ORANGE, Calif. (SNR) – Spiritual advisor Msgr. Paul Witt, coordinator Rhonda Litt and nine women from the Morning Star Chapter of Magnificat in Lincoln recently joined 380 faithful from around the world for the 14th Magnificat International Conference, a Ministry to Catholic Women, in Orange, Calif.
The event also marked the 36th anniversary of the ministry.
Nebraskans were represented at the gathering that included women, priests and bishops from all over the world, to pray for peace and healing for individuals, communities, leaders, and the world.
“It truly was an inspirational weekend and a taste of heaven being in a gathering where everyone shared their love for Jesus,” Litt said. “We were there to grow in a deeper relationship with Jesus and His Blessed Mother through His Holy Spirit, and with one another proclaiming His Kingdom and learning how to be better instruments of His Salvation through the Magnificat Ministry.
“There were no divisions,” she continued, “just an experience of unity and joy, which is so different from our secular world. The faith-sharing gave us hope for our world.”
Conference speakers included EWTN’s “Women of Grace” hostess Johnnette Benkovic; Major League Baseball World Series champion pitcher Jeff Suppan; Father Donald Calloway, M.I.C., and his mother LaChita Calloway; singer and quadriplegic inspirational speaker Renee Bondi; and Msgr. David Toups, president of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla.
Conference attendees also participated in short pilgrimages to the San Juan Capistrano Mission and Christ Cathedral, formerly Reformed Church in America’s “Crystal Cathedral,” which the Diocese of Orange bought in 2012.
“After experiencing my first international conference of Magnificat,” Msgr. Witt said, “I could clearly see all of the women present and involved are super-determined about their relationship with the Lord and His teachings. And they are in a continued movement in that same direction. What a blessing all of them are!”
There were 20 priests present at the Conference which focused on the priesthood and the Blessed Sacrament. Magnificat has more than 109 active chapters and 10 in formation, with each chapter having a priest as a spiritual advisor.
Lois Thom, who drives almost two hours and a half hours from Minden for each of the quarterly Magnificat Prayer Meals in Lincoln, also joined the group to Conference in California.
“Magnificat has been transforming for me with its focus on praise and worship,” she said. “The conference is always so inspiring with the wonderful speakers, and just being in the company of so many Catholic women praising and worshiping the Lord.”
“The entire Conference was a confirmation of the power united prayer has to work real miracles,” Litt added. “I felt very blessed to represent the Lincoln Diocese, which we remembered in prayer all weekend.”
The international Magnificat leaders’ conference is held every two years with members attending from the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Magnificat, a ministry for Catholic women, was established in 1981 in New Orleans. Quarterly meals are hosted by local chapters worldwide. The name “Magnificat” is based on the scripture verse Luke 1:46.