August 25, 2010 // Local

Women of the diocese arise to a day of reflection with Teresa Tomeo

Teresa Tomeo

By Kay Cozad

FORT WAYNE — Women of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend are invited to attend the third annual day of reflection, titled “Celebrating the Strength, Dignity, and Hope of Women,” sponsored by the Office of Spiritual Development and Evangelization in partnership with Redeemer Radio — Catholic Radio 1450 AM. The all-day conference will be held on Oct. 2 at the University of Saint Francis-North Campus in Fort Wayne, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This year’s keynote is veteran broadcast journalist Teresa Tomeo, who will present a morning and afternoon session to inspire the hearts of the women who will gather. Tomeo is a popular syndicated talk show host, motivational speaker, the founder of TT Communications and Company and has authored several books including, “Noise: How Our Media-Saturated Culture Dominates Lives and Dismantles Families.”

Natalie Kohrman, director of the Office of Spiritual Development says Tomeo is a highly sought after speaker. “When speaking with women in the diocese about who they would like to hear speak at a conference, Teresa was at the top of the list. People in this area tune in to ‘Catholic Connection’ on Redeemer Radio because they know that Teresa will tackle the important issues of the day in a way that is consistent with Church teaching,” she says.

The day of reflection, which begins at 9 a.m. with registration, will call the women to a special Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at 9:30 a.m. Following a welcome session with morning snack, Tomeo’s first session, “From Secular Anchor to Media Evangelist” will begin at 11:15 a.m.

A cradle Catholic with a deep love for the Eucharist, Tomeo will share her testimony of how she found herself drawn into the world of secular media. Falling away from the Church after achieving immediate success and recognition in the communication field left her with a sense that something was missing in her life.

A troubling series of events eventually brought her back to her faith and the Church of her youth. “I started by hitting rock bottom to get my life back on track,” she admits. As she began to see how materialism had pervaded her life, she also became increasingly disturbed by media bias and programming content.

Tomeo will share Scripture verses to ponder that correlate, she says, with each period of her journey back to Christ. “I want women to reclaim that … sitting at the feet of Jesus on the cross,” she says.

As Tomeo worked to follow God’s will for her life, she left her accomplished career in the secular media in 2000 to establish TT Communications and Company. She now embraces Catholic media where she has the opportunity to evangelize on Ave Maria Radio and EWTN.

Session II, “Extreme Makeover: Seeing Yourself through the Eyes of Christ,” will begin at 1:30 p.m. when Tomeo will again address the faithful women of the diocese to share how Jesus performed an extreme makeover in her life. Tomeo will offer her witness of how the media influenced her life and provide those in attendance with ways to makeover their “media habits” to change the face of American culture. “I want to help women break out of the image we have been given by the media and culturally,” says Tomeo, adding, “I hope at least one woman will give herself over fully to the Church.”

Her message to the women of the diocese: “Take it upon yourself to learn to embrace your faith. It’s so freeing, so incredible. The Church’s teachings have been proven right over and over.”

The day of reflection will offer lunch and an opportunity to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation between sessions, as well as Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction with homily by Msgr. Robert Schulte, vicar general of the diocese.

Kohrman hopes that the women who attend the day of reflection will be empowered by Tomeo’s presentations as well as the sacraments offered.

She says, “I hope that those who attend this year’s ARISE Women’s Conference come away from it with an understanding of how they are uniquely suited to face the challenges that are mounting in our culture. Teresa Tomeo’s message focuses on the crucial role that women play in society and the Church, and the importance of a nurturing a strong, sacramental faith life in order to meet these challenges.”

Tomeo offers passionately, “Tell the women, ‘you need to be there and bring a friend!’ It will be uplifting, encouraging and we’ll laugh a lot.”

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