The Catholic Advocate
Archdiocese of Newark, NJ
Commemorating the 20th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem ("On the Dignity and Vocation of Women"), the annual Women's Day of Reflection-sponsored by the Women's Commission of the Archdiocese of Newark-addressed issues of faith and life facing modern women in society and the Church.
The March 1 event, "On the Dignity of Women: Reclaiming Authentic Femininity in the Public Square," attracted hundreds of faithful to the South Orange campus of Seton Hall University. The conference featured speakers Teresa Tomeo, a veteran news anchor and EWTN radio show host, and Janet Morana, co-founder of the "Silent No More" abortion awareness campaign.
Both speakers, who discussed critical, turning-point events in their lives, said they came back to the Church after many years of being disenchanted by their experiences in the secular world. A Jersey City native, Tomeo was raised in a traditional Italian-American Catholic home. She worked for 20 years in the Detroit area as a radio and TV news reporter and anchorwoman.
"I fell away from the faith. I was constantly pulled in two different directions-following my dreams as a broadcaster versus practicing my faith. I became very worldly and almost lost my husband and my soul in the process," Tomeo said.
After being fired from her job at a local television station, Tomeo went through a "spiritual and heart journey." She realized that her career aspirations and her material possessions were not keys to her happiness. "Everyone must be humbled to be exalted and that idea is in opposition to the world today. Why is it OK for Mary and Jesus to humble themselves before the Lord, but we say no, 'it is all about me.'"
Tomeo left the secular news business and has been in Catholic media for five years. Today, her daily morning radio program "Catholic Connection" is heard on over 120 Catholic stations through EWTN Global Catholic Radio. Last year, she published "Noise: How Our Media Saturated Culture Dominates Lives and Dismantles Families."
The misconception that the Catholic Church subjugates and is unfair to women is an issue Tomeo is passionate about debunking. "Jesus is the one that raised women up and broke cultural norms. There is such richness in the Church's teaching. Saying the Church is outdated is a lie of the secular media. The Catholic Church is the truth from God and it is not going anywhere because Christ said so," she declared.
While reconnecting with her faith, Tomeo became critical of the messages being sent through today's media. The feminist movement, she believes, has made progress for women, but also introduced several lies and misconceptions.