October 6, 2010 // Uncategorized
Arise women’s conference awakens women to media makeover
By Kay Cozad
FORT WAYNE — Over 500 women from across the diocese gathered for the third annual women’s day of reflection sponsored by the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Office of Spiritual Development and Evangelization in partnership with Redeemer Radio AM 1450. The day-long conference, “Arise: Celebrating the Strength, Dignity and Hope of Women,” was held at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne.
The day began promptly at 9 a.m. with registration and recitation of the rosary in the auditorium of the North Campus building, followed by a special Mass, which included the Bishop Dwenger Choir, celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, who spoke to the women of the feast of the Guardian Angels.
“Today, Oct. 2, is the feast of the Guardian Angels. This feast invites us to think about these heavenly protectors whom God, in his loving providence, has set beside each of us,” said Bishop Rhoades.
After describing their spiritual nature and their role in the history of human salvation, Bishop Rhoades said, “As I was thinking about this Women’s Conference, I recalled the teaching of Pope John Paul II … on the dignity and vocation of women. Pope John Paul wrote that ‘the moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way.’”
He continued, “I was thinking about the similarity of this mission to that of the guardian angels. God entrusts us to our guardian angels. And God entrusts human beings in a particular way to women. Women are called in a special way to be guardians of life and guardians of love.”
In conclusion Bishop Rhoades said, “In the dramatic struggle for every human being and his or her salvation, we need holy women, women of deep faith, hope and charity, women imbued with the spirit of the Gospel. … May the Blessed Virgin Mary and the guardian angels watch over you and guide you in this conference, and help you to grow in holiness.”
Keynote speaker, Teresa Tomeo, veteran broadcast journalist, took the stage to offer her testimony titled, “From Secular Achor to Media Evangelist.” Tomeo is a popular syndicated talk show host, author, motivational speaker and the founder of TT Communications and Company. During her testimony, which included Scripture verses highlighting each point of her journey, Tomeo spoke of being raised in a strong Catholic Italian family, and how she lost her way after high school as she attended college and subsequently found her way to immediate success in the broadcasting field.
“I was pulled into the secular culture,” she said, adding, “I had everything … but didn’t have God.” A series of troubling events, including the near break up of her marriage and a surprising turn in her career, brought Tomeo back to the faith of her youth.
As Tomeo recognized the bias of media and its disturbing content, she began to study the faith more deeply and became convinced that “objective Truth doesn’t change.”
“The Catholic Church is the last bastion standing in our culture against evil,” she told the rapt audience.
Tomeo now embraces Catholic media and said, “I’m still doing news. But God is my news director now. And He’s a much better boss. Who knew?”
The opportunity for Reconciliation with priests from several parishes was offered during the lunch break, followed by a special song written and performed by artist Angelynne Paris, and a video titled, “Cover Girl Culture: Awakening the Media Generation.”
The afternoon session with Tomeo, titled “Extreme Makeover: Seeing Yourself Through the Eyes of Christ,” focused on the oversexualization and objectifying of women in the media. “We don’t get our identification from what we wear … We get it from Christ and the Church,” offered Tomeo.
Tomeo cited eye-opening research that confirmed the bias of media and the influence it has on the public, particularly the young. “The media says the Church is outdated and represses women. But Jesus broke the norms with women,” said Tomeo, who challenged the women to ask themselves how the media is affecting their own families and lives. “Are you willing to help change the culture?” she asked.
In her quippy style, Tomeo offered some “beauty tips,” including cutting back on media use, reading the Bible more and taking advantage of the sacraments. Tomeo also encouraged the audience to pray for the media and support positive media outlets like Catholic radio.
“Be willing to speak up about what you like and don’t like,” she advised. “And don’t ever walk away from what we have in the holy catholic apostolic Church.”
Following a standing ovation, Tomeo offered a book signing in the lobby where she met with the faithful women of the diocese.
Pat Augustyn, parishioner of St. Charles Borromeo in Fort Wayne said, “She gave a lot of good ideas on Christ’s mercy.”
Louise Eykholt from St. Henry, Fort Wayne, agreed and added, “I like that she’s Christ-centered. And it’s marvelous to see that so many women showed up!”
A second rosary was recited before Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction with Msgr. Robert Schulte, vicar general of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, closed the inspiring day.
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