.- The Fifth Annual Midwest Catholic Family Conference drew about 3,500 people to a weekend of prayer, music and family-oriented activities to Wichita, Kansas.
The conference, which began Friday, included speakers and activities for all ages, with separate programs for kids, teens and adults.
Barbara Kelly and her late husband, Frank, started the conference in Wichita after seeing a similar Catholic Resource Center event in California.
The conference included among its speakers Dr. William Coulson, psychologist, international speaker and author; Father Andrew Apostoli,a prominent member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal; Mary Vogrinc, Catholic evangelist; Jason Evert, a nationally recognized speaker and apologist with Catholic Answers; Father Bernard Gorges, founder of the successful "Totus Tuus" youth program; Jeff Cavins, apologist and Executive Director for Starboard Radio Network; Father Antoine Thomas, founder if a children's Eucharistic Adoration program known as "Children of Hope"; and Tim Staples, a former Baptist preacher converted to Catholicism.
This year's conference schedule included a concert and a live performance, bringing a new element of entertainment to the weekend, said Kevin Regan, conference coordinator.
The concert, given by Catholic artist John Michael Talbot on Friday, brought more than 300 non-conference attendees, which included non-Catholics, Regan said.
"It was a new thing, and it worked wonderfully. We definitely plan on pursuing other concerts or music" in the future, he told the "Wichita Eagle."