The Fighting for Life Conference
Above: Catholic Apologist, Trent Horn, speaking to a crowd
Despite the closure of Epping Boys High School on the first day of the conference due to Coronavirus, we still had close to 100 attendees on each day. There were over 250 registered for the two days of the conference but unfortunately numbers were impacted by the current turn of events.
Please pray for the world right now as this Coronavirus outbreak spreads further. It truly is a time to reflect on our own lives and turn to God in prayer. Even though numbers were affected for the conference, over 400 people were reached across Trent Horn’s 4 day tour plus another 200 people for Raymond de Souza’s talks during the week of his tour.
We received fantastic feedback for both speakers as well as the conference. We will certainly be planning a bigger and better one next year!
The Fighting for Life Conference was in partnership with the Archdiocese of Sydney and it was great to have many represented from the Archdiocese.
The first speaker was Bishop Richard Umbers who shared his experiences of the March for Life in Washington which was well received and a great start to a very informative and inspiring event.
Above: Raymond de Souza speaking at the Conference
Raymond de Souza also gave fantastic presentations including a workshop, keynote and two Q&A panel appearances which were one of the highlights.
Rebecca Gosper from Life Choice Australia gave an excellent workshop and facilitated one of the Q&A panels.
Monica Doumit was brilliant, also giving a workshop and facilitating the other Q&A panel on Saturday.
Paul Hanrahan from Family Life International was great in both his workshop and panel appearance.
As always, Robert Haddad didn’t disappoint with a very moving and powerful talk on ‘The Culture of Death’. He was a great feature on the Q&A panel which was a popular part of this conference.
Above: Q&A panel with Monica Doumit, Trent Horn, Robert Haddad & Raymond de Souza
Eamonn Keane spoke with passion, looking at the human person and how we are made in the image and likeness of God.
Trent Horn gave very informative talks and was a major highlight with his smooth and practical delivery style. He really is a world class apologist in his knowledge and professionalism on how to answer questions regarding the faith. Trent has authored 9 books and hundreds of articles, has his own podcast (The Counsel of Trent) and regularly appears on Catholic Answers LIVE.
Thank you to all who came to the conference and made it a very special event! We hope to hold this each year in March and the plan is to work closely with as many pro-life movements as possible to make the 2021 conference even more powerful. Mark your calendars around a week before next year’s feast of the Annunciation!
Above: Trent Horn speaks to a crowd in Wollongong
Trent went on to speak at various locations including the Wollongong Cathedral to a packed room. There was a great atmosphere with so much energy from the young adults who came.
Trent also led a women’s retreat at St Benedict’s in Arcadia. This was a great opportunity for the women to spend a few hours with Trent, asking him questions on the faith. Lastly, Trent gave a presentation to the Sydney Catholic Schools religious education teachers. It was an excellent night held at the Canterbury Leagues Club in Belmore.
Above: Trent Horn at the women’s retreat in Arcadia
We are so grateful that Trent was able to visit. I encourage you to subscribe to the Counsel of Trent podcast and also stay in touch with the work of Catholic Answers at www.catholic.com.
Raymond de Souza did his tour prior to the conference. He began by giving 4 talks at a youth retreat held at the Benedict XVI Retreat Centre. Over 60 young people came to this retreat and Raymond spoke powerfully as usual. Raymond then gave a talk at the Maternal Heart church in Lewisham as well as talks at the new Shrine Cafe in Parramatta and Lumen Verum Apologetics at St Michael’s, Belfield.
Raymond then gave a second retreat the following weekend, this time to 75 Croatian men, once again at the BXVI Retreat Centre before flying out to New Zealand for 5 days. Raymond gave multiple talks across the Tasman and then returned in time for the Fighting for Life Conference. We now have a USB of all audio talks by Raymond De Souza which is available on our online store.
Above: Raymond de Souza speaking at a youth retreat
Study Groups are underway!
During this season of Lent, we have launched 7 study groups that Matthew Tague and myself are facilitating. Matthew is leading ‘Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible’ at Holy Spirit parish in North Ryde as well as launching another study at St Andrew’s in Marayong. I am leading the ‘No Greater Love’ study in Summer Hill, Croydon, Blacktown and Castle Hill.
It has been so great to see so many people turn up to these study groups! There is a real hunger in learning the faith and I invite you to take a closer look at these studies. We have the ‘Chosen: This is Your Catholic Faith’ program available online which you can explore, so please visit https://catholicschool.vhx.tv/ to learn more! Please pray for a project that we are working on in this space to formalise the learning process in Catholic Adult Education. More on this very soon!
Above: The ‘No Greater Love’ bible study for Lent has been very popular
The launch of my first book!
The day has finally arrived! I got the first printed copies of my book this month and was blessed to be able to launch the book at the very place where my conversion took place! The book is titled ‘How Islam Led Me Back to Christ‘ as it was my Muslim friends who challenged me about my faith. It was thanks to them that I turned to God and discovered the beauty of our Catholic faith in a very real way.
I was so blessed to have had Deacon Harold write the foreward and the likes of Dr Scott Hahn, Fr Mitch Pacwa, Tim Staples, Steve Ray and Robert Haddad all endorse the book.
The night was very special, starting with Mass then Stations of the Cross, followed by my talk. Giving the talk inside the church allowed me to point to the very spot I was kneeling at when begging Jesus to show me a sign on whether he wanted me to be a Muslim or a Christian. It was a very sentimental evening, especially being able to launch the book during Lent – the same time the conversion happened. Thanks to everyone who turned up and supported the launch!
Above: Charbel pointing to the tabernacle where he had his encounter & could see the image of the Shroud of Turin
After the talk finished, it was great to gather outside and offer refreshments while I signed books. It was a very new feeling for me to sign my own book for people!
I was very happy to see my school friends turn up and know they have already read the book. My family and friends turned up including my mother who gave me that slap! Some people purchased multiple copies for their family and friends and I pray that the book has an impact on all those who read it.
A special thank you Fr Andrew Benton who welcomed me to share the story and has been very supportive. Thank you to all of the collaborators, proof readers and people advising me during this whole journey.
Above: Book signing & celebration of the book launch with family & friends
The following day, I presented at a men’s breakfast in Bonnyrigg. Thirty men attended and we had Mass, breakfast, my testimony talk, discussion sessions and a Q&A.
I also shared the testimony at St Charbel’s College in Punchbowl to the Year 12 students. It was well received and I pray that the students were encouraged in their faith. The book is now available as a paperback edition and will soon be available as an eBook as well. Please see here to get your copy.
The new Parousia Podcast has launched!
We are excited to have launched a brand new podcast, known simply as The Parousia Podcast. The first show is up now on Podbean and all major podcast platforms as well as our website. I invite you to listen to it and share among your friends. Videos will be coming out soon too, so keep an eye out for the podcasts hosted by Mark, Phillip and myself.
That wraps up another month in the world of Parousia. Our prayers are with everyone who is affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. Let’s pray that we get through this tough time and bounce back stronger then ever, especially in our faith. Thank you so much for all your support!
God Bless you,
Charbel Raish – Director
*Featured New Release* The Jewish Roots of Holy Week (CD)
Holy Week is the holiest week of the year. But why do we call the entire week “holy”? Does anything important happen on the days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday? Follow Scripture scholar and professor Dr. Brant Pitre as he walks through each of the seven days of Holy Week, and explains how the words and actions of Jesus on the last seven days of His life are deeply significant, relevant, and rooted in the Old Testament. Enter Holy Week and make it your most life-changing week yet.
How Islam Led Me Back to Christ – Charbel Raish – Parousia (Paperback)
Charbel Raish was born into a Catholic home. But, in the last 6 years of school, he was influenced and challenged in his faith by Islamic friends. In his final year, he struggled to make a choice. He visited a mosque to give his life to Allah and Muhamed. But God wasn’t done with him yet. Charbel visited a church, begging God for a sign. His life was transformed forever. This conversion story shares what happened that day in the Mosque and the Church! Be moved and inspired by how God worked in Charbel’s life, and how you can access God’s grace – if you only turn to Him!
Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father – Fr Donald H. Calloway, MIC – Marian Press (Paperback)
In the midst of crisis, confusion, and a world at war with the Church, it’s time to come home again to our spiritual father, St. Joseph. In this richly researched and lovingly presented program of consecration to St. Joseph, Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, brings to life the wonders, the power, and the ceaseless love of St. Joseph, Universal Patron of the Church and the Terror of Demons.
How to Love Yourself – Chris Stefanick – Lighthouse Talks (CD)
The words that we speak to ourselves shape our self-perception; how we see ourselves, and how we act. Despite being told perhaps more than any other generation to love and believe in themselves, this generation struggles more than any other with anxiety, self-loathing, and low self-esteem. In this talk, speaker and author Chris Stefanick tackles the lies which hold us captive to these struggles, and boldly shares the Good News of Jesus Christ—that Love Himself has come to redeem us, and destined us for eternal glory.
The Tears of Christ: Meditations for Lent – St. John Henry Newman – Augustine Institute (Paperback)
Jesus wept, not merely from the deep thoughts of his understanding but from spontaneous tenderness, from the goodness and mercy, the encompassing loving-kindness and exuberant affection of the Son of God for his own work, the race of man.”
This precious insight takes us to the heart of the interior life of St. John Henry Newman (1801–1890), from the treasures of which these meditations are offered as a devotional aid for the season of Lent. Drawn chiefly from his sermons and gently modernized, these meditations offer a share in the fruit of his contemplation, that we might the better enjoy with him the “one thing which is all in all to us,” which is “to live in Christ’s presence, to hear his voice, to see his countenance.”
*Featured Parousia On Demand* What Ever Happened to the Modern World? – Cy Kellett
The modern era, which was supposed to be all about progress and reason, has gotten itself into serious trouble. In many ways the modern world has become unfit for real people, and as it progresses, it becomes even less so. We cannot make a society fit for humans until we admit that the modern world, though it has gained many things, has also been a time of losses for humanity. The most serious of these losses is the loss of Christ. And knowing how that happened can help us recover a modern world fit for people.