FALL RIVER ̶̶ The annual Fall River Diocesan Women and Men’s Conference, sponsored each March as an opportunity for Lenten renewal, will be offered this year in a virtual format. Using Zoom video teleconferencing technology, parishioners from across the Diocese will be able to take part in a program of engaging presentations, prayer, music, and Mass as a way to help prepare themselves spiritually for Easter.
The 2021 Women and Men’s Conference program is set for Saturday, March 20, from 1 to 5 p.m. A Mass at 7 p.m. on the preceding evening, Friday, March 19, will formally open the conference. Persons may register to take part via this link. There is no cost to participate.
“Even amidst this pandemic, we are called to take action in Lent to strengthen our faith, to seek out ways to grow in our relationship with Christ,” said Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V.
“Our Women and Men’s Conference usually draws hundreds from all over the Diocese. Just foregoing the conference this year seemed a wasted opportunity when technology provides another way to offer it. To be sure, I will miss our being together for the experience as a diocesan family. Yet, I encourage our faithful to still take part this year albeit in a different way to take advantage of the program and liturgies it offers as sustenance on our journey toward Easter.”
Bishop Cunha will celebrate the conference opening Mass on the March 19th Feast of St. Joseph. As the universal church observes this special Year of St. Joseph, the theme selected for the Women and Men’s Conference, “A Father’s Healing Touch,” draws from Pope Francis’ apostolic letter that proclaimed the observance.
Christian music singer/composer and inspirational speaker ValLimar Jansen (in photo at left) will be the featured presenter during the Saturday conference program. A speaker at past conferences, Jansen’s lively storytelling, one-woman skits and musical performances have been enthusiastically received with attendees asking for her to return.
“Focusing on this year’s conference theme, ValLimar Jansen plans to engage us in a dynamic experience that will raise our awareness of the presence of St. Joseph,” said Beth Mahoney, who is leading the event’s planning committee.
“It is a unique format this year, one that calls us to be united in prayer through the means of technology. We look forward to this creative way to bring the diocese together in prayer during Lent.”
The conference schedule will also include a question-and-answer session with Bishop da Cunha, an opportunity for interaction/conversation in a breakout session, time for group prayer and personal reflection, and 4 p.m. closing Mass celebrated by Bishop da Cunha.
Both the Friday evening and Saturday afternoon Masses will take place in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River. Conference participants may choose to take part in these Masses virtually or by attending one or both in-person. Those who wish to attend in-person must register for either or both -separate from the Conference registration- through these links: Opening Mass (Friday night): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/140854253865;
Closing Mass (Saturday afternoon): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/142913380769. Masks will be required at the Masses and social distancing protocols will be followed.
In addition to its being hosted on the Zoom platform, the Women and Men’s Conference including the two Masses will also be livestreamed on the Fall River Diocesan Facebook page.