Men’s and Women’s conferences to highlight ‘Into the Breach,’ Year of Mercy

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Participants at last year’s men’s conference enjoyed a day of fellowship. (CATHOLIC SUN File photo)
Participants at last year’s men’s conference enjoyed a day of fellowship. (CATHOLIC SUN File photo)

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Catholic Men’s Conference

When: Feb. 6
8 a.m. Conference
3:30 p.m. Mass

Where: Xavier College Preparatory Performing Arts Center, 4710 N. Fifth St.

Info: cmfp.org

Catholic Women’s Conference

When: Feb. 20
9 a.m. Conference
4:30 p.m. Mass

Where: Xavier College Preparatory Founders Hall

Info: pdccw.org

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While both men and women are created in God’s image as children of God, they are uniquely different and complement each other.

“The complementarity of masculinity and femininity is key to understanding how human persons image God. Without knowing and appreciating this, we cannot know ourselves or our mission as men, nor can women embrace their own vocations, confident in the Father’s love,” wrote Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted in his apostolic exhortation to Catholic men, “Into the Breach.”

These complementary differences are a gift. But because of this, it’s also important that men and women take advantage of opportunities to seek spiritual fellowship within their genders.

In the Diocese of Phoenix, there are two opportunities in February: the Catholic Men’s Conference Feb. 6 and the Catholic Women’s Conference Feb. 20. Both will be held at Xavier College Preparatory.

“The masculine and feminine difference is soul-deep so it makes complete sense that we have different spiritual languages in a way,” said Mike Phelan, director of the diocesan Office of Marriage and Respect Life.

The men’s conference, is using “Into the Breach,” Bishop Olmsted’s document as its theme.

“We hope to bring fuller clarification for the men as to actual steps and things they can directly do as a result of bishop’s call,” said Steve Pettit, co-director of the Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Phoenix, which organizes the conference.

More than 1,300 men are expected to attend the conference, and at press time, there were less than 300 seats available, said Pettit,

In addition to Bishop Olmsted, Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares and Fr. Paul Sullivan, whom Bishop Olmsted has designated as the chaplain to men of the diocese, speakers for the conference include renown evangelist Dcn. Harold Burke-Sivers, critically-acclaimed author Chris Stefanick and local Catholic musician Chris Muglia. Confession will be available and the conference will end with a closing Mass celebrated by Bishops Olmsted and Nevares.

Costs to attend the conference are $56 for individuals, $46 for each member of a group of 10 or more and $33 for students. For those unable to attend the conference, the talks will be available for download for $20.

Participants at the 2010 women’s conference enjoyed a day of motivational talks that fortified their faith. (CATHOLIC SUN File Photo)
Participants at the 2010 women’s conference enjoyed a day of motivational talks that fortified their faith. (CATHOLIC SUN File Photo)

The women’s conference will have as its theme, “The Lord has crowned you with steadfast love and mercy,” inspired by the Year of Mercy.

“We don’t offer mercy enough to the greater community, and our families and ourselves,” said Roberta Bazaldua, second vice president for the Phoenix Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, which is organizing the conference. “Because women tend to internalize a great deal and maybe not seek healing immediately when they need it, this is one of the reasons mercy isn’t explored in depth.”

Speakers include EWTN anchor Colleeen Carroll Campbell, Catholic blogger Cari Donaldson and Sr. Anthony Mary Diago, RSM, director of the diocese’s Office of Consecrated Life, among others. There will also be an opportunity for confession during the lunch hour, and the day will end with a Vigil Mass celebrated by Bishop Olmsted. Cost to attend the conference is $60.

There is also a youth and young adult track for women between the ages of 16 and 22, “to give our young sisters an opportunity to learn at a level that’s appropriate to them,” Bazaladua said. Cost for those attending this track is $25.

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