Christ Our Life

By Tom Quiner

Catholics packed Wells Fargo Arena for the Christ Our Life Conference

Catholics packed Wells Fargo Arena for the Christ Our Life Conference

I spent the weekend Facebooking and tweeting from the Christ Our Life Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

What a weekend. I listened to top Catholic speakers peel back the depth and beauty of the Catholic faith.

Here is a quick distillation of key ideas presented by these speakers:

Timothy Cardinal Dolan invokes the last three Popes. He said JPII restored the soul of the Church; Benedict XVI the mind of the Church; and Francis the heart of the Church.

Cardinal Dolan, talking about JPII, talked about him growing up in Poland, a country he characterized as “a Catholic nation on steroids.”

Timothy Cardinal Dolan“Every human life has dignity and meaning.”

Timothy Cardinal Dolan: JPII’s trip to Poland in 1979 were the 9 days that changed the world. Poland lost WWII twice. They won it the day Saint John Paul the Great set foot on Polish soil, June 3rd, 1979. At Mass in Victory Square, Cardinal Dolan relates, the crowd started shouting “We Want God! We Want God! We Want God!” The Pope said, “this is what I came for.” Communism was dead.

Cardinal Dolan: “Faith and Reason are buddies.” Thank-you Pope Benedict XVI. He restored the mind of the Church in an era of atheism “on steroids.”

“The Church says YES to everything that is good and beautiful.” Cardinal Dolan talking about Benedict. The Church is your ally in EVERYTHING that ennobles the human person.

Dolan on Benedict: “He stepped down saying it’s not about me, it’s about Jesus.”

Cardinal Dolan: “I knew I had no chance to be Pope because they didn’t have any cassocks in XX size.”

“We have a Pope with heart.” Cardinal Dolan talking about Pope Francis. “He’s not afraid to talk to us about tenderness.”

Dolan on Pope Francis: “The Church is a family with heart.”

Dolan: The greatest pastoral challenge today is about the Church. We want Christ as our King without us being a member of the Kingdom. We want God as our Father as long as we’re the only child. We want Church without Christ. Francis: Christ and His Church are one!”

Dolan on Francis: “The family of the Church is dysfunctional because our family consists of sinners. Let’s get people into the family before we start talking to them about doctrine, like Jesus did with Peter. Come with me, your life will never be the same.”

Dolan on Pope Francis: Be welcoming. Love people to get them into the Church. Then start answering their questions.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan could easily step in for Jimmy Fallon (another Catholic) without The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon missing a beat. He is quite entertaining with an endless supply of humorous anecdotes.

Magnus McFarlane, founder of Mary’s Meals, is now on stage. This guy, moved by the Holy Spirit, founded a charity that feeds kids in third world countries around the world. Kids on the margins have a chance because of this guy.

Even though the schools are closed in West Africa because of the ebola crisis, Mary’s Meals is still getting food out to the villages.

Mary’s Meals feeds a kid for a school year for about $19 per school year. You heard that right. Feed a kid living on the margins for less than you spend on coffee in a week.

Fr. Larry Richards says we are called to surrender everything to Christ. We need to put Jesus in charge of our sex life, our financial life, our faith life, EVERYTHING to Jesus.

Fr. Larry Richards: If we don’t give God our time every day, then we’re saying God’s not worth our time.

Fr. Larry Richards: “Catholics think there’s something wrong with a guy who is too happy.” His advice: spend more time with the Good News and less reading the bad news.

Fr. Larry Richards says start each day with Mark 1:11. Read it every day until you get it.

Fr. Larry Richards: How do I get to know God: “be still.”

Fr. Larry Richards: God owns all your money. You MUST give away ten percent to help the poor. He says if you can’t trust God with your money, how can you trust Him with your salvation?

Dr. Larry Richards: How do you get your kids back to church? You love them back into the church, not judge them back into the church.

Fr. Larry Richards calls on us to PRAY and LOVE, PRAY and LOVE, PRAY and LOVE. Jon Leonetti says this priest is changing the world with his powerful call to pray and love.


  1. Alan Eoriatti on September 24, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Thanks for the recap Tom. I could not make the entire event, but loved what I saw and heard. The Catholic Church is alive and well. I was also encouraged by the large number of youth at the event.

    • quinersdiner on September 24, 2014 at 10:01 am

      Amen, brother!