||Officers of the Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women stand by the tapestry of Our Lady of Good Counsel at the MDCCW convention in Johnson Creek in mid-June. (Photo by Kathy Loy)
JOHNSON CREEK -- Women from across the diocese came together in mid-June on the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua for the annual convention of the Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (MDCCW). Hosted by the Jefferson Deanery, MDCCW President Carol Brennan, Berlin, presided at the event.
Msgr. Duane Moellenberndt, MDCCW spiritual advisor and pastor of Sacred Hearts Parish, Sun Prairie, installed the officers. They are Coreen S. Marklein, St. Joseph Parish, Baraboo, president; Rosa Ropers, St. John the Baptist, Waunakee, president-elect; Carol Rogers, St. Mary, Fennimore, secretary; and Barb Agasie, St. Henry, Watertown, treasurer.
The installation followed Mass with Msgr. James Bartylla, vicar general, as the celebrant, and Monsignor Moellenberndt, Frs. Tom Coyle, Lorin Bowens, John Urban, and Dominic Roscioli as concelebrants.
Recognizing the feast day, Monsignor Bartylla said St. Anthony was a great preacher. “Thirty years after his death, while his body was reduced to dust, his tongue was intact. Why do I bring that up?” asked Monsignor Bartylla. “I am not so much interested in that extraordinary stuff, but St. Anthony lived day-to-day holiness.”
Tying St. Anthony’s life into the convention theme of “Love in Action,” he cited Blessed Mother Teresa as another example of love in quiet action. “As we celebrate Eucharist, let us ask God to help us live a life of quiet action. Live ordinary lives and be great saints.”
Ripples in the pond
Earlier Monsignor Moellenberndt talked about the ripples in a pond. “As a child with my grandfather, I watched the circles created by the stone and thought of myself as a stone. Remember, you are responsible for what you put in your circle. The splash that comes from anger and jealousy goes to others.
“Each person creates the inner peace or discourse that flows out to the world. Think about what we are putting in our circle each day that are touching other circles. Jesus put forgiveness in his circle.
“What do you need to prevent negativity in your circle? We change the lives of those around us, either negativity or positively. Our world doesn’t need any more negativity. Peace, love, and goodness are what our world so desperately needs. If we don’t put goodness in our circle, following in the footsteps of Jesus, who will?”
Monsignor Moellenberndt suggested that through its theme, the convention “gives us the opportunity to put even more positive attitude out in our parish.” He reminded the women that “Jesus will give us all the help needed to carry the good news to our brothers and sisters. The more we are in tune with the Lord, the closer we are to him, the more we know the peace He speaks in the Gospel, the more successfully we carry the good news.”
Outgoing President Carol Brennan said the convention is an “opportunity to come together as sisters in faith to be fed spiritually, intellectually, and socially.”
The diocesan council, she said, promotes the mission of the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) to “educate Catholic women in spirituality, leadership, and service and to promote their programs, especially the Campaign for Human Dignity and continue to support our priests, seminarians, and various local programs.”
Brennan said the national council gives direction for programs and is “the voice for those women who have no voice.” She explained that NCCW is made up of provinces. The Madison council is a member of the Milwaukee province, which includes all five dioceses in Wisconsin. Each diocese has deaneries with their own officers that come from the parishes. “It is you at the deanery and parish levels that actually do the work,” she said.
“We are facing some challenges,” continued Brennan. At the diocesan level, she noted a decrease in the active deaneries, partly due to parish mergers and aging of women. The diocese is working on a plan to restructure the deaneries, which will be used by MDCCW to revitalize the deaneries.
Brennan said, “Probably the biggest issue is the political issues that are challenging and going against our Catholic faith.” She encouraged the women to read the handout on Catholic Social Teachings available at the convention.
She reminded the convention goers that they also serve the priests of the diocese, including by offering the hospitality for the ordination of priests.
Quoting St. Teresa of Avila, Brennan said, “Christ has no hands but ours, no feet but ours, no heart but ours — so let us go and continue to be the hands, feet, and heart of Christ to others.”
Milwaukee Province Director Jeanette Knauf-Masanz, Wausau, shared information about the role of NCCW and its current financial challenges. “NCCW is that strong voice on behalf of women, children, immigrants, and the downtrodden. However, this organization is finding itself struggling to survive.”
To help balance the budget, the board voted to raise individual membership dues to $75 and supporting individual membership to $100 per year.”
The NCCW annual convention is September 19 to 22 in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with the theme of “Be the Voice of Catholic Women.”
Mary Acketz, St. John the Baptist in Jefferson, received the Alice Krystofiak Award, given to the youngest first-time attendee at the convention. Krystofiak’s family provides a statute of the Madonna in memory of Alice who was very involved in MDCCW.
Linda Rosiejka and Dorene Shuda, both from St. John the Baptist Parish in Jefferson, co-chaired the convention for the Jefferson Deanery. Theresa Rueth, Jefferson Deanery President, welcomed participants. Next year, Grant Deanery will host the convention.
For more information on the Madison Council go to http://mdccw.com