Megan Murphy presents her keynote address at the Harrisburg Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s Convention on May 11. Next to the podium is a photo of Carmelia “Carm” Urich, a past president of the HDCCW, who died on April 1.

Megan Murphy presents her keynote address at the Harrisburg Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s Convention on May 11. Next to the podium is a photo of Carmelia “Carm” Urich, a past president of the HDCCW, who died on April 1.

Amid the suffering, hardship and darkness that befall our lives, the Blessed Mother can be the cause of our joy, said the keynote speaker at the 94th annual convention of the Harrisburg Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (HDCCW).

Megan Murphy, a dynamic presenter on the New Evangelization, urged women at the event to bring Mary into their hearts and homes, to be led to a closer relationship with Jesus.

The annual convention welcomes women from throughout the Diocese for the celebration of Mass, a keynote presentation, workshops, a luncheon and religious exhibits. The event also provides an opportunity to support various efforts of the council, including a scholarship fund that annually benefits female high school graduates.

This year, it was at the Diocesan Center in Harrisburg on the day before Mother’s Day.

The Saturday event marked a change for the annual gathering, which traditionally took place on Mondays. HDCCW President Alycia Laureti considered the change to enable more women to attend. Women in the Diocese are considered members of the HDCCW, regardless of membership status at the parish council level.

The mission of the Council of Catholic Women – at parish, district and diocesan levels – is service to the parish, Church and community.

Our Lady’s Intercession

Father David L. Danneker, PhD., Diocesan Vicar General/Moderator of the Curia and pastor of Prince of Peace Parish in Steelton, served as the principal celebrant and homilist for Holy Mass to open the convention.

Reflecting on the Gospel passage of the Wedding Feast at Cana, Father Danneker asked the congregation to consider why Jesus would perform his first public miracle to turn water into wine.

“Perhaps it was this – his mother’s intercession,” Father Danneker posed.

“This is why Mary is so powerful for us…. Women, as well as men, increasingly need counsel in dealing with the different challenges our world puts in front of us,” he said.

“How many mothers here have interceded with your husbands for your children? How many of you were able to convince that stubborn child to do something they didn’t want to do?” he asked the congregation. “Thus is the power of a mother’s love and intervention.”

A woman is seen in prayer during Mass celebrated at the annual convention on May 11 at the Diocesan Center in Harrisburg.

A woman is seen in prayer during Mass celebrated at the annual convention on May 11 at the Diocesan Center in Harrisburg.

Murphy carried the theme of Mary’s counsel and intervention throughout her keynote presentation. Examining the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, she illustrated with Scripture examples in which Mary is the cause of our joy.

“You can’t find Mary in all the Sorrowful mysteries. She doesn’t appear in all the Glorious Mysteries, nor will you see her in all the Luminous Mysteries. But you cannot miss Mary in every single one of the Joyful Mysteries,” Murphy said.

Of the five Joyful Mysteries – The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and The Finding of Jesus in the Temple – Murphy spoke at length on The Annunciation.

Mary’s “Fiat,” Murphy said, illustrates “she is about service, that all things might be done by God, in and through her.”

“Her humility is profound, even as she becomes the first Tabernacle for the Lord,” she said. “How many of us, when we’re faced with a cross, with what looks like an impossible situation challenging our faith, turn to confidence in God and say, ‘Let it be?’”

Such an attitude of confidence in the Lord is attainable, Murphy said, if we are filled with Mary’s Divine Spouse, the Holy Spirit.

“Pentecost is coming. We need to beg and pray boldly: ‘Come, Holy Spirit, fill us with your life. Renew us. Recreate us.’ What we pray for, we will see,” Murphy said.

She called on convention attendees to make a physical place for Mary in their lives – with statues and images of her in their homes – to bring her spiritually into their lives.

“If you do not have Mary in your home, get her there,” she urged. “The first thing you do if you desire a relationship with her is to take her into your home. From there, take her into your heart.”

“Spend time in Mary’s company. Get to know her, love her, honor her, and God will fill you.”

(Learn more about the mission and ministry of the Harrisburg Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, and see how you can get involved, at https://hdccw.webs.com.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness