SAUK CITY -- The St. Aloysius Parish girls' and women's group Philothea is celebrating its second "birthday" this year, and women of all ages are invited to celebrate with them at their Third Annual Grandmother, Mother, Daughter Bingo Night on Saturday, May 9, beginning at 5:30 p.m. (after the 4:30 p.m. Mass) in the school gym.
The group Philothea, a feminine version of the Greek word for "lover of God", was formed in 2006 after the parish resumed the tradition of only boys serving at Mass. It is open to girls in grades three through 12 and any adult women of the parish. Group members focus on three pillars -- devotion, service, and sisterhood -- and its core group of organizers, the High School Leadership Team, helps to plan retreats, events, and service projects.
Events throughout the past three years have included retreats, a "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" day for the younger members and a regular Eucharistic Adoration hour. An upcoming event is expected to be a picnic at Indian Lake Park and a hike to the park's historic little chapel.
It's important to have a group that focuses on girls, and women's role in the Church, said Sarah Ramthun, director of religious education and director of youth ministry at the parish. "I think it's vital to what we do -- particularly the idea of sisterhood."
Within the group, the idea of sisterhood is important: as members become more involved with the group, they become members of "families," each with the name of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Especially as the girls go into higher grades at school, it is helpful to know older girls who will help them adjust and stay involved, Ramthun said.
"It's so important for the younger girls to see the middle and high school girls active," she said. "It encourages them to get involved and active when they see . . . these are real people who do this."