Marian Conference May 19-20-2023
Marion Conference Marian Conference
May 19 3pm-7:30 pm
May 20 8 am -5:15 pm
Mary As Our Refuge
Join hundreds of pilgrims from around the world in the first-annual National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help Marian Conference. Focused on Mary as our refuge, attendees will be able to develop a deeper understanding of Mary as a protector and guide, while also growing in greater intimacy with her Son, Jesus.
Chuck Neff (Emcee)
Chuck Neff is Champion Shrine’s 2023 Marian Conference emcee. A veteran TV and radio broadcaster, he is the former host of “The Inner Life” on Relevant Radio. Dedicating almost 16 years to the Catholic network, Neff talked daily about spiritual direction and brought on wise and thoughtful priests to share advise on a variety of topics. He retired from Relevant Radio on February 22, 2021. Those who knew him on The Inner Life describe Neff as a calming and compassionate presence, making each listener feel heard, cared for, and valued as a son or daughter of Christ. He is the author of The Deal and co-author of Finding Light in the Darkness, a Journey Through the Stations of the Cross. Since retiring, he has been enjoying spending more time with his wife, Judy, and traveling.
Fr. Wade Menezes, CPM
Fr. Wade L. J. Menezes, CPM is a member of the Fathers of Mercy, a missionary preaching Religious Congregation based in Auburn, Kentucky. Ordained a priest during the Great Jubilee Year 2000, he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Catholic Thought from the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Toronto, Canada and his dual Master of Arts and Master of Divinity Degrees in Theology from Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. His secular college degrees are in journalism and communications.
Fr. Wade has served as the Assistant General and as the Director of Vocations and Director of Seminarians for the Fathers of Mercy. Fr. Wade has also served as the Chaplain-in-Residence at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama. While at the Shrine, Fr. Wade was a daily Mass celebrant, homilist and confessor; he also gave spiritual conferences on specialized points of Catholic Christian doctrine to the many pilgrims who visit the Shrine. Both the Monastery and Shrine are affiliated with EWTN, the Eternal Word Television Network. As an itinerant preacher for the Fathers of Mercy, Fr. Wade has preached throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Fr. Wade has been a contributing writer for the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, Catholic Twin Circle, Catholic Faith and Family, The Wanderer, Pastoral Life, The Catholic Faith, Lay Witness, Legatus, and Christian Ranchman publications. Several homiletic series of his have appeared in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, an international journal for Priests. Fr. Wade has also been a guest on various episodes of EWTN’s “Mother Angelica Live” and “Life on the Rock” programs during which he discussed such topics as the sanctification of marriage and family life, vocations, and the Sacred Liturgy. He has also hosted several televised series for EWTN, which have covered such topics as the necessity of the spiritual life, the Four Last Things, the Ten Commandments of Catholic Family Life and the Gospel of Life vs. the Culture of Death. He is also host of the EWTN interstitial series The Crux of the Matter, The Wonders of His Mercy, and In Defense of the Eucharist. His many theological and doctrinal presentations have been featured on EWTN Global Catholic Radio, Ave Maria Radio, Guadalupe Radio Network, Covenant Network Radio, Catholic Broadcasting Northwest and Voice of Virtue International. He is the author of three books: The Four Last Things: A Catechetical Guide to Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell, Overcoming the Evil Within: The Reality of Sin and the Transforming Power of God’s Grace and Mercy, and Catholic Essentials: A Guide to Understanding Key Church Teachings (from EWTN Publishing in conjunction with Sophia Institute Press). Fr. Wade is also the host of EWTN Global Catholic Radio’s Open Line Tuesday.
Bishop David Ricken
The Most Reverend David L. Ricken was ordained in the Diocese of Pueblo, CO, in September 1980. Five years later, he became administrator of Holy Rosary Parish and diocesan vice chancellor. In 1987, Bishop Ricken received his Licentiate degree (J.C.L.) in Cannon Law from Pontifical Gregorian University and was appointed vocation director/vicar for ministry formation. Three years later, he was named diocesan chancellor. In 1996 Biship Ricken was nominated an official of the Congregation for Clergy ibn Rome.
On January 6, 2000, he was ordained to the episcopacy for the Diocese of Cheyenne at the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome by his His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. During his tenure, Bishop Ricken was a founding member of Wyoming Catholic College. On July 9, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Ricken the twelfth bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, and was officially installed on Aug. 28, 2008.
During his tenure as Bishop in Green Bay, he was instrumental in declaring the Authenticity of the Apparitions of 1859 at the “”Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help”” in Champion, WI, to Adele Brise. The decree was issued on Dec. 8, 2010. Bishop Ricken was the first and only diocesan bishop in the U.S. to officially approve a Marian apparition.”
Daughter of Mary,
Queenship of Mary
Sr. Philomena feels so blessed to be called to the Queenship of Mary Community. Her ‘vocation story’ is really her journey of discovering Mary’s invitation to be an instrument in making Her known and loved. Sr. Philomena’s life is dedicated and consecrated to Mary.
Sr. Philomena didn’t always have a love for Our Lady. In fact, growing up in the Protestant faith, Mary was only acknowledged as the Mother of Jesus. Devotion to Mary was for those superstitious Catholics, not for her! God in His mercy placed people in her life who were an authentic witness of the Catholic Faith. These encounters, as well as learning more and more of the Truth of the Faith, culminated in Sr. Philomena being received into the Catholic Church at the age of 14, along with her family.
Even in going through the RCIA process, Sr. Philomena was already feeling a pull towards religious life. She just could not shake the still, small voice whispering in her heart that Jesus was inviting her to belong totally to Him. Being a normal teenager, she was naturally drawn to boys and the idea of marriage, but all through high school was this inner tug to become a sister.
Our Lady, like a good Mother, guided Sr. Philomena right into her open arms. She didn’t know which community of sisters to join, but had always loved Mother Teresa’s community, the Missionaries of Charity. After the Lord closed that door of possibly discerning with them, there was still that sense of being called, but where? And that’s when she encountered the Queenship of Mary Community, a new community located in that ‘frozen wilderness’ also known as Canada. She met the Foundress, who invited her to ‘come and see.’ And so she did – twice!
You might say the rest is history. In 2010, she entered as an aspirant, and made her first vows in 2013, receiving the religious name of ‘Sr. Philomena, Daughter of Mary.’ Her journey with the Queenship of Mary Community has ultimately been an ever-deepening discovery of the love of Jesus, through Mary. She is so happy to be called to be an instrument in Mary’s hands! Praise God for His infinite mercy!’
Fr. Joseph Aytona, CPM
Fr. Joseph was born in 1981 in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in the suburbs of Southern California. In 2003, Fr. Joseph joined the Congregation of the Fathers of Mercy and was ordained to the Priesthood in May 2010. He is a 2010 graduate of Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, a Master of Divinity Degree, and a Master of Arts in Theology.
Along with being the Rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, Fr. Joseph is the founder of the Spiritual Motherhood Sodality as well as the founder of Family Vocation Ministries, an apostolate that promotes vocations through the sanctification of families. He has appeared on “EWTN Live” and “Life on the Rock” Catholic programs during which he discussed the importance of the Eucharist, the Priesthood, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. He has also been interviewed by Catholic Newspapers and Periodicals such as the National Catholic Register and Religious Life Magazine.
19 (Friday) 3:00 pm - 20 (Saturday) 6:00 pm