SCRANTON – In a powerful display of faith and fellowship, hundreds of Catholic women from around the Diocese of Scranton and beyond gathered for the annual ‘Refresh Your Faith’ Catholic Women’s Conference at Marywood University on June 8, 2024.

The day-long event featured several speakers, recitation of the Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, the opportunity for Reconciliation, and Mass celebrated by the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton.

A crowd of several hundred, energized women filled the ballroom at Marywood University for the 2024 ‘Refresh Your Faith’ Catholic Women’s Conference. (Photos/Mike Melisky)

“I think it’s an opportunity for women to get together and grow deeper in their faith,” Laurie Hanley of Saint Vincent de Paul Parish in Dingman Township said.

Hanley moved to Pike County in 2022 and attended the Catholic Women’s Conference for the first time last year after reading about it in The Catholic Light.

After being very impressed with the event, she volunteered to help with the planning committee this year.

“To be able to have these speakers and talented musicians share their love of God with us is amazing and then we can share that together and we can bring it back to our parishes,” she added.

The keynote speakers for this year’s conference included Father Justin Cinnante, O.Carm., a priest from Transfiguration Priory in Tarrytown, N.Y.; Father Giuseppe Maria Siniscalchi, CFR, who currently serves as the Local Servant (superior) of Saint Mary of the Assumption Friary in Newburgh, N.Y.; and Jackie Francois Angel, a singer/songwriter and worship leader from California.

Singer/songwriter Jackie Francois Angel performs the entrance song during Mass at the conference.

Each speaker shared powerful and personal stories about the transformative nature of God’s love.

“Only God can satisfy the desires of our hearts. No human being can do that. No amount of money or success or popularity can do that,” Angel said during her remarks. “We have a massive ache in our hearts for something more. We have a massive ache in our hearts for something that the world cannot give.”

“When a woman is fully alive with the love that comes from God, nothing can stop her, she is a force against the universe,” Father Giuseppe said. “She is powerful and once a woman has this love in her, nobody needs to tell her what to do, it just comes flowing out of her and no one is going to stop her.”

Fr. Justin Cinnante, O.Carm., delivers the keynote address during the conference June 8.

Christy Ghigiarelli of SS. Anthony and Rocco Parish in Dunmore found this year’s conference empowering because she saw so many other women ‘on fire’ with faith.

“It’s just this beautiful day where you truly get your faith refreshed. You listen to these amazing speakers, and you hear things presented in ways that you haven’t heard before,” Ghigiarelli explained. “You’re surrounded by this community of women that have an amazing love of Christ.”

Pati Pawlik of Saint Eulalia Parish in Roaring Brook Township called the conference a “treasure” because it brings so many women together to pray.

“It’s such a high-energy environment,” Pawlik said. “We feed off each other’s joys. We laugh, we cry, it’s just a feminine quality that we don’t get to experience every day in our normal lives and our normal work environments.”

Many participants described the experience as deeply enriching, citing the profound connections formed and the overwhelming sense of support and solidarity among fellow Catholic women.

“I think it’s so wonderful that women can lift each other up with our faith at the foundation of everything that we do in our day to day lives,” Dara Dirhan of Saint Maria Goretti Parish in Laflin added.

As the conference drew to a close, attendees departed with renewed spirits, fortified in their faith, and emboldened by the connections forged during a transformative day of fellowship. While the event may have concluded, its impact will undoubtedly resonate within the hearts and minds of all those who attended, serving as a beacon of hope and inspiration on their continued journey of faith.

“This is something that everybody should come to. It really is a special time,” conference marketing committee spokesman Jackie Lewandoski said. “You’re reminded of how much God loves us and how special it is that we have him in our life … It really is the perfect day!”