Archdiocese Local

Topeka youth event boasts big names

From left: Mike Mangione and Christopher West will present “Made for More: Visions of the Promised Land” at Hayden Catholic High School Feb. 2.

by Marc and Julie Anderson

TOPEKA — Mike Mangione says faith did not interest him much when he was 21.

“I was not into the faith at all, but I was open to having a conversation,” he said during a recent interview. Being open, he added, was the key to finding meaning in his life.

Mangione, along with noted speaker, author and theologian Christopher West, will present “Made for More: Visions of the Promised Land,” a two-and-a-half-hour experience that, according to promotional materials, is “an inspired blend of live music, art and presentation that taps the deepest desires of the human heart revealing their ultimate purpose and goal.”

Sponsored by the archdiocese and the Topeka parishes, the event will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at Hayden Catholic High School.

Presented by the Cor Project, the production, according to cofounder Mangione, aims to help people rediscover who they are and how to live an authentic human life.

Cor helps people reframe these existential questions in such a way that the divine plan for them shines through.

Local organizers said they’re excited to host an event of this caliber and hope it will provide a chance for people of all ages to rediscover their dignity.

Father Jaime Zarse, associate pastor of Christ the King Parish and chaplain at Hayden, said he hopes many young people will consider going.

“I’ve been in Topeka for four years now, and the high school has become a passion of mine,” said Father Zarse. Daily, he encourages young people to embrace the values of modesty, chastity and fidelity to church teaching and to participate regularly in the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist and reconciliation.

Calling them “excellent evangelists,” Father Zarse said Mangione and West will help everyone make greater sense of their lives by breaking open what St. John Paul II called the theology of the body.

Marie Apel, parish coordinator at Most Pure Heart of Mary, serves as the regional contact for the event. She was quick to acknowledge that pastors, associate pastors and countless volunteers at parishes across the city have given their time, talent and treasure to promote the event by offsetting the expense of billboards, participating in a promotional video, publishing bulletin announcements and selling tickets.

“I truly believe that every person that attends will come away with something and that Christ will touch their hearts in some way,” she said.

It’s a message that Mangione hopes everyone will receive with an open mind and heart. Being open is what led him on his own journey of faith and discovery.

“The whole goal is to affirm people where they are and to reorient them toward God,” said Mangione, adding that the elements will provide an experience like no other, and the use of music in the presentation is intentional.

“Music has an ability to reach outside the church’s doors,” he said.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the event, check with any of the Topeka parishes or click here.

About the author

Marc & Julie Anderson

Marc & Julie Anderson

Freelancers Marc and Julie Anderson are long-time contributors to the Leaven. Married in 1996, for several years the high school sweethearts edited The Crown, the former newspaper of Christ the King Parish in Topeka which Julie has attended since its founding in 1977. In 2000, the Leaven offered the couple their first assignment. Since then, the Andersons’ work has also been featured in a variety of other Catholic and prolife media outlets. The couple has received numerous journalism awards from the Knights of Columbus, National Right to Life and the Catholic Press Association including three for their work on “Think It’s Not Happening Near You? Think Again,” a piece about human trafficking. A lifelong Catholic, Julie graduated from Most Pure Heart of Mary Grade School and Hayden Catholic High School in Topeka. Marc was received into the Catholic Church in 1993 at St. Paul Parish – Newman Center at Wichita State University. The two hold degrees from Washburn University in Topeka. Their only son, William James, was stillborn in 1997.

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