Once again the Fall River Diocese is blessed to offer a wonderful opportunity for spiritual renewal during Lent. This year’s Women and Men’s Conference will be held on Saturday, March 7, from 10 a.m. concluding with a 4 p.m. Closing Mass, of which I am honored to celebrate. The event returns to the beautiful Ames Sports Complex on the Stonehill College campus in Easton. This is a perfect time my dear friends to take a day to rekindle your faith, enrich your spiritual life, and prepare for the celebration of the Lord’s Paschal Mystery.
This year’s conference theme is taken from the Gospel of John while Jesus washes the feet of his Apostles, “As I Have Done You Must Also Do” (Jn 13:15). This command of Jesus is given not only to his Apostles but to all of us.
Once again, this year’s conference will include inspiring presentations from three local and national speakers, who will also participate in an interactive panel discussion. The organizers of the special event also make sure participants have opportunities for prayer, Reconciliation and Eucharistic Adoration; along with time to meet others from our diocese.
Engaging Conference Speakers
Joining us this year are two follow Bishops—Bishop Robert Evans of Providence and Bishop John Flesey of the Archdiocese of Newark. Conference attendees will not be disappointed by the wealth of experience and faith, each has to offer as presenters.
Bishop Robert C. Evans is the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Providence, appointed in 2009 after years of ministry in service to that diocese and the wider Church. In the Providence Diocese, he has served in parishes, in hospital and campus ministry, and in administration including as Chancellor. In 2001, he became director of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education and a faculty member of the North American College, both in Rome, and later served as Secretary at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C.
Bishop John W. Flesey, S.T.D., is Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Newark Archdiocese. He holds a doctoral degree in Sacred Theology. In 1985, he began years of service at the Immaculate Conception Seminary of Seton Hall University, New Jersey, first as a faculty member, then as Spiritual Director and, from 1995 to 2000, as Rector/Dean. He then resumed teaching and his previous post as Spiritual Director there and also became director of the Newark Archdiocesan Office of Continuing Formation of Priests. Returning to parish ministry in 2004, he was later that year appointed auxiliary bishop.
In addition, this year’s Women’s and Men’s Conference welcomes Kendra Von Esh.
Kendra Von Esh is a speaker, author and retreat leader who is passionate about helping others to deepen their relationship with God and to discern His will in their lives. Sensing a growing emptiness in her life, this one-time corporate executive decided to go back to the Catholic Church where, as she explains, “God found her.” In short time, she left a successful career to focus on sharing her journey of faith. With humor and genuineness, she recounts her journey from lukewarm belief to a state of grace, peace and joy arising from her personal relationship with God.
Living our Catholic faith should include a lifelong desire and effort to also continue to learn about the faith. Catechesis is not only for our youth but for all people wishing to grow spiritually and in their practice of faith. Lent provides a beautiful, yearly check of our spiritual temperature. In the busyness of life, many can become lukewarm, as St. John’s warning in Revelation, this is not how Christians should live. There are many ways we can continue to educate ourselves and renew our faith, the annual Women and Men’s Conference is a convenient, well-prepared, and inspiring way offered right in the heart of Lent. I hope to see you there.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha