immune to criticism. It has been called everything from naive prattle to pernicious writing; it has been described as merely myth, or the combination of different cultural and ignorant traditions, rarely is it considered a book of great wisdom. At least one reason for a failure to recognize the wisdom of Genesis is a lack of understanding of the great Catholic tradition of serious biblical commentary. Noteworthy among the great commentators are St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.
In this talk, Dr. Paul O’Reilly, Thomas Aquinas College, will explore how a look at Genesis through the eyes of St. Augustine and St. Thomas reveals the depths of meaning in the opening book of the Bible. It is crucial for Catholics to understand, as St. John Paul II put it, “The word of God is not addressed to any one people or to anyone period of history. Similarly, dogmatic statements, while reflecting at times the culture of the people in which they were defined, formulate an unchanging and ultimate truth.”
Paul O’Reilly, Ph.D., was one of eight, born and raised in battle-torn Belfast, Northern Ireland. Two of Paul’s uncles were murdered and their restaurant destroyed by a bomb blast. One of Paul’s brothers was abducted and his sister viciously attacked. Concerned that her children would be drawn into a life of vengeance, Paul’s mother applied for and received refugee status for her family in Canada. Seven months after the family emigrated to Canada, she was tragically killed in an automobile accident, orphaning Paul and his siblings. Heroically, an uncle and aunt, already the parents of four, adopted the eight devastated children. Paul enrolled at Thomas Aquinas College returning to teach there in 1989 after receiving his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Laval in Quebec. He also taught at the Pontifical Institute in Beaverton, Oregon, Saint Anselm College and Thomas More Institute.
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