Diocesan women invited to attend annual MDCCW convention Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Jane Lespeska Grinde, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, May. 04, 2017 -- 12:00 AM
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Jefferson Vicariate Council of Catholic Women members, from left, Karen Vilwock, Dorene Shuda, and Barbara Seamandel, look forward to welcoming women to the annual Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (MDCCW) convention at St. Joseph Church in Fort Atkinson June 14. (Contributed photo)

FORT ATKINSON -- Women of the diocese are invited to attend the 63rd annual convention of the Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (MDCCW) to be held Wednesday, June 14, at St. Joseph Parish Hall and Church, 1660 Endl Blvd., here.

The Jefferson and Rock-Green Vicariates are hosting the one-day gathering, which begins with registration and continental breakfast at 8 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m. The day includes a keynote speaker, Mass, catered lunch, “shareshop,” patriotic Rosary, and silent auction.

Convention theme

The convention theme of “Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way” ties into the theme of Co-Presidents Ellen Martin and Suzanne Koch’s two-year term of service.

Taken from the title of a book by St. Pope John Paul II, “Rise, Let Us Be on Our Way” are the words spoken by Christ to his disciples, said the co-presidents. “We want you to feel God’s presence at our convention and take back to your parishes the best version of yourself . . . giving, loving, and living out your faith to everyone you meet.”

In their message in the Spring MDCCW Newsletter, Koch and Martin encourage attendance, saying, “All the Catholic women of our diocese are stronger together and our voices heard better across many topics including abortion, human trafficking, elder abuse, respite, and so much more. In these trying times, we need to join together to do great things. This convention will be a great start towards that end.”

Changes over the years

Past MDCCW President and long-time leader Dorene Shuda, Jefferson, co-chairs the convention with Alice Paul, Milton, along with the help of over 25 volunteers, including registrar Linda Rosiejka, another long-time active MDCCW member.

Over the years, Shuda has seen many changes in the convention. A key purpose has remained the same, she said, that of “passing on the ideas, ideals, and programs that the diocesan women have received from their trip to the NCCW convention.”

The first convention was held 62 years ago with hundreds of women attending. Even in the 1970s to the late ’90s, Shuda said, “Attendance was well over 200 with 30 to 40 priests concelebrating the Mass.”

For many years, the convention was held at the Bishop O’Connor Center in Madison and included a banquet with entertainment on the first day of the two-day event. With the changes made at the center, conventions are now held throughout the diocese hosted by vicariates -- previously referred to as deaneries -- on a rotating basis. The host vicariate picks the date, location, facility, food, registration, and decorations. The MDCCW Board sets the theme and agenda and invites the speaker who is approved by the bishop.

While MDCCW membership and meeting attendance are down from the earlier years, the gathering continues to be a time for “prayer and socializing, a time to network with our sisters in the diocese,” said Shuda. Daughters and nieces of some of the early members continue the legacy started in the 1950s.

Convention plans

The convention’s keynote speaker can always be counted on to provide inspiration, said Co-President Martin. This year is no exception with Fr. John Tourangeau, a nationally-known priest from St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere, speaking about his after-life experience following a heart attack. The author of To Heaven & Back: The Journey of a Roman Catholic Priest co-written with Travis Vanden Heuvel, he will also give the homily during the Mass scheduled at 11:30 a.m.

In the afternoon, Co-Presidents Martin and Koch will lead a “shareshop” entitled “We Are Called . . .” Koch said, “We want this session to be fun and practical.” Joining them will be Rosa Ropers, past MDCCW president and now chair of the Leadership Commission, and other MDCCW leaders.

The silent auction features themed baskets and gift certificates provided by individual members and parish councils. That, along with the raffle, which has tickets available now, funds MDCCW’s charitable giving.

A catered lunch is included in the registration fee of $35. The registration

form is on the website of Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, (

Women whose parishes have an affiliated MDCCW council register through their council and may receive support for their attendance. A lower rate is offered for first-time attendees.

Registration deadline is May 31. For registration questions, contact Linda Rosiejka at 920-674-5223 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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