Trinity Heights plans second annual Divine Mercy Conference
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
Dynamic speakers who are dedicated to spreading the message of Christ’s ocean of great mercy will be featured at a conference to be presented this fall in Sioux City.
Queen of Peace: Mediatrix of Divine Mercy, the second annual Midwest Divine Mercy/Marian Conference will be held Oct. 1 at the Sioux City Convention Center.
Lori Twohig, a member of the planning committee, noted that this year’s conference that is sponsored by Trinity Heights Queen of Peace and KFHC 88.1 FM will offer a youth and adult conference.
This year’s conference will feature keynote speaker Father Donald Calloway, a prominent Marian priest and well-known conference speaker on divine mercy and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Father Leroy Seuntjens, who is the spiritual director at Trinity Heights, believes the speaker’s personal conversion story and dynamic personality will draw.
“As a teenager, he was into nothing but rock music, long hair, drugs, chasing girls and surfing,” he said. “He was a military brat who raised cane wherever he went. When he was home alone one night he read a book or article about Medjugorje and somehow that changed him.”
The next day he told his mother he was going to talk to the military chaplain. In time he was baptized, joined the church and became a priest.
“The power of God’s grace and mercy comes out in his story,” Father Seuntjens said.
Twohig, who noted that Father Calloway has written two books related to mercy, called his conversion story a miracle.
Carol Wolpert, one of the conference organizers, pointed out that the planning committee decided to offer conference presentations designed for middle school and high school youth.
“Our desire is to introduce them to the mystical life of St. Faustina, the messages revealed to her from Jesus and the devotion to divine mercy,” she said.
After presentations by Dave and Joan Maroney, Mother of Mercy Messengers (MOMM), and Dr. Bryan Thatcher, founder of Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy, Father Calloway will present the first of two keynote addresses.
Lunch will be offered at noon, which is included in this year’s registration fee, and there will be time for confession and exhibit viewing.
A second keynote will be presented by Father Calloway at 2:15 p.m. with a Eucharistic Holy Hour including the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, rosary and benediction to follow at 3 p.m. At 4 p.m., conference goers can make their way to Cathedral of the Epiphany where 5 p.m. Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Walker Nickless.
At 10 a.m., MOMM (Mother of Mercy Messengers) will present a multi-media program designed specifically for youth. A three-person panel will lead a discussion at 11:15 a.m. about the devotion and the practical application of divine mercy in their lives. The panel will consist of Joan and Dave Maroney as well as Dr. Bryan Thatcher, MD.
After lunch on the mezzanine, youth will be invited to the main gallery to hear Father Calloway’s second keynote address and participate in holy hour as well as Mass at the Cathedral with Bishop Nickless.
“We hope to build on their existing faith by promoting the divine mercy devotion and challenge them to perform works of mercy in their daily lives,” Wolpert said. “Youth are the new springtime of the church and we want to cultivate them in Christian dignity as they journey through a secular culture that defiles their innocence and stains their souls.”
She pointed out that divine mercy is “the devotion of our times.” Wolpert added that Blessed Pope John Paul II is known as the mercy pope in part due to his canonization of St. Faustina and establishment of Divine Mercy Sunday for the universal church.
The concept and message of God’s great ocean of mercy, noted Twohig, is gaining appeal with the people as they come to know that they can do nothing which God is not willing to forgive.
For those who attended last year, Father Seuntjens said conference-goers will have a chance to build upon what they learned from last year’s conference.
“This is an opportunity to grow in your appreciation of this tremendous love that God has for sinners of the world,” he said.
In the future, the hope is to host a divine mercy conference every other year, alternating with Trinity Heights Prayer and Celebration Day.
The cost of this year’s conference is $50 for adults and $10 for youth, including lunch, for reservations made by Sept. 27. The price goes to $65 for adults and $15 for youth after that time.
That night, for an additional fee, there is the option to attend a 6:30 p.m. dinner with the speakers. Serving as a special benefit to Trinity Heights, the cost is $150 per person or a table of eight is available for $1,000.
For more information on the conference or to purchase tickets, call (712) 239-8670 or visit Trinity Heights website: www.trinityheights.com.
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