EASTON, Mass. — With the 2020 Women and Men’s Conference taking place very early in this Lenten season — during the first full week on March 7 — those attending will gain the benefit of the blessings that will be shared by the three outstanding guest speakers, as well as their own diocesan bishop, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V. The event will take place at the Ames Sports Complex on the campus of Stonehill College, 320 Washington Street in Easton, with doors opening at 9 a.m. and concluding with the celebration of Mass at 4 p.m.

In his message to faithful across the diocese, inviting them to attend this year’s conference, Bishop da Cunha wrote, “During Lent we are all called to look for ways to grow in faith, to reflect on and to deepen our relationship with God.

“Our annual Women and Men’s Conference provides and opportunity to do that. It’s a day of renewal, of prayer, of music, and of friendship; it’s a day to enrich ourselves Spiritually and prepare ourselves for the celebration of Holy Week and Easter. I hope you will be able to take part, and know that I look forward to being with you.”

Bishop da Cunha will be at the conference all day and will take part in a Question and Answer panel session with the guest speakers, and will wrap-up the day by celebrating Mass and delivering a homily to send those there off on their Lenten journeys.

The theme of the conference is from John’s Gospel account of Jesus washing the feet of His Apostles, “As I have done, you must also do.”

“We are very excited about this year’s conference and the gathering of so many wonderful men and women from across the diocese and the opportunity for them to hear some wonderful guest speakers,” Beth Mahoney, conference committee chairperson told The Anchor.

The dynamic speakers include Auxiliary Bishops Robert C. Evans of the Diocese of Providence and John W. Flesey, S.T.D., from the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J.; and noted speaker, author and retreat leader, Kendra Von Esh.

Bishop Evans, after serving many years in the Providence Diocese, was appointed auxiliary bishop there in 2009. In the diocese he served in parishes, in hospital and campus ministry, and in administration, including as chancellor.

In 2001, he was named director of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education and a faculty member of the North American College, both in Rome, and later served as secretary at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C.

Auxiliary Bishop Flesey holds a doctorate degree in Sacred Theology. In 1985 he began a long stretch of service at the Immaculate Conception Seminary of Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. He first started as a faculty member and later was named Spiritual Director. From 1995 to 2000 Bishop Flesey was the rector/dean.

He later returned to teaching and his Spiritual Director role. While doing so he also became the director of the Newark Archdiocese Office of Continuing Formation of Priests. He was appointed auxiliary bishop in 2004.

Von Esh is a noted speaker, author and retreat leader, known for her passion about helping others to deepen their relationship with God and to discern His will in their lives.

Once a corporate executive, Von Esh sensed a growing emptiness in her life and felt called to return to the Catholic Church where, as she put it, “God found her.”

It didn’t take very long after that she left a successful business career to focus on her faith journey and to share that journey with others.

Von Esh utilizes humor and a “from the heart” approach as she recounts her journey from lukewarm belief to a strong state of grace, peace and joy, all stemming from her personal relationship with God.

Mahoney told The Anchor that Continued Education Units (CEUs) will be offered to attendees if requested. There will be a section on the registration form to request the credits.

The deadline to register for the conference is March 2. The cost to attend the conference is $50, which includes morning refreshments and lunch.

The Anchor will also announce bus trips to the conference should they become available.

People can register for the conference at the Diocese of Fall River website at FallRiverDiocese.org and click on the conference menu choice, or they can get more information by emailing Mahoney at frdccwbeth@gmail.com.

Registration forms will also soon be available at individual parishes.