On Saturday, October 12, the second annual GotLove? conference will be held at Nativity Church and School in Menlo Park, just south of San Francisco. GotLove? is aimed at youth and young adults (and their parents) and describes its mission: “Our culture misleads many about love, sex, and relationships. We want to empower people with the truth about love and purity, to bring them lasting joy and fulfilling relationships with God and others.”
GotLove? traces its roots to John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. The conference was begun in 2012 under the leadership of newly-ordained Father John Mary Chung, associate pastor at Nativity, who “… saw a tremendous need to enlighten people about Christ’s teachings on authentic love and chastity. He noticed that many, even devout, Catholics were misinformed or simply ignorant.”
Father Chung asked Nativity deacon Dominick Peloso to help form a committee of parishioners to tackle the problem. Stanford college and graduate students, recently married people, single professionals, those called to celibate vocations, parents, and grandparents – came together. One of the committee members and co-organizers of the conference told CalCatholic: “God created each of us to love and to be loved. Love is our calling and purpose. Each of our hearts longs to fulfill that calling, but we are often confused about what love is. Our culture and what Pope Frances calls the Enemy feed us lies about love, sex, and relationships. Those lies have left many feeling confused, frustrated, used, depressed, and, sometimes, addicted….”
The 2012 conference drew 250 people. Attendees used phrases like “life-changing,” and some parents told organizers that their high school age children “talked non-stop for an hour about how amazing the conference was.”
This year’s conference begins with Mass at 9:00 a.m.. One of the conference workshops is on authentic masculinity, and is called “What it is to be a Man?” That workshop turned out to be the most popular at last year’s conference, and this year it will feature Charlie Aeschliman, a former Navy S.E.A.L. and S.E.A.L. instructor, who will talk on Commando Catholicism and Spiritual Warfare; and Matt Fradd from Catholic Answers, who has appeared on the BBC and EWTN, will speak on Dispelling Sexual Myths, Manhood and True Freedom.
Other speakers include Mary Bielski, national spokeswoman and founder of ALL4HIM, on Exposing Lies, Unveiling Truths about Love, Sex and Relationships; and Patricia Sandoval, from Rachel’s Vineyard and who has been featured on EWTN, on Healing from The Culture of Death. Seminarians and religious sisters will also be in attendance and will host workshops on My Call to The Priesthood and My Call to Be a Sister.
Organizers told CalCatholic: “Delicate subjects are addressed at the conference. They are handled with refinement, dignity, and discretion. Our goal is to have every attendee leave as innocent as they arrived. Attendees must, however, be at least high school age to attend.” Registration is $30 and includes lunch and morning and afternoon refreshments. Nativity Church is located at 210 Oak Grove Avenue in Menlo Park. The conference will be held at the adjacent Sobrato Pavilion of Nativity School, at the corner of Oak Grove & Laurel. Registration and more information at www.gotlove.info