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More than 1,500 people gathered at a conference titled “How to Share the Faith” Oct. 29 at Creighton University in Omaha.

Catholic Answers conference focuses on faith

More than 1,500 people from seven states came together Oct. 29 to become more effective evangelists through a conference titled "How to Share the Faith."

The daylong event, at Creighton University in Omaha, was sponsored by Omaha-based Spirit Catholic Radio.

People were encouraged to share, defend and live their faith, while growing in love for God and the church, in talks from speakers with Catholic Answers, a national lay-run apostolate of Catholic apologetics and evangelization, and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln.

Mike Koley, a member of Holy Cross Parish in Omaha, who attended with his wife, Molly, three of their six children, a son-in-law and several of their friends, said he was impressed with the caliber of speakers and the crowd’s enthusiasm.

"The Catholic Answers people really understand the culture and how to not only bring Catholic teaching to it, but how to communicate with folks without being afraid," Koley said.

"You can’t just be quiet anymore, and just go to Mass and be a nice neighbor, but you need to take the time to ask people where they stand and why," he said.

"The key is to do it in a loving and Christian manner by engaging in conversations. You’re not trying to win an argument, you’re sharing the truth."

Denise Bierma, a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Omaha who attended the conference with her husband, Fred, a nephew, several prayer group members and friends, said the conference gave her confidence to discuss her faith with others.

She was especially impressed by speaker Trent Horn’s presentation.

"He offered many ideas on how to use questions so the conversations do not become arguments and neither person is placed on the defensive. You don’t need to have all the answers to evangelize," Bierma said.

Other speakers included Christopher Check, president of Catholic Answers, and apologists Patrick Coffin, Tim Staples and Karlo Broussard.

"The event was a year in the making after talking to all three Nebraska bishops about what was needed to equip people to be evangelists," said Jim Carroll, executive director of Spirit Catholic Radio. "We want to energize the laity."

The conference also was a kickoff for Spirit Catholic Radio’s new apostolate, "Encounter Jesus," which will provide resources at selected secular and Catholic events to invite and inspire people to know more about Jesus and the Gospel. The apostolate will engage people in conversations to discover their needs and provide or recommend appropriate resources.

Catholic Answers’ syndicated radio program, "Catholic Answers Live," is carried on Spirit Catholic Radio weekdays from 5 to 7 p.m. and about 400 other stations nationwide.

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