March 21, 2013
BISMARCK – The Catholic Diocese of Bismarck is planning to finish the last month of the Year of Faith in a huge way. The diocese is planning its first-ever THIRST 2013 Conference at the Bismarck Civic Center Oct. 25-27, 2013.
“When brainstorming events for the Year of Faith, the planning committee began discussing the idea of having a conference as a climactic event to bring the diocese together,” said Michelle Duppong, the Bismarck Diocese coordinator for the Year of Faith. “At a minimum, we’re expecting 5,000 people, but we want to pack the place and experience the power of the presence of Christ’s body!”
The event will begin Friday evening with Mass and a keynote by Dr. Scott Hahn, an internationally renowned Catholic author, speaker and former Protestant minister followed by a concert by “The Thirsting,” a four-piece Catholic alternative rock band from Vancouver, Wash. Saturday will feature a highly anticipated presentation by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Other speakers include popular youth presenter Chris Stefanick and husband-wife tandem Peter and Debbie Herbeck among others.
“The caliber of speakers is the best of the best,” said the Rev. Monsignor Chad Gion, chair of the Speakers Committee for THIRST 2013. “These are nationally known speakers on the faith and we’re phenomenally blessed to be able to host an event of this quality. It’s not an exaggeration to say that you really couldn’t do better in terms of quality of speakers.”
The event also includes time for prayer, confession and eucharistic adoration and ends with Mass on Sunday which Duppong hopes will include many priests, deacons and lay people from North Dakota and the surrounding region.
Duppong said individuals of all faith denominations are invited to attend in order to
“have an encounter with Jesus Christ and see the friendship He desires to share with every one of us.”
“People should come to THIRST to find Jesus and say ‘yes’ to His offer of friendship with them because they will never have a better and more faithful friend,” said the Most Rev. Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck. Bishop Kagan added that those who attend will “be sent home much different from when they arrived” with “peace of mind and heart.”
THIRST 2013 is a free event, but participants are encouraged to reserve their spot at the conference by registering online and getting more information at www.bismarckdiocese.com/events.
“We hope that people will come, but that they won’t come alone,” Duppong said. “We want everyone to bring someone else with them—to think of their family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers.”
The Bismarck Diocese plans to have a THIRST conference every two years, although Duppong admitted extra effort has been put into THIRST 2013 since it will occur near the end of the international celebration of the Year of Faith.
“It’s time for us to share our excitement and joy about our encounter with and experience of Jesus,” Bishop Kagan said.
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