Speakers

Fr. Larry Richards

A gifted and captivating speaker, preacher and retreat master, Fr. Larry Richards holds the answer to some of life’s most profound questions. He speaks from experience as a pastor of an inner city parish, a high school chaplain, a counselor and evangelist. Fr. Larry Richards has directed hundreds of retreats, parish missions, and conferences for young and old alike. His inspirational talks and presentations, always authentic and enthusiastic, have changed the hearts, minds and lives of millions of listeners worldwide.

Father Larry Richards was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After high school, he attended the college seminary at Gannon University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling in 1983. Father Larry Richards continued his studies at the major seminary at St. Vincent in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and received his Masters of Divinity degree in 1987. He will soon conclude his studies at the University of Notre Dame and be awarded a Master of Arts degree in Liturgy.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1989 for the Diocese of Erie, Fr. Larry Richards serves as pastor of St. Joseph Church/Bread of Life Community in Erie. He is also the Spiritual Director of the TEC (To Encounter Christ) Retreat Program for the Diocese of Erie.

Fr. Larry Richards is the founder and president of The Reason for our Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to ‘spreading the Good News’ by educating others about Jesus Christ. For more information on the foundation, go to: www.TheReasonForOurHope.org.

Fr. Larry Richards hosts a nightly radio show called “Changed Forever with Father Larry Richards.” It can be heard nationwide on Relevant Radio daily at 8 pm ET/ 7pm CT, Sunday at 7 am ET/ 6 am CT. For more information, or to listen on-line, go to: www.relevantradio.com.

Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers

Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers is the Founder and Director of Aurem Cordis™, a Christian evangelization and apologetics organization dedicated to the dissemination and promotion of Catholic values, principles, and teaching in complete faithfulness and total submission to Holy Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium. The goal of this apostolate is to bring as many people as possible to a deeper love of Christ and the Gospel by sharing the truth of the Catholic faith in love.

Deacon Harold is active in giving lectures, retreats, and seminars in numerous parishes, on college campuses, and at workshops and conferences nationally and internationally. He has appeared in Envoy and The Domestic Church magazines, and on many national radio programs, including Catholic Answers Live, Catholic Connection, Kresta in the Afternoon, Across the Nation, and Catholic Bookmarks. He has been featured on the Eternal Word Television Network’s Life on the Rock, EWTN Live, EWTN Bookmark, and hosts the EWTN series, “Behold the Man: Spirituality for Men”, “Made in His Image: Family Life Today” and “Christ the Servant: The Vocation of Deacons.” Deacon Harold’s numerous publications, audio-video library and E-Store can be accessed through his website: www.deaconharold.com.

Deacon Burke-Sivers holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame, and a Master’s degree in Theological Studies from the University of Dallas. Deacon Harold is a Benedictine Oblate of Mt. Angel Abbey, an associate member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, a member of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, and a consultation team member for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops National Directory for Catechesis.

Currently serving as the Director of Public Safety at the University of Portland, Deacon Harold is a nationally recognized expert in school safety, security, and violence prevention, and is listed in the International Who’s Who of Professional Management. He and his wife Colleen have four children. 

Robert Rogers

Robert T. Rogers, a quiet electrical engineer from Ohio, was living a wonderful life. A son of large loving family, he looked forward to building his own large family. He had a beautiful wife, Melissa, and four precious children ages eight to one. Although the couple had suffered several miscarriages, were challenged with a special needs child, and Melissa nearly died from a tubal pregnancy, Robert knew that God had blessed him and his faith remained unshaken.

Then tragedy struck; in an instant, a flash flood in Kansas overtook the family van on a highway in 2003, sweeping Robert’s beloved family away from him to their deaths. He was alone, on his knees before God asking “why?” Through his immediate trust in God, Robert has risen above adversity and shared his compelling message across the country with ABC, CBS, CNN, Montel Williams, Focus on the Family and numerous Catholic churches, schools, youth rallies and men’s conferences.

The amazing story of how Robert not only survived the unspeakable tragedy, but triumphed into a man on fire with love for God, is chronicled in his book, “Into the Deep: One Man’s Story of How Tragedy Took His Family But Could Not Take His Faith.”

Now Robert travels the world,  sharing his witness that life is short  and we must cherish those we love, and keep God at the center of our lives. His powerful talk was laced with Scripture as a reminder that all those who love God will encounter tragedy and that the secrets for dealing with it lie within stories such as the Book of Job. Robert has a goal of opening an orphanage in honor of each of his five deceased family members. So far he has honored his wife Melissa with an orphanage in Russia and his daughter Makenah with an orphanage in Rwanda. Information on his apostolate,  “Mighty in the Land” can be found on his website. Robert closed his talk with a poignant song to his oldest daughter Makenah in which he asked her what it was like to live in heaven.

An accomplished worship leader, pianist, songwriter and author, Robert teaches others to live a life of no regrets with his inspiring words and original songs at the piano.

Chris Padgett

A brilliant songwriter, musician, speaker and worship leader, Chris Padgett travels around the world giving talks, missions and concerts.

A founding member of the popular Christian band Scarecrow and Tinmen, Chris wrote, recorded and toured with the band for seven years. He also has four solo albums to his credit: Follow, Golden, Wonder (Joyful Desperation), and The Encounter.

One of the most effective champions of family life in the church today, Chris can speak from experience. He’s been married to his high school sweetheart for over 15 years and has eight children. As he likes to say, the Padgett family is taking the call to “make disciples” very seriously!

Chris and his wife, Linda, recently published their first book, Not Ready for Marriage, Not Ready for Sex: One Couple’s Return to Chastity. Recounting their journey from courtship to marriage, the book speaks to young people about maintaining chastity in the midst of a culture that encourages otherwise.

Known for his zany sense of humor and his love of books, Chris is a “very zealous” convert to Catholicism. He and his family entered the church on Easter of 1999. He holds a master’s in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and has begun doctoral work in Marian studies at the International Marian Research Institute in Dayton, Ohio.

Chris is a veteran of three World Youth Days (Rome, Toronto, and Cologne; planning on Australia) and has ministered at many diocesan youth events. His television appearances include Life on the Rock with Jeff Cavins and Living His Life Abundantly with Johnette Benkavick, both on EWTN. He has spoken on numerous radio shows and appeared at several Steubenville youth conferences.

Upcoming projects include a best-of compilation of live performances, an iTunes project with some of the funniest stories and messages from his talks, and a DVD.

Coach John Smith

The reigning Big 12 coach of the year, John Smith is a name synonymous with wrestling success.

The Oklahoma State head coach won six consecutive world championships as a competitor from 1987-92, including gold medals at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and he owns five national championships as head coach of the Cowboys.

Smith accepted the head coaching position at Oklahoma State in 1992 and the numbers and accomplishments since that time speak for themselves. He has led his alma mater to five NCAA team titles in 1995, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, and he has coached 23 NCAA individual champions and five Olympians. Under his watch, the Cowboys have brought 11 team conference championships and 65 individual conference titles back to Stillwater. He has seen 89 of his student-athletes earn All-America recognition, an average of 4.7 All-America honorees per year.

Most recently, he led the Cowboys to their ninth Big 12 team title in 14 tries when the Pokes bested the favored Iowa State Cyclones in 2010. With a freshman and sophomore-heavy lineup that entered the event as underdogs, Smith guided a trio of Cowboys to championships in lifting OSU over an Iowa State squad that was ranked second in the nation at the time and was loaded with seniors and other experienced wrestlers.

In 1995, Smith married the former Toni Donaldson. The couple has three sons - Joseph, Samuel and Levi and two daughters - Isabell and Cecilia.

Breakout Sessions

The Modern Father:
Confronting The Challenges of Parenting for all the Many Ways Our Families Are Made

As the cultural boundaries for marriage and family have changed, so have the types of roles men play in the family unit. Some of us are biological fathers, other adoptive fathers. Some men have divorced and only have partial custody of their children. They may be stepfathers through remarriage – or their children may be part of a new family that includes a stepfather. While we are called to the same peerless fatherly virtues established by our Heavenly Father, our approaches may need to be very different depending upon our circumstances. Spend an hour exploring the challenges of the modern father with Conference Speaker Robert Rogers and a guest presenter. Introductory presentation followed by table discussions with other men.

TALK + GROUP DISCUSSIONS

 

Apologetics 101: Seven Truths of the Church You Must Know To Defend Your Faith!

For the most part, we Catholics get along rather nicely with our Christian and non-Christian brothers and sisters. Our kids play on the same baseball teams, we might work for the same company, we live on the same block. But at some point, most of us – or are spouse or children – are confronted by someone who wants to challenge our faith. It might be their aim to dissuade us of our Catholic faith in favor of another denomination. Or it might be their hope that we lose all faith and join in their agnostic, humanistic or atheistic viewpoint. Sometimes even the challenges that start simply enough – an invitation by your child’s friend to a night of praise and worship music at their church – lay the foundation for an all-out assault on the Catholic faith. Do you know where your faith is most vulnerable? The arguments that most often plant the seeds of doubt and persuade believers to doubt? Invest an hour with Conference Speaker Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers as he arms you with the seven truths of the Church you must know to defend your faith! This breakout session does not include group discussion. Questions and answers will be taken as time permits.

TALK ONLY

 

The Very Big Business of Deception and Addiction

Pornography is a $100 billion international business. No longer hidden in back rooms or concealed by manilla wrappers, pornography is a pervasive part of society that has the power to divide households and ruins lives. Join Deacon Roy Forsythe as he moderates a viewing of a discussion panel on the power and destruction of pornography. The panel was hosted by 2010 ITFF Speaker Steve Bollman and features a producer and actress from the pornography industry, a couple whose marriage has been impacted by pornography and a doctor who specializes in the effect pornography has on individuals and society. One of the most controversial aspects of pornography is the concept of addiction – and you’ll be stunned to understand how pornography stimulates the brain and distorts an individual’s ability to have a healthy sexual relationship inside of marriage. For the sake of your brothers, sons, friends and yourself, you’ll want to spend an hour learning why psychologists and other health professionals view pornography as a powerful deterrent to a healthy life when so many believe pornography is “not that big of a deal.” While most of us acknowledge the gravity of this all too common sin, Steve Bollman and his guests help us better understand how to regain control of lives tainted by pornography.

VIDEO PRESENTATION MODERATED BY DEACON ROY FORSYTHE WITH LIMITED Q&A

Young Men’s Program

The Oklahoma Fellowship of Catholic Men is pleased to present special programming for the young men who attend our conference.  You’ll join our regular session for the opening address by Archbishop Coakley and our first speaker then enter the young men’s mini-conference that runs through mid-afternoon.

The Way of The Cross

A Mini Conference for Young Men

  • A Fast Paced Mini-Conference Mixing Music, Stories, Witness and Outstanding Presentations
  • Features Oklahoma State Wrestling Coach and 2-Time Olympic Champion John Smith on Leadership
  • Preparation for Reconciliation Led by Fr. Larry Richards. 
  • Runs Parallel To The Men’s Conference for Half of the Day
  • A Unique Fellowship Opportunity For High School and College-Aged Men

Chris Padgett

A brilliant songwriter, musician, speaker and worship leader, Chris Padgett travels around the world giving talks, missions and concerts.

A founding member of the popular Christian band Scarecrow and Tinmen, Chris wrote, recorded and toured with the band for seven years. He also has four solo albums to his credit: Follow, Golden, Wonder (Joyful Desperation), and The Encounter.

One of the most effective champions of family life in the church today, Chris can speak from experience. He’s been married to his high school sweetheart for over 15 years and has eight children. As he likes to say, the Padgett family is taking the call to “make disciples” very seriously!

Chris and his wife, Linda, recently published their first book, Not Ready for Marriage, Not Ready for Sex: One Couple’s Return to Chastity. Recounting their journey from courtship to marriage, the book speaks to young people about maintaining chastity in the midst of a culture that encourages otherwise.

Known for his zany sense of humor and his love of books, Chris is a “very zealous” convert to Catholicism. He and his family entered the church on Easter of 1999. He holds a master’s in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and has begun doctoral work in Marian studies at the International Marian Research Institute in Dayton, Ohio.

Chris is a veteran of three World Youth Days (Rome, Toronto, and Cologne; planning on Australia) and has ministered at many diocesan youth events. His television appearances include Life on the Rock with Jeff Cavins and Living His Life Abundantly with Johnette Benkavick, both on EWTN. He has spoken on numerous radio shows and appeared at several Steubenville youth conferences.

Upcoming projects include a best-of compilation of live performances, an iTunes project with some of the funniest stories and messages from his talks, and a DVD.

Coach John Smith

The reigning Big 12 coach of the year, John Smith is a name synonymous with wrestling success.

The Oklahoma State head coach won six consecutive world championships as a competitor from 1987-92, including gold medals at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and he owns five national championships as head coach of the Cowboys.

Smith accepted the head coaching position at Oklahoma State in 1992 and the numbers and accomplishments since that time speak for themselves. He has led his alma mater to five NCAA team titles in 1995, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, and he has coached 23 NCAA individual champions and five Olympians. Under his watch, the Cowboys have brought 11 team conference championships and 65 individual conference titles back to Stillwater. He has seen 89 of his student-athletes earn All-America recognition, an average of 4.7 All-America honorees per year.

Most recently, he led the Cowboys to their ninth Big 12 team title in 14 tries when the Pokes bested the favored Iowa State Cyclones in 2010. With a freshman and sophomore-heavy lineup that entered the event as underdogs, Smith guided a trio of Cowboys to championships in lifting OSU over an Iowa State squad that was ranked second in the nation at the time and was loaded with seniors and other experienced wrestlers.

In 1995, Smith married the former Toni Donaldson. The couple has three sons - Joseph, Samuel and Levi and two daughters - Isabell and Cecilia.

Fr. Larry Richards

A gifted and captivating speaker, preacher and retreat master, Fr. Larry Richards holds the answer to some of life’s most profound questions. He speaks from experience as a pastor of an inner city parish, a high school chaplain, a counselor and evangelist. Fr. Larry Richards has directed hundreds of retreats, parish missions, and conferences for young and old alike. His inspirational talks and presentations, always authentic and enthusiastic, have changed the hearts, minds and lives of millions of listeners worldwide.

Father Larry Richards was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After high school, he attended the college seminary at Gannon University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling in 1983. Father Larry Richards continued his studies at the major seminary at St. Vincent in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and received his Masters of Divinity degree in 1987. He will soon conclude his studies at the University of Notre Dame and be awarded a Master of Arts degree in Liturgy.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1989 for the Diocese of Erie, Fr. Larry Richards serves as pastor of St. Joseph Church/Bread of Life Community in Erie. He is also the Spiritual Director of the TEC (To Encounter Christ) Retreat Program for the Diocese of Erie.

Fr. Larry Richards is the founder and president of The Reason for our Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to ‘spreading the Good News’ by educating others about Jesus Christ. For more information on the foundation, go to: www.TheReasonForOurHope.org.

Fr. Larry Richards hosts a nightly radio show called “Changed Forever with Father Larry Richards.” It can be heard nationwide on Relevant Radio daily at 8 pm ET/ 7pm CT, Sunday at 7 am ET/ 6 am CT. For more information, or to listen on-line, go to: www.relevantradio.com.

A SPECIAL NOTE FOR FATHERS

We know that the annual Catholic men’s conference is a father-son tradition for many. We make sure that fathers and sons can share much of the day together but have listened carefully to the feedback of young men over the past few years to create a a time where your sons can relax, be themselves and share freely with peers. This is an opportunity for growth that includes preparation for reconciliation with Fr. Larry Richards in a way that is specific to the challenges faced by high school and college aged-men. We encourage fathers to attend the main conference track, choosing one of the three breakouts designed for them and let your sons attend the young men’s breakout session independently.