February 17, 2017

Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference set for March 25

By Natalie Hoefer

The Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference, organized by the Marian Center of Indianapolis and sponsored by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, will take place at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown hotel from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on March 25. The theme of this year’s conference is “A Cloud of Witnesses.”

This year’s speakers include:

  • Back by popular demand, Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Father James Blount. A national speaker, retreat leader and exorcist, he returns to share the message of his healing ministry that “through the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s Church can make a difference in the world today.”
  • Father Ronan Murphy, a diocesan priest of the Diocese of Camden, N.J. Father Murphy has given missions and conferences in many countries. He is currently chaplain to a Carmelite monastery in New York and gives retreats for the Marian Movement of Priests.
  • Carrie Gress, a professor, author and blogger. A mother of four, Gress has a doctorate in philosophy from The Catholic University of America and is a faculty member of the online Pontifex University. Her third book, Marian Option, will be published in May, exploring the role of Mary over the centuries, blending approved apparitions as well as world events that point back to her.
  • Kathy Denney, conference coordinator, says the theme was chosen as “a way to remember we have those heroes, those martyrs who went before us, to pray to ask for courage. It’s being aware that we do have this great cloud of witnesses that went before from early Christianity, and it continues today.”

Denney heard Father Murphy, a native of Ireland, speak while accompanying a young adult group overseas.

“They were so impressed with him,” she says. “He has a great love for the Church and for Our Lady and the rosary. He was explaining that love, and it really touched those young people’s hearts. I thought, ‘He can touch all of us.’ ”

In discussing Mary, Father Murphy will also address the upcoming 100th anniversary of the miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.

Gress will also discuss Mary, exploring the idea that “if there is an anti-Christ, perhaps there is also an anti-Mary,” Denny says. “If so, who is she and where is she?

“[Gress is] a mother of four little ones, and she’s got an amazing message. After the Women’s March [in Washington on Jan. 21], I thought to myself, ‘This woman needs to speak on [the concept of an anti-Mary].’ It’s just knowing how women have kind of squandered the glory that is womanhood.”

Father Michael Keucher, associate pastor of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, will serve as the master of ceremonies. He will concelebrate Mass with Fathers Blount and Murphy during the event.

Adoration and the sacrament of reconciliation will also be available, as well as vendors.

Denney notes that the event will again be at the Downtown Marriot due to its central locality.

“With the buffet at $25 a person that we’re required to have, coffee at $80 a gallon and covering the speakers’ fees and travel, we barely break even,” she admits. “We’ve tried holding the conference at a high school to lower the cost, but participation greatly dropped. We really try to make the cost and location as reasonable as possible.”

Denney expects this year’s conference to be “another wonderful experience.

“We all need spiritual renewal just like our bodies need food,” she says. “This is a day, not a weekend, and yet [the participants] will leave being better informed and enlightened by these exceptional international speakers.

“It’s also a chance to be with other Catholic women in a setting that is both exciting and spiritually enriching. The question is, ‘Why wouldn’t you go?’ ”

(Tickets for the Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference—from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on March 25, with registration at 8 a.m.—are $50, or $25 for students and religious. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $45. Members of the largest group will receive a prize and VIP seating in the front row. The conference will be held at the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott, 305 W. Maryland St. Parking is available across the street in the Government Center Parking Garage, 401 W. Washington St. To register for the conference, log onto www.indianacatholicwomen.com, or mail a check and number of attendees to: Marian Center of Indianapolis, P.O. Box 47362, Indianapolis, IN 46247 [checks made out to St. Michael Foundation]. For questions, call 317-888-0873 or e-mail mariancntr@aol.com.)

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