“The Spirit of the Lord is Here” – these words were repeated numerous times by Catholic Bishop Terry Steib as he addressed a capacity crowd at Our Lady of Perpetual Catholic Church in Germantown, on March 5. It was the debut of the Diocese of Memphis annual Women’s Morning of Spirituality.
It all started when Kathy O’Connell answered the call of Christ to bring others to Him through this ministry. With support from Rev. Ben Bradshaw, the blessing of Bishop Steib, and the prayers, wisdom, time and talents of a planning committee, this day had become a reality.
This was a day the Lord had wanted and this was a day many of us had yearned for. Despite flash flood and severe thunderstorm warnings, more than 850 women showed up for a “Faith-Lift,” and we were not disappointed. Satan tried his best to hinder this day, but as the rains continued to pour outside, women continued to pour inside, overflowing the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in order to participate.
The face of God was seen in each individual as programs and rosaries were handed out. The tangible presence of the Holy Spirit was apparent in those who waited patiently, in those who made room for just one more, in those who had planned for 500 and welcomed more than 850. Some came for friendship. Others came with a longing and still others came broken and wounded with burdens too heavy to carry alone, but all came to uplift their faith and praise God. As Bethany and Kevin Paige led the gathering song, “How Great is Our God,” women were already looking for Kleenex packages.
Jane Kevern served as program host. Brenda Kindelan was the local speaker. Her presentation, “The Little Flower, Two Hearts, and Me: A Present Day Conversion of a Prodigal Child,” was a powerful witness as to how prayer can change our life, and her message taken from Matthew 7:7, “ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” was again a reminder that prayer is the means to obtain what we need.
The keynote speaker was Christina King of Wisconsin, a wife and mother of eight. Christina’s passion for her faith was not only inspiring but contagious as she spoke of a woman’s dignity, value and worth in her presentation: “The Captivating Beauty of Women.” She not only engaged the minds and hearts of all as she spoke of the beauty and uniqueness of the woman’s body being curved to be able to hold closely, but also the emotional aspect of a woman’s ability to love powerfully and completely, and even our sense of humor when she spoke of the difference in the human anatomy of the male vs. the female. She reminded us of God’s complete and powerful love for us as she asked us to reflect on the lyrics of “You Are Mine” and “Oh How He Loves Me.” All could relate as Christina urged each of us to allow Christ to shine through whatever wounds our life had brought to us.
At the end of Christina’s presentation, Jane Kevern challenged each of us as to where our “faith lift” would take us. She provided insight as to the ways we can get involved in either ministries that are already present in our parishes or establishing ministries needed in our parishes. Most, if not all of the ministries provided at each parish can be found on the diocesan Web site: www.cdom.org. Following a 15-20 minute break, an examination of conscience was led by Rev. Bruce Cinquegrani and the sacrament of reconciliation was celebrated with the availability of 26.
If there was any doubt in your mind as to the success of the morning, it was quickly erased as you saw the number of women standing in line for the grace of God to be poured over them. As the planning committee started showing signs of concern that women would not be able to receive the sacrament with the minutes ticking closer and closer to the scheduled time for the beginning of Mass, Bishop Steib, with a smile on his face, calmly reassured everyone that we were on God’s time. He said: “something beautiful is happening here and we will not interrupt it. It will happen on God’s time.”
Bishop Steib, along with 2 deacons and 14 priests ended the morning with the celebration of the Eucharist. Bishop Steib began and ended his homily with: “The Spirit of the Lord is Here. The Power of the Lord is Here. The _______ of the Lord is Here”. You could feel the power of the Holy Spirit. You didn’t have to sense God’s presence. All you had to do was look around you and you could see God’s presence. Bishop Steib spoke of a world filled with worry and fear, pain and heartache, a world where we just do not have enough time in our day to accomplish what needs to be done and he asked that we just “live today and see the face of God in each aspect of that day and each interruption of that day”.
The 2011 Women’s Morning of Spirituality is history on paper but very alive in those who chose to take the message of the day and “bloom where we are planted.” We have had our faith lift and we can change the world, one person at a time. March 5, 2011, a day filled with rains and floods was truly proof of that. For more information of the Women’s Morning of Spirituality please visit the WMOS site: www.WomensMorningofSpirituality.com.
I could not write this article without thanking all of those men and women who made this day possible: the planning committee, the monetary sponsors, the speakers, the Bishop,the priests, especially Msgr. Creary for welcoming us to OLPH, the Fishers of Men/MMOS who helped with food, setting up and cleaning up, parking control and those men in Eucharistic Adoration praying in the OLPH Chapel during the morning, Holy Spirit for their shuttle bus & driver, the Rosary makers from St. Louis Church, the ministers of music, those who prayed with us and for us, but most of all the women who, despite bad weather, heard God knocking on the door of their heart and opened it to let Him in. Once again from Bishop Steib: “God is good … all of the time. All of the time … God is good!”
Karen Bobbitt is a member of Queen of Peace Catholic church in Olive Branch, Mississippi.