Family conference offers something for all ages

BRAINTREE -- Every member of the Catholic family is invited to the Northeast Catholic Family Conference June 28 from 1-8 p.m. The event, held at St. Mary Parish in Waltham, includes activities for all ages.

While ideal for families with children, the conference is suited for all Catholics to deepen their faith, said Father Michael Harrington, assistant director for the Office of Vocations and the conference’s organizer.

“Sometimes young Catholics feel like this is not a conference for them, and I think that’s a big mistake,” he said.

Young adults are part of the universal family that is the Catholic faith, he added.

The day will begin with sung daytime prayer and then participants will split into groups for adults, teens and children. The conference is unique in New England as an event where families can attend together but also have their spiritual needs met at an age appropriate level.

The adult program will consist of two workshops with a choice between two sessions in English and one session in Spanish. Talks will include “Build Your Self, Not Just Your Career,” “What is the Vision for Your Marriage?” and “How to Live a Fully Human Life... on less than $10 a day.”

Speakers will be the pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Holbrook, Father Edward Riley; the Missioneras Servidoras de la Palabra; members of the Community of Sant’ Egidio Joshua and Kerri Marmol; Sister Kathryn James, FSP; and Marie Lucci who will be co-director of the teen program.

Lucci said the teen program, geared for those entering grades 9-12, will help participants build their identity as members of the Church.

“Young people have something to give to the Church right now in their youth,” she said.

Luke DelVecchio, a youth coordinator at St. Paul Parish in Wellesley, said the teen program will consist of talks, guided meditation and ice breakers for participants to get to know each other.

DelVecchio said the youth will have the chance to “get out and have some fun.”

The children’s program for those entering grades 1-8 will include adoration and other activities.

All participants will gather for Mass with Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley who will celebrate his birthday at the conference.

In the evening the conference will conclude with a cookout, music, worship and a candlelight rosary procession.

Father Harrington said that, at a time when the family is under attack, the conference is a chance for families to come together in prayer. Through worship they can discover what they are called to be in the world.

“It takes families out of their normal routine,” he said. “It brings them to something else where they can celebrate their faith.”

The conference first took place in 2003 at Stonehill College and became an annual event beginning last year when it was held at St. Mary’s. This year’s theme is “Something Beautiful for God.”

“Our hope and prayer is that through God’s mercy and love we can open the hearts and minds of all Catholic families to follow the Lord,” Father Harrington said. “As individuals and families, they are called to deepen their faith and be heralds of the Gospel in their own lives.”

He added that the conference is meant to help families respond to their call to be evangelizers so they can witness to their neighbors in their own communities.

The conference is sponsored by the School of Nazareth, which is a family group started by Father Harrington, the Holy Family Institute of the Pauline Family and St. Mary Parish. The cost for the day’s events, which includes dinner, is a donation of $15 for individuals and $25 for families.

For more information or to register, visit www.schoolofnazareth.org.

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