Familiaris Consortio Conference 2022

Divided We Fail: How to regain unity among Catholics

On April 9, 2022, nearly 300 attendees joined us for the fifth annual Familiaris Consortio Conference. This year’s half-day conference tackled the topic of disunity among Catholics. Engaging speakers presented various viewpoints on the issue. Current FGR students also shared their perspective in video format. Recordings of the morning are presented here in the order in which they were presented.

Support Familiaris Consortio:

The Familiaris Consortio Lecture Series is an outreach initiative by Father Gabriel Richard High School. 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.

If you enjoyed the conference and wish to support our efforts to bring engaging topics of importance to the faith to the public, please use the button below.

Support the Familiaris Consortio Lecture Series

Previous Familiaris Consortio Conferences

Familiaris Consortio Conference 2021

Strangers in a Strange Land

Catholics in Contemporary American Culture

Strangers in a Strange Land: Catholics in Contemporary American Culture as presented on Saturday, March 6, 2021

Dan Lipinski
Former U.S. Congressman

“Catholic First: How Catholics Can Help Heal America’s Tribal Divisions”

Concerns about deep polarization and tribalism in America abound, but solutions are elusive. Former U.S. Congressman Dan Lipinski explains how Catholics, who don’t fit comfortably in either major party, can help heal the nation if they have the courage to be “Catholic first.” Lipinski will discuss the difficulties he faced during his 16 years in Congress as a Democrat working to protect the unborn, defend religious liberty, and support Catholic schools until these positions led to his defeat in the 2020 party primary.

About Congressman Lipinski

Former Congressman Dan Lipinski grew up in the “bungalow belt” near Midway Airport in Chicago and represented Illinois’ Third District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2005 to 2021. He has engineering degrees from Northwestern University and Stanford University and earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke University. Before he was elected to Congress in 2004, he taught American Government, including at the University of Notre Dame.
Dan Lipinski distinguished himself in Congress as a champion of the middle class and earned a reputation as a common sense legislator who brought people together to solve problems. He authored numerous laws on transportation, research and technological innovation, the promotion of American manufacturing, restoring fiscal responsibility, and honoring America’s veterans and seniors. He was the Democratic Chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus and the Congressional International Religious Freedom Caucus. Every year during Catholic Schools Week he introduced a resolution honoring the contributions of Catholic schools to America.
Dan and his wife, Judy, reside in Western Springs, Illinois. In their free time, they are avid runners, participating in numerous races each year, ranging from two-mile sprints to marathons.

Ralph Martin

Author and President, Renewal Ministries

Ralph Martin is the president of Renewal Ministries and the host of the weekly Catholic television program The Choices We Face. He holds a doctorate in theology and is the director of Graduate Theology Programs in the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Ralph is also the author of the widely read A Church in Crisis: Pathways Forward and The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints.

In his latest book, A Church in Crisis: Pathways Forward, Ralph Martin offers a detailed look at the hostility toward the Catholic Church that has grown in the nearly forty years since he released his A Crisis of Truth book and talks. This book’s mission is two-fold: Ralph uses copious evidence to uncover the forces that have continued to undermine the Body of Christ while also offering hope to those looking for clarity. Using both Scripture and Tradition, Ralph’s newest book will help fortify the faithful against errors that threaten us from all directions.

Wisdom Begins in Wonder 2020

How Authentic Catholic Educators and Families can Save the Culture

The 2020 Familiaris Consortio Conference was held on Saturday, March 7 from 8:30 am – 12:00 noon at the Michigan League on the campus of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The morning began with a talk by John M. DeJak, president of Father Gabriel Richard High School, entitled “A Single Hair on Your Head Shall Not Perish” and discussed the important roles the family and schools have in education of the next generation. His aspirational and inspiring talk will be available for listening soon.

Keynote speaker, Mary Rice Hasson, the Kate O’Beirne Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., delivered a sobering presentation on the state of public education and the activism that has infiltrated many public school systems with values that undermine the family and Christian faith.

Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Lansing, Tom Maloney, finished out the conference with his talk “The Role of Catholic Schools in Supporting the Domestic Church.” He emphasized and reiterated the unique characteristics of Catholic school as having their foundation in Christian Anthropology and orienting its students toward the ultimate goal of eternal life in heaven after making a positive impact on this world.

Panel discussions moderated by Al Kresta and a video of student perspectives rounded out the morning. Thank you to our sponsors – Ave Maria Radio, Emmaus Health, The Notre Dame Club of Ann Arbor, and Heart to Heart Women’s Apostolate for their support.

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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