By Dc. Tom Cuskey

A trio of powerful speakers highlights the program for the        

Syracuse Catholic Women’s Commission annual conference to be held on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Syracuse’s Oncenter. This year marks the gathering’s return to the main floor of the conference center to give plenty of space for what organizers believe will be a great turnout.

Commission members Dawn Dimock and Jill Smith are part of the conference team. They shared that, like many events, the coronavirus pandemic had an impact on conference attendance, but they are very optimistic that trends point to greater turnout this year, especially with the presenters they have scheduled to appear.

Immaculée Ilibagiza, a noted Rwandan-American author, “is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide in 1985 and has an unbelievable story to tell,” Dimock tells us. She adds that “our theme is ‘Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done,’ and preparing for the Eucharistic reign.” Ilibagiza’s story of survival in the face of extreme persecution through reliance on her faith mirrors much of what has been foretold. “The idea is to look at a lot of what Our Lady has said in various apparitions, that her Immaculate Heart would triumph, but there would be a period of persecution.”

Smith added that presenter Daniel O’Connor, an author and professor of philosophy, “is someone who speaks about living in the divine will, and that ties directly into our theme. He’s going to be talking about how we can actually live in the divine will, as a way of practice, a way of living.”

Dimock said that “so much of everything that Our Lady has asked is for the faithful to cooperate and be making acts of reparation, praying.” She said educating women on ways to do that ties into what Father Joseph Esper teaches about spiritual preparation. Smith added that Fr. Esper, of the Archdiocese of Detroit, is an author and media veteran who will help attendees “understand the signs of the times and understand how we can spiritually prepare for them.”

The day will begin with Mass with Bishop Douglas J. Lucia and, in addition to the three speakers’ presentations and the many vendors, there will be opportunities for confession and  Eucharistic adoration. The conference admission includes lunch and is open to women ages 16 and older. Nursing moms and their infants are welcome as well.

Mail-in registrations are due by Oct. 1; online registration is also available. Visit for registration and to view the conference schedule, as well as information on vendor opportunities.

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