The diocesan chapter of the Catholic Medical Association has been hosting White Masses with Bishop Paul Sirba every October since 2010, but this year the group is bringing in its biggest speaker yet: Boston College philosophy professor and world-renowned apologist Peter Kreeft.
Kreeft is the author of 75 books, many written for a popular audience and published by Ignatius Press, on a wide variety of topics including philosophy, Catholic apologetics, catechesis, Scripture, Christian literature, and prayer and spirituality, to go along with countless shorter works. Among his best-known titles are “Handbook of Christian Apologetics” (with Ronald K. Tacelli, S.J..), “Christianity for Modern Pagans” and “Fundamentals of the Faith.”
Kreeft has also assisted the Knights of Columbus in a series introducing the faith and is an in-demand national speaker known for strong wit and strong arguments in defense of Catholic teaching on issues like the right to life, as well as engaging question-and-answer sessions.
“We wanted to get a more nationally known speaker in order to hopefully expand the numbers of people attending,” said Dr. Dan Skorich, president of the diocesan chapter of the CMA, known as the St. Raphael Guild.
Skorich said Kreeft will be addressing the CMA group in a dinner after the White Mass on pro-life issues, but he is also giving talks at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary and Holy Rosary School on other topics — evangelization, how to talk about gender issues and “Why be Catholic?”
Skorich said the CMA worked with the Cathedral parish and school to get the most out of Kreeft’s presence.
“Dr. Kreeft charges a fixed rate for his time, and is willing to give as many talks as able during his time here,” Skorich said. “So we wanted to maximize our time with him and to give parishes, staff, teachers, deacons, priests [and] parishioners an extended time with him.”
Kreeft’s first talks are Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Holy Rosary School gym in Duluth, where he will speak on “How to Evangelize a Hostile Ex-Christian Culture” from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and “How to Talk About Gender Issues” from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mass itself will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Cathedral, which will be followed by the dinner and a talk on “The Problem of the Denial of Human Dignity.”
Kreeft will also speak Sunday, Oct. 23, in the Cathedral social hall on “Why be a Catholic?” from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
All the events, including the dinner, are open to the public, and except for the dinner, all are free.
However, excitement is building as word gets out, tickets for the dinner for religious, clergy and students are free, and Essentia/St. Mary’s employees have ticket discounts, while there is a maximum of 200 tickets available, so Skorich suggested getting tickets early at the organization’s website, duluthcathmed.org. Cost is $35 per person.
— Kyle Eller / The Northern Cross