PORTLAND — An award-winning author and speaker and Mass with Bishop Robert Deeley are among the many highlights planned for the 2022 Maine Catholic Women’s Conference set for Saturday, April 2, at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.

The conference, which returns to an in-person format this year, has drawn hundreds and hundreds of Maine women over the years, including a sellout of nearly 400 the last time the event was held in Portland in 2019.

The keynote speaker will be Liz Kelly, a Minnesota native who has written seven books and led retreats around the country with a particular focus on helping women to flourish in their faith.

“It cannot be clearer, that God has a plan for the way in which women in particular, as individuals and as a corporate whole, will participate in his plan of salvation,” said Kelly. “But sometimes it’s still hard to believe that we are as important to God’s work as we are. It’s hard to trust that the Creator of All is keenly aware of and interested in my little world. If you struggle to believe, to hope, that’s all right. You can borrow my hope, my faith, or borrow the faith, hope, and love of the Communion of Saints, until your own returns!”

The conference invites women of faith to gather together for a celebration of being Catholic and to be renewed in the graces of forgiveness and mercy that God provides. It features vendors, music, a Holy Hour, the opportunity for confession, dynamic presentations, and a Mass with Bishop Deeley.

“Spending time together like this allows for participants to be with others who listen to Jesus and find in him the truth of life,” said Bishop Deeley. “Those in attendance will encounter Jesus in the Eucharist and in what they hear at the conference. Together, the women strengthen each other in the beauty of his message and are inspired to share the joy of what they hear with others.”

Doors open at 8:30 a.m. with the conference running from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is now open, and a block of rooms has also been reserved for the nights of March 31 through April 2 at a discounted rate for conference participants.

For more information or to register, visit www.portlanddiocese.org/mcwc2022.