Program helps families and parishes evangelize Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Jane Lepeska Grinde, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, May. 12, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

BERLIN -- The National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) has published a “We Are Called to Witness” program to provide ideas for implementing the New Evangelization in parishes and families.

Downloadable from the Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (MDCCW) website (, the program can be used throughout the year and includes ideas for religious holidays and family gatherings.

‘Amazing resource’

Parish leaders and staff can search topic areas on the website and take advantage of activities and prayers that work for their parishes. The resource is also available in Spanish. Bi-lingual study groups can use both editions since they follow the same format and pagination.

“NCCW has done it again! They have come up with another amazing resource,” said Carol Brennan, past president and current leadership chair of the MDCCW. “The ‘We Are Called to Witness’ program of the National Council of Catholic Women is designed to help parish communities discover and actively participate in sharing the Good News, the Joy of Jesus -- the New Evangelization. This resource recognizes that evangelization is meant to be a way of life, a long term.”

NCCW developed the program to bring the New Evangelization to the people in the pew, said Jane Carter, NCCW leadership chair.

The committee that created the resource, formed at the request of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), brought together women from all over the United States including two from Wisconsin: Jean Kelly from the Milwaukee Archdiocese and Diane Andraska from the La Crosse Diocese. They used information from the USCCB website as well as ideas gleaned from their own parishes and dioceses.

Nine sections

The nine sections of the document, each including an explanation, prayer, and ideas of how to put this information into action, are:

1. “Finding the Joy of Jesus in Yourself”

2. “Sharing the Joy of the Gospel with Other Catholics”

3. “Hospitality and Welcome”

4. “Hearts to Love and Hands to Serve”

5. “Holy Holidays”

6. “Reach out to Young Women in College and Beyond”

7. “Faith Sharing in everyday Life”

8. “Social Justice Shows God’s Love”

9. “Learning Never Ends”

Carter suggests five ways for parish Councils of Catholic Women to include parts of the program in their calendar of events: start an “Attitude and Gratitude Journal,” choose one of the prayers for daily quiet time, plan a special “Valentine Dinner” to celebrate marriage, choose one activity from the suggestions in “Stewardship of Creation,” and share the “Butterfly Tree” activity with children and/or grandchildren for Lent and Easter.

Putting it into action

Brennan said the program “calls on us to first deepen our own faith and grow spiritually. Hopefully we made progress on our Lenten journey. The next step is reaching out to others.”

She encourages CCW leaders to use the program for themselves as well as in their councils. “God wants to use us where we are, as we are -- imperfections and all. Jesus didn’t choose learned, perfect men for his disciples; instead he chose quite a motley crew, and look what he did with them!

“A big way to share Jesus and his love is by your actions. Listen to others, smile, give a kind word or compliment, do a small act of caring.”

In her parish of All Saints in Berlin, Brennan said she appreciated being given a “Gratitude and Attitude Journal” by fellow CCW member Sr. Jude Seaman.

“At times we have a lot of stress and challenges in our lives and then tend to focus on the negative which can be a real downer. However, if we just stop every day, think, and write down the good and positive things we are thankful for that day, our attitude shifts from “glass half empty” to “glass half full.”

Attend convention

She encourages women of the diocese to “come to our MDCCW convention June 7 to 8 at All Saints Church, Berlin.

“Every year we hold this event for you. We want you to come, grow spiritually, increase your knowledge, network, and bond with sisters of faith. Laugh and have fun, and, most of all be excited about being Catholic and Catholic women.”

Registration information is available

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