Invitation to attend fifth annual Catholic Women’s Conference

On St. Valentine’s Day in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI, reflecting on the women called to play an “active role in the context of Jesus’ ministry,” reminded the Church that the “without the generous contributions of many women, the history of Christianity would have developed very differently.”

   Pope Benedict’s joy-filled words on women’s “effective and precious role in spreading the Gospel” encourage and uplift us all, especially on the eve of the upcoming Catholic Women’s Conference, which brings together hundreds of diocesan women. His words call us to reflect in prayer, thought and thanksgiving on who we are as women in Christ — and how Christ Jesus calls us to serve each other in love.

   The fifth annual Catholic Women’s Conferece will be held Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at the Oncenter in Syracuse. This daylong event is a perfect opportunity to respond in spirit and mind to Pope Benedict’s beautiful reflection on women as a gift to the Church and to discern more deeply one’s own “precious role” in spreading the Good News.

   The day will begin with three accomplished speakers, a delicious seated lunch, wonderful area vendors, opportunities for confession and eucharistic adoration, and a closing Vigil Mass with Bishop Robert J. Cunningham. Speakers will include the following:

   Kim Daniels, a lawyer who served as the spokesperson for the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. A co-founder of Catholic Voices USA, Daniels specializes in religious liberty and pro-life matters. Daniels has appeared on CNN, Fox, PBS, and in other media outlets, and her work has appeared in numerous national publications. She was also a contributor to Breaking Through: Catholic Women Speak For Themselves. Daniels and her husband have six children.

   Father Joe O’Connor, a priest of the Diocese of Syracuse and the Director of Vocation Promotion, works with young people to cultivate a life of intimacy with the Lord. An adjunct faculty member of the IPF Spiritual Direction Training Program, Father O’Connor is a graduate of Franciscan University and earned advanced degrees in Divinity and Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore.

   Kimberly Hahn is a convert and popular Catholic speaker and the mother of six children. She is married to Dr. Scott Hahn, with whom she wrote the popular Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism. Hahn will speak on “Cherished and Chosen: Biblical Wisdom for your Marriage,” a reflection on Proverbs 31, which encourages women to deepen their generosity within marriage.

   The Oncenter doors will open for this full-hearted day of prayer and reflection at 8 a.m. with registration. Opening prayer occurs at 9 a.m. There will be two morning speakers. Lunch begins at 11:45 a.m., followed by the third speaker, and then a Q&A panel with all the speakers. We will close the day with a Vigil Mass at 3:45 p.m. with Bishop Cunningham, followed by Adoration and Benediction. Confessions will be available from
10:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vendors will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Coffee and refreshments will be available throughout the day. This event is open to all women over 18 (and minors accompanied by a parent). Nursing infants are welcome.

   The cost for this conference, including lunch, is $50 for registrations made before October 15. The cost after October 15 is $55; $65 at the door. To register online, to download registration forms or to find more details, visit www.syracusecwc.com.

   Sheila O’Connor-Ambrose, Ph.D., a past member of the Diocesan Women’s Commission, is a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes in Utica.

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