As Father Ben Luedtke stood in front of hundreds of women with a crucifix during the 2011 diocesan Women’s Conference, Kathy Medich said it was hard not to be “on fire” when – while holding the crucifix high – he said, “(Do) you know what love is? … This is love.”
That “standout moment” led Kathy, who attends St. John the Evangelist in Fenton, to join the conference’s core team, which organizes and brings the diocesan Women’s Conference to more than 1,000 women year after year.
“It’s a great day to draw closer to the Lord, to enjoy fellowship with, perhaps, your mom, your sisters and your friends,” Kathy says. “Taking a deep breath – that’s what we need as women. We need to take that deep breath. There’s a lot of opportunity for that, too … Experiencing the emotions together, [the conference] was beautiful, just beautiful. You are just filled up.”
Kathy has been on the core team, which spends about 10 months planning each conference, for three years, and is the Friday Night Fun coordinator.
“The dedication of our diocese and the dedication of the people who work on this, and their love of God and for others … [attendees] don’t get to see firsthand all the work in the background. It is for others. It is not for us. Meeting after meeting, it is what we can do for them. What would they like? How do they want to see this? It’s very much being a gift,” Kathy says.
Kathy feels that women can get “depleted,” and need to be reunited with the Holy Spirit. And while each woman has her own experience at the conference, it is a way to have a “spirit-filled experience.”
“The part I love about the conference day is the prayer room, [where women] can be prayed over. Every time I walked by, there was a nice line going into there, and it just warmed my heart. That is the fundamental base we all need,” Kathy says.
The energy of the Women’s Conference is completely different from a silent retreat, especially since women have the opportunity to talk, shop, pray together and move around. Women can be as engaged as they like or go at their own pace. Although the conference itself is held on a Saturday, women can start off their weekend by getting pampered at the Friday Night Fun event.
The theme for this year’s conference – which is being held Oct. 24 – is Dance in His Vineyard. Friday Night Fun is filled with a variety of activities that incorporate the theme, including the spa room, crafts and the “Catholic Lounge,” which features live music, wine and cheese. Shopping and a photo booth to capture the memories will also be available.
“We really want them to sit back and relax, have fun and let us pamper them,” Kathy says. “We want them to encounter Christ, too. That’s top of the list.”
Kathy feels that Friday Night Fun is a great way for women to bond with each other, whether they attend the conference alone or with a group of friends. Women can choose how they enjoy the evening. “That was really fun last year because the way we (pair) the wine and cheese with the musician, everyone got to sit around and lounge and laugh. We really want them to have an encounter experience … where we can reach them with their friends and bring them to Jesus. It’s our hope that we give them a powerful message,” she says.
The conference is planned by discernment – both individually and as a team – and the theme and activities are decided through prayer. Core team members even attend a retreat together, which solidifies the team, according to Kathy.
“We’re a mini-family. We’re in it together and there for each other, and I really do feel blessed to be a part of it. That’s an ongoing blessing.”
The spectrum is wide in terms of the theme for the conference, Kathy says. “What Scripture passages we use, the songs, everything and anything we can and we want to make it so there’s a thread throughout. Dance in His Vineyard – we’re dancing in the vineyard of God and his precious blood.”
Something to Do
The fourth annual Diocese of Lansing Women’s Conference will be held Saturday, Oct. 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Causeway Bay Hotel (formerly the Best Western Plus) on Cedar Street in Lansing. Featured speakers are Father Mathias Thelen, Sheri Wolfert and Sister Sarah Burdick. Bishop Earl Boyea will celebrate Mass.
For more information, visit www.LansingDioceseCWC.org or call Margaret Grima at 517-342-2555.