February 9th & 10th, 2018 at the Liberty Theatre in historic Fort Scott, Kansas — LIMITED SEATING

What is this About?

Man was made to thrive in a certain place, a certain "ecological niche", within creation. Where is that place, what are its conditions and what are the main threats at present to authentic human flourishing?

Featured Speakers

We're delighted to welcome new and returning speakers to lead the conversation:

Most Rev. James D. Conley

Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska

Bishop James Conley has served the Catholic Church in a wide variety of ways since his priestly ordination in 1985. Originally a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, he served as a pastor, college campus chaplain, director of Respect Life ministries, theology instructor and a Vatican official until being named Auxiliary Bishop of Denver by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. In 2012 he was appointed the ninth bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska.

    Rev. Paul Check

    Rector, St. John Fisher Seminary

    Father Paul Check is a priest of the diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, currently serving as rector of the diocesan seminary. Fr. Check graduated from Rice University in 1981 with a BA in history and served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps for nine years prior to entering the seminary. From 2008 to 2016, Fr. Check served as the executive director of Courage International, spending much of his time traveling throughout the US and overseas making presentations to clergy about the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and her pastoral response.

      Joseph Pearce

      Professor of Humanities, Holy Apostles College & Seminary

      Joseph Pearce is an internationally-acclaimed biographer of modern Christian literary figures, including G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. His books have been translated into 9 languages. He is a prolific lecturer, television host, and editor, and currently serves as Tolkien and Lewis Chair in Literary Studies at Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.

        Christopher Check

        President, Catholic Answers

        Christopher Check is the President of Catholic Answers, the largest lay-run apologetics and evangelization organization in the English-speaking world. Chris holds a degree in English Literature from Rice University. He served for two decades as Vice President of The Rockford Institute and before that for seven years as a field artillery officer in the United States Marine Corps. His writings have appeared in, among others, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, This Rock, Touchstone, The Wanderer, Angelus, New Oxford Review and The Chicago Tribune.

          William Fahey

          President, The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts

          Dr. William Edmund Fahey is the third president of Thomas More College in Merrimack, New Hampshire. He holds an A.B. in Classics and History from Xavier University in Cincinnati; an M.Phil. in Ancient History from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland); and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Classics from the Catholic University of America. Dr. Fahey established and chaired the Department of Classical and Early Christian Studies while teaching at Christendom College, and has also taught abroad in Germany and England. He has been published in both scholarly and popular journals and is currently translating St. Robert Bellarmine's political writings. Dr. Fahey is a Benedictine Oblate of Clear Creek Abbey.

            Kevin O'Brien

            Founder, Theater of the Word

            Kevin O'Brien is the founder and artistic director of the Theater of the Word Incorporated, a Catholic theater company which tours the country evangelizing through drama. Although he was an atheist at an early age, Kevin's experiences with the dramatic arts began a conversion process, that, with the help of the writings of G.K. Chesterton, eventually brought him into the Church. Kevin hosts the television series The Theater of the Word on EWTN and can also be seen on episodes of EWTN's The Apostle of Common Sense, The Quest for Shakespeare, and The Journey Home.

              John Cuddeback

              Professor of Philosophy, Christendom College

              Dr. John Cuddeback is professor and chairman of the Philosophy Department at Christendom College. His book True Friendship: Where Virtue Becomes Happiness was republished in 2010. His academic writings have appeared in Nova et Vetera and The Thomist, as well as in several volumes published by the American Maritain Association. He lectures widely on ethics, family, and the good life. His website dedicated to the philosophy of family and household takes its name from his acorn-fattened pigs: Bacon from Acorns. Dr. Cuddeback is an avid gardener and hunter, and lives with his wife and six children in the Shenandoah Valley.


                Friday February 9

                Chris Check
                Put Not Your Trust in Princes
                Bishop Conley
                Renewal of the Catholic Soul in an Age of Noise

                Saturday February 10

                Opening Remarks
                Daniel Kerr, Prairie Troubadour host
                Joseph Pearce
                Small is Beautiful: Politics and Economics as if Families Matter
                Kevin O'Brien
                The Life and Times of Orestes Brownson
                Dr. Fahey
                A Hands-on Approach to Learning: Restoring the Place of Craftsmanship and Manual Labor in a Catholic Education
                12 noon
                Lunch on your own
                Fort Scott has multiple local eateries within a short walk of the Symposium venue
                Fr. Paul Check
                Is Chastity Part of the Good News?
                Dr. Cuddeback
                The Intentional Household
                Rosary and Confessions
                Q&A Panel Discussion
                Holy Mass at Mary Queen of Angels, Fort Scott
                Whiskey & Cigars with the Speakers
                For VIP pass-holders only

                Frequently Asked Questions

                What lodging options are available in Fort Scott? 
                We have a block of rooms reserved at a group rate at the Sleep Inn & Suites here in Fort Scott. The Sleep Inn is new, rooms are clean and commodious, and it is very conveniently located just two blocks from the Liberty Theatre. Please call 620.223.2555 by January 31st and mention the Symposium to guarantee the discounted rate.

                Are there discounts available?
                Yes, discounts are available for students, youth and members of Mary Queen of Angels parish. Please email info@prairietroubadour.org and we will send you the appropriate discount code that you can use at checkout.

                Are there any options for child-care during the Symposium?
                Yes! We are currently working on arrangements for child care for Saturday only. If you plan to attend, please email info@prairietroubadour.org with pertinent details (number of children, ages, names, etc) as it will help us in planning.

                What have your previous events been like?
                We recorded all of last year's talks — Watch the 2017 Symposium videos here.

                About Us

                The Prairie Troubadour is named in memoriam of poet, song-writer and man of the Kansas prairie, Gerald Francis Kerr.

                What is the Troubadour?

                Faithful to Holy Mother Church, The Prairie Troubadour is a group of friends inspired by the likes of Cardinal Newman, ChesterBelloc, John Senior, and other stalwarts of the Faith, to live and share the Joy of Christ through stories, song and good red wine.

                Through our annual symposium, we intend to create an authentic Catholic experience where the Good, the True and the Beautiful are glimpsed through lively discourse punctuated by earnest prayer, toothsome food, strong drink and the real mirth found in friendship.

                Catholicism needn't be stodgy and narrow.  Quite the contrary! As G.K. Chesterton reminds us, the walls built by the Church through doctrine and discipline are not the walls of a prison, but the "walls of a playground."  And as Belloc wrote, "Wherever the Catholic Sun doth shine, there's always laughter and good red wine.  At least I've always found it so.  Benedicamus Domino."

                Indeed it is so.  Let us bless the Lord!

                Dr. Gerald Kerr

                1944 – 2015Patriarch, physician, poet, farmer, troubadour, true Kansan and lover of the prairie.  Beloved husband, father of 6 and papa to 31 grand-children.  Catholic son. 

                  Stay in Touch

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                  Questions? Email us at info@prairietroubadour.org.