February 27, 2015

Women’s conference offers attendees chance to ‘hear many strong speakers’

By Natalie Hoefer

The Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference, sponsored by the Marian Center of Indianapolis with assistance from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, will take place at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown hotel, 350 W. Maryland St., from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on March 21. The theme of this year’s conference is “The New Evangelization—Bringing Jesus to the World.”

This year’s speakers include:

  • Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Father James Blount, a national speaker and retreat leader who preaches that “through the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s Church can make a difference in the world today.”
  • Danielle Bean, a mother of eight children who publishes Catholic Digest, hosts a women’s talk show, and developed Momnipotent, a book and study to help women reclaim their vocation.
  • Catholic singer and songwriter Annie Karto, who uses her gift for music to share the message of God’s healing mercy, the beauty of the sacraments, and the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
  • Yvonne O’Brien, a Catholic lay missionary who, inspired by the message of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta to minister to the poor and lonely, co-founded Christ in the City, an organization forming young Catholic adults to serve those most in need.
  • Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, who will celebrate Mass and deliver a homily during the event.

Kathy Denney, director of the volunteer-run Marian Center of Indianapolis, is “excited” about each of the speakers.

“I heard of this group, Christ in the City,” she said. “These young people go out, find the homeless, lonely, suffering, and befriend them. It’s so much like Pope Francis.

“I think [Yvonne O’Brien] is such an inspiration. I hope a lot of young adults come. I think everyone needs to hear her, but like [St.] John Paul II used to say, the young are wanting something to believe in and to do, and Yvonne provides that.”

Denny invited Father James to speak because she herself is “anxious to hear him.

“He was here in the city about a year ago making an appeal at a Mass for the Society of Our Lady of the [Most Holy] Trinity,” she explained. “People wouldn’t let him leave. He ended up staying a week for people all over the city to hear him. I missed him and am anxious to hear why people wouldn’t let this poor priest go home. He must be extremely dynamic!”

Denney is also pleased that Bean was available. “She’s very sought after. She does a lot for having eight kids!” she said.

Denney is looking forward to Karto’s message on Divine Mercy, and is also grateful to have Archbishop Tobin celebrate the Mass, to have many priests available for confession throughout the day, and to have the Blessed Sacrament be present for adoration during the event.

Lunch is included, and attendees will have two opportunities to browse through booths offering books and other items for sale, and information on various organizations.

Denney is also excited about an unusual component of the conference—the parking.

“We get to park in the government building parking garage this year, and it’s only $5 for the day,” she said. “You can either just cross a small street or use the enclosed walkway. It’s the best parking ever!”

She sees this event as an opportunity for women to “take time for themselves.”

“I know it’s difficult for women to find the time,” she said. “We’re so busy.

“But I think everyone deserves this. This is Lent. I know for some people it’s even the start of spring break. Take this time for yourself.

“We live in a crazy world right now. We all need to know that there’s more than just us out there, and it so helps when women get together. We don’t often get these kinds of chances to hear this many strong speakers and to know we’re all in this together, and that there’s hope.”

Before March 9, the cost for an individual ticket is $45, and $50 after March 9. For groups of 10 or more, the cost is $40 per person regardless of the date of registration—and the largest group will receive VIP seating and a gift for each woman in the group.

Student tickets are $25, and priests and seminarians may attend for free. Denney said provisions will also be found to help cover the cost of any women religious who wish to attend.

“We’re a volunteer organization,” she said. “We don’t make any money off of this—we offer it simply because we believe it is needed. The cost is to just try to make our bills” of covering guest speaker travel, room and board, conference space rental and food.

“The comments women write on their surveys after attending are always positive,” Denney said. “They always say they are so glad they gave up their day to come to the conference.

“I encourage all women to come—you’ll be happy you did.”

(Registration is available online at www.indianacatholicwomen.com, or checks and number of attendees can be mailed to the Marian Center of Indianapolis at 3356 W. 30th St., Indianapolis, IN 46222. For more information, call Kathy Denney at 317-888-0873 or e-mail her at mariancntr@aol.com.)

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