Enjoy this blog about the Catholic Women’s Conference and then scroll down to read about the Brunch in the Berkshires!

A special thanks to Jessica Hill’s sister, Angela Hill,  who took all of these beautiful photos.

The Cathedral High School auditorium  in Springfield was a joyful place as more than 700 women gathered for the 3rd annual Catholic Women’s Conference.

A gathering of women

Musician Sarah Hart, who flew in from Nashville, Tennessee got the day going with great music.

Sarah Hart

She even got some of the women in the crowd into the spirit and brought them on stage for a song.

"Make joyful music unto the Lord"

The Catholic Women’s Conference Committe created a prayer space for the day as part of a lovely opening ceremony.

Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell welcomed the women to the conference and was the host for the special day.

Bishop McDonnell, Yankee fan

 Marion Johnson of St. Michael’s Cathedral Parish and the Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver and Peggy Weber of Catholic Communications were the co-mistresses of ceremonies.

Marion and Peggy

 Mary Blais and Suzanne Frennier coordinated all the vendors for the day. A record 47 groups were represented in the hallways.

Shop till you drop

Helping Bethlehem House

Fostering Vocations

San Damiano Youth Group

EWTN’s Johnnette Benkovic gave an energetic talk on forgiveness and the love of God.

Johnnette Benkovic

There also was time for quiet prayer in the Cathedral High School chapel.

Eucharistic Adoration

And of course there was time for a delicious box lunch from Hamel Caterers.

Yum!

There was time for coffee and danish at the start of the day, too.

Truly, one of the highlights of the day was the beautiful talk given by Sister Olga of the Eucharist. This petite nun, who is originally from Iraq, gave a message of peace and love that had a powerful impact.

Sister Olga

Another moving event was the “Hem of the Garment” ceremony led by Monsignor Christopher D. Connelly, vicar general of the Diocese of Springfield and rector of St. Michael’s Cathedral. He reflected on the power of the Eucharist to the women and then led a procession up and down the aisles of the auditorium. He was assisted by altar servers Elizabeth Weber and Jessica Nieves.

Msgr. Connelly

It was a beautiful procession.

Elizabeth and Jessica

Johnnette gave another talk and there was still another chance to check out the tables.

The day concluded with a beautiful Mass and more music by Sarah Hart.

The Knights of Columbus and Deacon Leo Coughlin assisted at the Mass with Bishop McDonnell. Deacon Jim Conroy of St. Thomas Parish in West Springfield proclaimed the gospel.

 

Those who attended said it was a grace-filled day and they look forward to next year. Jean praised the work of the 22 women on the Catholic Women’s Conference committee who helped make the day a success.  The conference is featured in the April 23rd issue of  The Catholic Observer.  And it there will be a segment about it on “Real to Reel” on April 24 on WWLP-TV22 at 7 p.m.

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