Familiaris Consortio Conference 2020

Wisdom Begins in Wonder

How Authentic Catholic Educators and Families can Save the Culture

Saturday, March 7, 2020

8:30 am – 12:00 noon     ~    Michigan League

Featuring Keynote Speaker:

Mary Rice Hasson

Kate O’Beirne Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC

Director of the Catholic Women’s Forum and

Author of “Get Out Now: Why You Should Pull Your Child From Public School Before It’s Too Late

Mary Rice Hasson will present the keynote address: “With Grace and Responsibility: Embracing Our Mission in a Challenging Culture

Additional speakers include:

Tom Maloney, Superintendent of Schools, Diocese of Lansing

John M. DeJak, President, Father Gabriel Richard High School

With panel discussions featuring: Greg and Lisa Popcak, Sr. John Dominic Rasmussen, OP, Fr. Jim Rolph ’06, Karen McClelland, Brian Garred

Moderated by Al Kresta

Join us for a morning of talks and discussion about the critical importance of Catholic education for the future of the Church and culture. 

Admission is $15/person and includes a continental breakfast. 

Familiaris Consortio Conference Reservation

Previous Familiaris Consortio Conferences

Phoenix from the Ashes: The Sex Abuse Crisis and the Future of the Catholic Church, was held on March 2, 2019 at the Michigan League. This second installment in our Familiaris Consortio Lecture Series, provided in-depth discourse on the troubling situation within our Church. Keynote Speaker Prof. Janet E. Smith and her fellow speakers provided tremendous insight into how we got here and what lay Catholics can do now. The 200 member audience asked engaging and thoughtful questions of our panel. To keep the conversation going, Ave Maria Radio has created an interactive blog. Click here to join the conversation. Click here to listen to the talks presented at Phoenix from the Ashes.

Watch our Students’ Perspectives Video

Father Gabriel Richard High School inaugurated our Familiaris Consortio Lecture Series on March 10, 2018 with a half-day conference entitled Life: Posted! Social Media and Its Impact on the Modern Family, held at the Michigan League on the campus of the University of Michigan. This conference was co-sponsored by Ave Maria Radio, Emmaus Health, ArborWoman and Notre Dame Club of Ann Arbor.

Faith-filled and insightful talks were presented by Ashley Fernandes, MD, PhD, Rusty Chavey, MD, John M. DeJak, JD and Fr. Todd Koeneigsknect. These were augmented by panel discussions, moderated by Al Kresta of Ave Maria Radio, that included Sr. John Dominic, OP, principal of Spiritus Sanctus Academy, Ann Arbor, our own Lauren Post, MA, Dr. Elizabeth Sorenson of Emmaus Health, Dr. Thomas Fluent of the University of Michigan, Fr. Todd Koenigsknecht as well as keynote speaker Dr. Fernandes, each providing unique perspectives and anecdotes based upon their professional experiences. The speakers outlined and presented the challenges of our new technologies and then proposed solutions. Because of the ever-changing landscape of technology and social media, we have developed this resource page to continue the conversation.

Social Media Resources

Life: Posted! Social Media and Its Impact on the Modern Family Presentations

Ashley Fernandes, MD, PhD Keynote Address

Listen to the Keynote Address.

Social Media and Social Justice: Can Medicine Help Heal the Family?

Rusty Chavey, MD

Listen to Dr. Chavey’s talk.

Culture, Community, Health Consequences

John M. DeJak

Listen to Mr. DeJak’s talk.

Contra Torporem: The Role of Catholic Education

Fr. Todd Koenigsknecht

Listen to Fr. Todd’s talk.

The Domestic Church

Additional Resources



In SCREENAGERS, physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction.

View the Screenagers trailer and find a local screening.

Faith-Based Resources


Axis is a Christian organization with a mission to empower the next generation to think clearly and critically about what they believe and to take ownership of their faith. Axis provides timely updates of pop cultural trends and provides parents with a weekly newsletter with insights into how pop culture, technology, and media are influencing children.


Christian Family Movement

The Christian Family Movement (CFM) brings parents together for small group discussion.  CFM discussion guides bring topics that families deal with every day into a Christian, faith-based discussion. Families are helped to understand, evaluate and make changes in situations they encounter.

Christian Family Movement

Social Media Discussion Guides:

  • Finding Solitude & Giving Our Full Attention in a Networked World
  • Privacy & Intimacy: Your Marriage & Social Media
  • Connectivity & Our Children

For more information, contact Brian and Mary Ann Thelen bjthelen@gmail.com or mathelen5@gmail.com.

Common Sense Media

Common Sense is a leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. They empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.

Common Sense Media

Secular Resources


Sherry Turkle is a Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT who has been studying the psychology of people’s relationship with technology for the past 30 years. She is the author of several books on the our relationship with digital culture:

Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (ISBN: 978-0684833484)

Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other (ISBN: 978-0465093656)

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age (ISBN: 978-0143109792)

Nicholas Carr is an acclaimed writer on technology and culture whose books have been translated into more than 25 languages.

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains (ISBN: 978-0393339758)

News Articles

Washington Post

This simple solution to smartphone addiction is now used in over 600 U.S. schools


Kids and Screen Time: What Does the Research Say?

These resources are have been brought to our attention by our presenters and others who are interested in the topic. They do not all necessarily express the views of Father Gabriel Richard High School, any of our co-sponsors, or the presenters.
The Familiaris Consortio Lecture Series is an outreach initiative by Father Gabriel Richard High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Its mission is to bring scholars and accomplished individuals to speak on a variety of issues that directly affect modern family life striving to contribute to the common good. It takes its name from the 1981 Apostolic Exhortation by Pope St. John Paul II which was the fruit of thirty years of philosophical reflection and practical experience on issues regarding the family.

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