By SAM GENOVESE
For The Catholic Week
DOTHAN — About 200 women from the Wiregrass area gathered July 20 at St. Columba Parish for “Flourish.”
The inaugural women’s conference was a dream fulfilled for Nikki Burns and Ashley Johnson, coordinators of St. Columba’s Bloom Ministry for Women. Women of all ages came from Mobile, Montgomery, Enterprise and Ozark as well as Florida, and Georgia to join in prayer and praise, food and fellowship.
The day began with Mass and ended with Adoration. St. Columba pastor Msgr. Patrick Gallagher welcomed the women. Keynote speaker was author, educator and blogger Maria Morera Johnson. Mary C. Sylvester, family life director at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Semmes, provided vocal and instrumental selections of contemporary Christian music for the gathering.
O’Hara Hall was transformed into a colorful garden and three prayer rooms, each decorated with a different theme, provided opportunities for guided prayer and personal response.
Emcee YeYe Galloway, adviser on Hispanic Immigration issues for Catholic Social Services, entertained guests with bilingual warmth and humor. Guests also had an opportunity to visit vendors who provided products and services ranging from books and religious goods to handmade pottery and gifts.
The planning committee, assisting co-chairs Burns and Johnson, included Melissa Lami, Amanda Martin, Gena Flowers, Sharyl Meendering, Cara Hinckley, Mary DiGiorgio, Marianne Horne, Lucia Sandoz and Katie Collins.
Plans are being made for next year’s conference.
By SAM GENOVESE