Marian conference encourages finding joy in faith

GREENVILLE—St. Joseph was highlighted at this year’s celebration of the Marian Eucharistic Conference, receiving praise from one speaker befitting of Mary’s husband, the “head of the Holy Family.”

“We need St. Joseph today, both in the world and in the Church,” Father Donald Calloway said. “I believe that the Holy Spirit is asking the Church to turn our attention to him today, more than ever.”

Father Calloway, a priest in the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, noted that St. Joseph was declared the patron of the Universal Church, its “spiritual father”, in 1870 by Pope Pius IX. Then, he appeared alongside Mary at Fatima in 1917.

“It was during that apparition, when Our Lady revealed her identity as the Lady of the Rosary,” Father Calloway said. It was also during that apparition when the three children of Fatima saw Joseph holding the Christ child, he said.

“Simultaneously, father and son blessed the world,” Father Calloway said.

Father Calloway said the world needs St. Joseph to help stem the current threat to traditional marriage and family. 

The conference was streamed virtually for the first time in its eight years because of the pandemic. Each speaker recorded their presentation for viewing at no cost on the conference website.

Jim Carino serves as emcee of the Marian Eucharistic Conference held online. (Screenshot/

Mass was celebrated via livestream by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston on Oct. 25.

In his talk on how to find hope and joy in the middle of a pandemic, Father Peter Cameron reminded people that Christianity has survived, and often flourishes, during tough times.

“We’re not the first people to have to contend with such a pestilence,” he said in referencing plagues throughout world history, some of which “ravaged the world.”

Father Cameron said joy during difficult times is found in the way Christians live “our love, our faith and our hope.” Citing the words of Thomas Aquinas, he said joy follows from God’s love. Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Christians have an answer to plagues, and even to death, in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Father Cameron said.

“Death is not the end. It is the beginning of eternal life,” he said. “In the face of death, Christians don’t experience dread, they experience joy. The current pandemic is a challenge to us to redouble our effort in loving God and others.”

While the virtual aspect of the 2020 conference created some initial confusion related to accessing the presentations, the Marian conference organizers said they were encouraged with its outcome.

“With the help of God and led by the Holy Spirit, the first virtual conference turned out to be better than what we expected,” committee members wrote in an email.

They encouraged this year’s participants to share their experiences with the virtual setup, noting that feedback will be used in planning next year’s conference.