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  • Lindsay Adornetto

You don’t have to be perfect to be Catholic. I used to compare myself to other Catholics and feel I wasn’t good enough to be a practicing Catholic and I shied away from the faith for many years.

That is until I learned that God is calling me to have a relationship with Him. Not to be the smartest Catholic in the room or perfect all the time. Each of us is at a different place in our faith journey and it’s our responsibility to grow and develop to be more like Jesus and the most loving version of ourselves. How can we do this?

Here are the top 5 reasons to attend this years Catholic Women’s Conference:

1. Inspiration! Listening to this years speakers will set your heart on fire for your faith. You’ll hear stories of their challenges and gain wisdom from their experiences to help on your faith journey. 🗣

2. The Sacraments: Participation in reconciliation and Holy Communion brings us closer to God.🕊

3. Making new friendships in Faith: Iron sharpens Iron. God wants us to learn from each other and strengthen each other. ⚔️

4. Try something new! Stepping outside of your comfort zone is an awesome way to GROW in faith. 🌱 🌸

5. God loves you as you are! Attending the Catholic Women’s conferences is a way to deepen your relationship with God because you're showing up to simply be with HIM! ♥️

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  • Maria Papia

We’re two weeks into Lent, and it’s been very fruitful, but uncomfortable if you will. I began January 1 with the bible in a year and then added on the daily lenten devotional from the Hallow app. I’m also reading “Loving God, Loving Others,” daily devotional and “New Wine,” from Blessed Is She. A lot of content. I’ve been hearing/reading a lot of good stuff and a lot of challenging stuff; stuff that makes my head hurt and my heart ache. Something Fr. Mike once mentioned was that, Lent is sometimes a season that makes us uncomfortable - we’re praying more than we usually do and at times when we don’t feel like it. I don’t know why this commitment isn’t a practice for me every day of my life, maybe because kids/work/house duties/extracurriculars, etc etc. Excuses that are easy to come by, but in fact I feel so much better when I’m “in it,” inspired by so many wise and spiritual people; people who have had struggles just like mine. It’s amazing to see how they’ve completely trusted in Jesus and blessings have unfolded tenfold. I strive to be like them.

Lent is sometimes a season that makes us uncomfortable.

I can’t remember which source it came from, but one of the days I heard a talk about yearning for heaven and not being satisfied with what is here on earth. Never feeling content with the “happiness” and “things,” we have during our time on earth. That really struck me. How does one yearn for Heaven? We don’t know anything concrete about Heaven other than the pictures our minds draw up from what we read in scripture. It’s honestly been unsettling me for days. I prayed to Jesus, “How do I do this?” How can I not be happy with what is around me - the sun shining, the sound of birds chirping, the wind rustling leaves, the sound of ocean waves, the sight of magnificent creation, my miraculous children, a wonderful spouse and family, strong, joy filled friendships, the pleasures of life, witnessing goodness…

How can I look forward to a place I know nothing about? How can I want more than what I have now? I don’t mean for that to sound vain, because we all have our share of struggles, but generally, it’s a good life. A life I love living. A lot of the time it’s filled with comfort and happiness.

A recent evening I had a conversation with my husband about this very matter and it did bring me some clarity. However, a few days later a tragedy occurred. It was extremely tragic and weighed heavily on my heart. A couple days later, another tragedy. Within the span of the week there were two deaths, a serious illness, and a despairing diagnosis. All I could think to myself was there is just this overwhelming feeling of despair. So many people are suffering and my heart is breaking for them. If it’s not one thing it’s another. I can’t even keep up with meals, gifts, or thoughtfulness for people that are hurting. Cancer, loss of a relative, a miscarriage, a car accident, natural disasters, loss of a pet… the list is unending and too many people are affected daily. Sometimes it just all hits at once.

One of the daily Lenten readings had me meditate on Jesus’ agony in the garden - “If it be possible, let this chalice pass from me” - don’t we all feel like that at one point in our lives? Can’t we avoid suffering? Can’t we have a different outcome? Why me? Why the ones I love? We all have our crosses to carry, some heavier than others. As Jesus said, “Not my will, but yours be done.” He deeply suffered, knowing what was coming.

Rocio Hermes wrote, “Suffering can be both our remedy and our teacher since through the hardships in life, we can learn the holy, arduous work of surrender.” Now, let me clarify by saying that not all unfortunate and horrible circumstances are directives from God. Suffering can be allowed by God and an effect from sin, but it’s certainly not given by Him. Bad things happen to good people all the time. It’s the world we live in. And THERE is where my question was answered….THAT is how we yearn for Heaven. We look forward to being in the divine presence of God, in His ultimate glory. Where there is no pain, no grief, no illness, no deception, no loneliness, no murder, no war, no death. We look forward to everlasting life, living in complete and utter joy and peace with all of those that have gone before us.

I take comfort in the words of Bella Rol, “Your deep suffering is not hidden from Him. Your pain isn’t seen through distant eyes. Your tears aren’t heard by disinterested ears. When you are pressed to the brink of your limit, you are not abandoned. When you suffer, every ache of your heart doesn’t go unnoticed. He suffers with you.”

I am thankful to have a God that loves us so much, so unconditionally, and so deeply. As far as my human emotion, it’ll always be too much for my heart to handle. On this earth, evil will always exist, along with heartache. All we can do with our time is turn our hearts and faces to Jesus to let His light shine on us. We can allow him to transform our pain and use it for good. We can offer it up on behalf of others.

In the deepest part of my heart, I want others to know the immense love of Christ. How can we do this? Well, we know we are called to put the needs of the vulnerable first. Matthew 25:40 says, “What you did for the least of my brothers, you did for me,” and Mother Teresa says, “Do small acts with great love.” While these verses are commonly repeated, how well do we act on it? We can start with REALLY acknowledging people - in person, in stores, at the doctor’s office, restaurants, or through phone calls, letters, or texts. Just by being present, we can bring the love of Christ. We can aid those who carry heavy crosses closer to the Resurrection.

I’ll leave you with words written by Megan Hjelmstad, “If you feel burdened by suffering, pain, or unfulfilled desires, look to the Bread of Life and become a well-fed soul strengthened to feed others. Like Christ, we are invited to allow God to transform our suffering into joy and resurrection for others. Jesus can -and will- fulfill our every longing in the end.”

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  • Sarah Warner

Yesterday was truly the definition of a ‘Manic Monday’. We had returned from a lengthy vacation to Florida in the wee hours of Sunday morning and I was set to tackle the day with two overtired little ones. I was in full beast-mom mode, preparing to start a brand-new job on Tuesday morning, which meant dragging my girls to several stores and doctor’s appointments, including my annual exam at the OB-GYN (a story for another time). My head clouded with to-dos – what’s for dinner tonight, who needs what packed for the next day, how many loads of laundry can I possibly wash and fold while my 6-month-old maybe takes a nap (wishful thinking), I took a deep breath, relaxed my shoulders, and tapped the 106.1 button on my car radio.

I often tune into Family Life radio for the Christian music and was initially disappointed that someone was giving a reflection when I needed a spiritual boost from a popular Matt Maher or Lauren Daigle hit. Just as I was about to bounce over to another station, I heard the broadcaster say, “Esther’s story” and I slowly smiled and began to listen in. She was talking about the theme of our Women’s Conference, “For Such a Time as This”, and how God is always working whether we see Him or not – His faithfulness is not diminished in the dark, in fact it’s in those moments that our faith can really grow. I grabbed hold of her every word, reveling in God’s amazing ability to break through the clutter of my life, despite the noisiness of my 3-year-old incessantly asking for Timbits and when we were going to see the baby doctor.

This was a beautiful reminder to be bold and confident in pursuing God’s plan for my life because even in the most hectic days of motherhood and life, I know He’s by my side giving me that extra bit of grace. So here’s my shameless plug for the Buffalo Catholic Women’s Conference, which will be held on Saturday the 29th of April at St. Joe’s Collegiate Institute. I invite you to give yourself a full day to revel in the beauty of our Catholic faith and explore where God is calling you in your unique spiritual journey. We’ll have three inspirational Catholic speakers, Mass with the Bishop, praise & worship music, and Adoration, as well as vendors and resources for spiritual support. I hope to see you there!

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