St. Matthew Speaker Series will kick-off with Dr. Ryan Hanning

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To help Catholics throughout Middle Tennessee better learn to engage with their faith amidst the busyness of everyday life, St. Matthew Church in Franklin is starting the St. Matthew Speaker Series with a two-night event March 22-23, at the church, 535 Sneed Road, Franklin, Tennessee 37069. 

“Life is busy. Between work, family, friends, and all of our other responsibilities, it can be challenging to prioritize other aspects of our lives, including our faith,” according to the event website. “But as Jesus says in our patron’s Gospel, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” 

Tony Jesse, the director of religious education at St. Matthew, said the series will answer those questions. 

“Our speaker series helps explore those pressing questions that our parishioners seek to know,” said Tony Jesse, director of religious education at St. Matthew. “Through these invigorating talks, we offer the faithful concise responses that are rooted in the Catholic faith to draw people closer to Christ’s teachings.”

The guest speaker for the first session of the series is Dr. Ryan Hanning, a professor of theology and Catholic studies at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, and a mentor for the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Catechetical Institute. 

During the two-day session, Dr. Hanning will discuss two topics. 

The first session, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, in the church, is titled “What is Happiness?”

“We live in a world that constantly tells us what we need to be happy. The challenge is that the happiness the world offers is not enough to fill the deepest longings of our hearts. We are made for more,” the event website says. “Jesus tells us that He ‘came so that we might have life more abundantly.’ 

“Join Ryan Hanning Ph.D., professor and author, as we examine God’s plan for human flourishing, and how to build the habits for lasting happiness.” 

The second session at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 23, in the church, will focus on “God’s Plan for the Family.” 

“Family life is filled with joys and challenges. We often struggle to understand how God can use the messiness of family life in His plan for our salvation,” according to the official website for the speaker series. “However, the family has a privileged place in the Church, and rediscovering the role of the family is key to renewing our communities and culture. 

The two-night event is free and open to all. 

For more information or to register, visit

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