March 6, 2017

Westfield parish to present Lenten series of speakers

By Kathleen Harrington

Gary Zimak

Gary Zimak (IObserve photos/courtesy of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish)

WESTFIELD – At Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church in Westfield, the 40 days of Lent will be observed with a series of Wednesday evening speakers. The series will focus on “Hope Among Us.” 

The series will begin on March 8 with Gary Zimak, radio host and author of From Fear to Faith: A Worrier’s Guide to Discovering Peace. His talk will focus on “Hope for Personal Peace” and the obstacles we face in overcoming our fears and anxieties. Zimak will share a message about trust in the Lord. The author of six other books, Zimak is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and television programs.


Deacon Greg Kandra

On March 15, Westfield teacher Patricia Wysocki will present lessons of life and a message of “Hope for our Children.” Wysocki and her husband adopted three children through international adoption. Professionally, she is an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher working with elementary school aged children at Highland Elementary in Westfield.

“We’re all children of immigrants,” Wysocki said. In the classroom, she teaches children to find their common bonds and to be respectful of differences.

On March 22, West Springfield teacher Katherine Mary Kraver will share stories of her world travels and a message of “Hope for the World’s Children.” Through stories of her world travels and real encounters, the author of It Was Just a House and The Boy with the Red Shoes focuses on empathy and compassion for the children of the world.

CNEWA, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, is a 90-year-old papal agency serving the church through humanitarian and pastoral support for persecuted Catholics. Deacon Greg Kandra is the multimedia editor for CNEWA. His talk will be on “Hope for Christians in the Holy Land” on March 29.

2017 is the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal. On April 5, Judith Studer, a custodian of the United Nations International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of the World Apostolate of Fatima will present “Mary’s Message of Hope” and share stories of her travels with the statue. Studer also will talk about her call to spread the message of Fatima and devotion of Our Lady. The evening will include a visit from a retired Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Then on April 12, the series will conclude with “The Spiritual Call to be a Welcoming People.” Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski; Kathryn Buckley Brawner, executive director of the Catholic Charities Agency of the Springfield Diocese; and Father Warren Savage will talk about welcoming the stranger.

Judy Studer

Judy Studer

The March 8, 15, 22, 29 and April 5 and 12th speakers programs begin at 7 p.m. The doors will open at 6:30. The program includes musical guests including Psalm 33, the contemporary music group.

The Lenten series is free of charge and open to the public. No registration is necessary. Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church is located at 127 Holyoke Rd. in Westfield. The church is handicapped accessible.