Ralph Martin
Ralph Martin
Even before the pandemic, life was frightening. Add political and religious polarization, plus the anguish of regular family struggles, and modern life floweth over with anxiety.

Ralph Martin contends that joy and peace are possible amid the confusion. Martin, a theologian who teaches about evangelization at Sacred Heart Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit, will lead a conference in Oregon Sept. 23-24. The gathering, called “Living with Joy and Confidence in These Challenging Times,” takes place at St. Edward Parish, 5303 River Road North in Keizer. Sponsor of the weekend is Western Oregon Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

“I want people to know we can live with joy in this confusion because of hope in Jesus,” said Martin, host of the weekly Catholic television program “The Choices We Face.”

Martin said he wants to “help people have peace and not be tossed around by every trend that comes along.”

He recently met with priests in West Virginia and noticed discouragement because of low Mass attendance and parish closures. But Martin saw a turnaround once the clergy resolved to have confidence in Jesus and accept that nothing happens outside of God’s providence.

Anyone who develops a prayer life has a good chance at joy since a relationship with Jesus anchors one from the storms of culture and society, Martin explained.

His books include “A Church in Crisis: Pathways Forward” and “The Fulfillment of All Desire.”

The conference will be in person and livestreamed, beginning Friday evening at 6 p.m. with Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Peter Smith. The conference concludes at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Music will be provided by Greg Stone and Sonset Worship, and Dina Marie Hale will be emcee. Online registration ends Sept. 16 with late registrations Friday evening and Saturday morning at the door. Registration is free for clergy, religious and anyone under age 18.

A block of rooms with a special rate are reserved at the Best Western Motel in Keizer, a few blocks from the church.

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