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 “The focus of the day is on family and the importance of family in the life of the youth and in the life of the children,” said Bishop Barnes before going on to explain the different realities of family in the Diocese, from traditional family to blended family to single-parent family to extended family.

 “The family is the backbone of society,” he said. “The family teaches about mutual, respectful relationships. It’s in the family that you learn how to negotiate and you learn what sacrifice is.”

 Bishop Barnes encouraged parents in attendance to keep the lines of communication open with their children.

 “Now is a time when young people are going to be looking for answers in all sorts of places when they should be asking at home,” he said.

 The Parent Summit, presented by the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools, offered more than 25 workshops for parents in both English and Spanish. Topics ran the gamut from the “Road to College” to “Does My Marriage Affect my Child’s Education” to social media to gang awareness. Former NFL player Shawn Harper offered a powerful testimony of his faith conversion while he was in the high profile world of professional sports.

 Catholic schools and other vendors set up shop at the Summit to share information.

 Rosa Ramirez, whose son is in seventh grade, is thinking about his immediate future and said she liked the workshops that focused on that time period.

 “I like the information about high school,” she said. “It was fantastic.”

 Additional perks that came with the free event were lunch and a supervised Kid Zone that allowed parents to bring their children with them.

 “It was a blessing to parents,” said Austin Conley, Director of Advancement for the Office of Catholic Schools, of the Kid Zone, “because it allowed them to focus on the workshops.”