June 14, 2012 STEUBENVILLE, OH—Since its founding in 1991, over 28,000 people have attended the Defending the Faith Conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville, garnering it a reputation as one of the most comprehensive Catholic apologetics conferences in the nation.Under the theme “Apologetics and the New Evangelization,” this year’s line-up of speakers will share the clear truths of the Catholic Church as called for by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Participants can expect to gain knowledge of Scripture, insights about the theology of the body, practical tips on evangelization, learn of secular threats to the Catholic faith, and more.The Defending the Faith Conference, from July 27-29, is honored to have Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis deliver the Friday night keynote address, "Witness to the New Evangelization," and be the celebrant and homilist at Saturday’s Mass. The conference also welcomes the ever-popular Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR, who will lead the Saturday evening Holy Hour. Biblical scholar, author, and Franciscan University theologian and conference cohost Dr. Scott Hahn will speak on “The Evangelical Catholic Moment? The Bible, the Eucharist, and the New Evangelization,” and offer scriptural insights throughout the weekend.Holy Land expert Steve Ray will explain how the early Christians evangelized in a pagan culture in his talk “Spreading the Gospel Back Then and All Over Again.”Apologist and author Patrick Madrid will lead the entertaining and informative “Stump the Apologist” workshop, while EWTN host Marcus Grodi’s workshop poses the tantalizing question, “What Must I Do to Be Saved?”In the 1980s, Dr. Janet Smith sounded the first alarm on the dangers posed by a contraceptive culture. Smith returns to DTF to speak on “John Paul II’s Personalism as a Tool of the New Evangelization” at a Friday afternoon session for early arrivals.Dr. Ralph Martin, who teaches the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, will answer his own rhetorical question, “Why Evangelize? Does it Really Matter?”Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska) has been at the center of legislative battles involving Church and state issues. He will give a Saturday workshop on “Protecting Our Religious Freedom.”A much-anticipated tradition at Defending the Faith is the keynote testimonial. This year’s presenter is Grammy award winning artist Collin Raye, holder of 16 number 1 country music hits. Raye converted to Catholicism at age 23. His newest CD, His Love Remains, was inspired by the death of his 11-year-old granddaughter who suffered for many years from a rare neurological disorder.Leading up to the Defending the Faith Conference is the mid-week, Applied Biblical Studies Conference, July 25-27, which immerses participants in biblical theology and includes the option of certification to present the Journey Through Scripture Bible study in parishes.“More than ever, Catholics want to be armed with the truths to defend their faith,” says Andrea Thomas, interim director of conferences. “For those considering making Franciscan University Conferences part of their summer plans, this is a year they won’t want to miss.”For more information about both conferences, go to www.franciscanconferences.com or call 800-437-8368. There is a special registration rate for religious sisters, brothers, seminarians, and anyone under the age of 30.