“I tossed out an idea in an email exchange—almost as a fanciful thought—that all of us should just give an online conference,” Fahey told CNA.
“Everyone moved on the idea quickly...it was the fruit of friendship.”
Fahey said he hopes the friendship and levity of the group will come across online.
“Joy is of the Christian spirit,” Fahey said, citing the motto of the college he leads, which is taken from St. Paul: caritas congaudet veritati; charity rejoices in the truth.
“Catholics, especially on the cusp of darkness, can get quite melancholy and gloomy. But I think the Catholic character...is to laugh when the chips are down and ride on,” he said.
What is a troubadour, anyway?
Troubadours were medieval poets and storytellers, who went from place to place and often lived a mendicant lifestyle. St. Francis of Assisi in particular is often remembered as a “troubadour of God” for his mendicant lifestyle and joy.
Christopher Check, president of the media apostolate Catholic Answers, told CNA that his presentation, set for April 28, will focus on the importance of storytelling, especially in education.
He pointed out that many students today are fed a steady diet of practically oriented readings, with a decreased emphasis on stories that "capture the imagination and impart a moral truth."
"And yet, when Our Lord wants to impart a truth, what does he do? He tells stories," Check said.
"This is the educational device par excellence: the story. And Our Lord knew it."
Joie de vivre
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Chesterton, the inspiration for the series, was born in 1874 and became a prolific writer and staunch Catholic apologist after his conversion to the faith. He is renowned for writing apologetic classics such as “Orthodoxy” and “The Everlasting Man,” as well as for his fictional “Father Brown” series, among many other works.
He died in 1936 and is remembered for his humor and wit.
Check said the virtual conference aims to whet participant's appetites for the writings of Catholic authors like Chesterton, and to be in the company of fellow Catholics “and feel that joy” when the coronavirus outbreak ends.
Joseph Pearce, another presenter and director of book publishing at the Augustine Institute, told CNA that Chesterton's way of seeing the world was and is very Catholic, because a sense of humor, infused with grace, is crucial for evangelization.
Troubadours, in a Catholic sense, have a spirit of joie de vivre that comes from faith in Christ, Pearce said.
Chesterton brought people to God through a hearty cheerfulness and jollity, with a smile on his face, Pearce said.