Diocesan women meet; discuss leadership, service Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Jane Lepeska Grinde, Catholic Herald Correspondent   
Thursday, Jun. 29, 2017 -- 12:00 AM
mdccw m&ms

Members of the “M&Ms of Council” team appeared at the Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (MDCCW) annual convention held in Fort Atkinson on June 14. The group used the M&M theme to talk about mentoring other women and encouraging them to become active in the CCW councils in their own parishes. Pictured are, front, from left: Carol Brennan and Julie Ottoman, back, from left: Donna Schroeder, Jane Munro, Mary Stasek, and Louise Urmanski.(Catholic Herald photo/Fr. Peter Auer)

FORT ATKINSON -- With the theme of “Rise, Let Us Be on Our Way,” Co-Presidents Ellen Martin, Westfield, and Sue Koch, Berlin, opened the 63rd annual convention of the Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (MDCCW) at St. Joseph Parish Hall here on June 14.

Interrupting their welcome, President-Elect Bernadette Shaefer, Lancaster, came running in with other MDCCW leaders and led a cheer which she wrote for the convention: “Here’s to the women we hold dear. We all come together year after year. Sharing ideas too many to mention. We learn and laugh at our annual convention . . .”

The fun mixed with the seriousness continued throughout the day.

In his opening comments, Msgr. Duane Moellenberndt, pastor of Sacred Hearts Parish, Sun Prairie, and MDCCW spiritual advisor, gave thanks for the women of the council who provide services to the diocese.

“One of the tasks of this council is to help us support one another on our journey of faith. So, first of all, we are helping each other and then, second, we are working through the Catholic Church to share the Good News of the Gospel message of Jesus with others of our own faith and far beyond the borders of Catholicism . . . how blessed we are to be able to share in the ministry of the Lord which He has entrusted us.”

Invoking the convention theme, he said, “Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way” to a great day.

Dorene Shuda, Jefferson, co-chair of the convention with Michele Simonson and Linda Rosiejka, welcomed attendees on behalf of the CCW members of the Jefferson and Rock/Green Vicariates. A past MDCCW president, Shuda said, “This has been my faith lift for the past 50 years!”

New attendees welcomed

As she announced the attendance, Shuda said, “We are blessed by the gift of your presence.”

One-third of the 159 registrants identified as first-time attendees. Forty-seven parishes were represented, and five registered as individuals.

As is the tradition, the youngest, first-time attendee received the Alice Krystofiak Award. Carol Brennan, Berlin, Milwaukee Province director-elect, presented a Madonna statue, compliments of Joan Slate, to Kathy Jackson, a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Jefferson. Krystofiak was a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Princeton, and collected Madonna statues and was a “firm believer in Catholic women,” said Brennan.

Shuda said the collection at the day’s Mass would go to Golden House, a domestic abuse shelter in Green Bay, and also a favorite charity of the keynote speaker Fr. John Tourangeau. O. Praem. Silent auction proceeds were given to MDCCW, and the raffles proceeds went to the Vocations Purse Club to support women in the Religious life, and to Clarity Clinic of Southwestern Wisconsin.

MDCCW vicariates

Co-Presidents Ellen Martin and Sue Koch, the “dynamic duo,” introduced the board and presidents of the active MDCCW vicariates: Jan Block, Grant; Coreen Marklein, Sauk; Linda Ripp, West Dane; and in absentia Mona Matijevich, Columbia North. While Jefferson and Rock/Green vicariates hosted the convention and have officers, they currently have no presidents. East Dane, Lafayette, and Madison had representatives at the convention but do not have active councils.

Koch and Martin offered their help in filling officer positions in each of the vicariates.

Sharing their enthusiasm for MDCCW, Martin and Koch reported on some of the resources available to promote membership including an elevator card with the saying “MDCCW is the ‘voice of Catholic Women, Champions of Community Concern at the local, national, and international levels, and Women of Prayer, Action, and Education. We are sowers of hope! We are stronger together.’”

MDCCW also has T-shirts and pens available, Koch said. “We take suggestions. This is just a start. Be proud of who you are. Wear your shirts at parish events,” she said.

Day’s events

Treasurer Kathy Loy, Fennimore, reported that donations from councils yielded $16,933.36 and supported the following organizations: Donkey Project, Water for Life, Madonna Plan, Refugee Women Emergency Fund, Cross Catholic Outreach, and Help a Child Global, Africa, Latin America, and India.

Following the business meeting, the women heard Father Tourangeau, speak and they attended Mass concelebrated by Monsignor Moellenberndt, Father Tourangeau, host pastor Fr. Peter Auer, and other priests.

In his homily, Father Tourangeau reflected on the Gospel reading from Matthew 5:17-19.

“As we just heard in the Gospel, ‘do not think that I have come to abolish the law. I have come not to abolish the law but to fulfill it.’

“I have spent the better part of my life and ministry trying to live the letter of the law. You see we like the law. The law at least initially helps us to know how to live life,” he said.

“Ultimately, law is not black and white as much as we would like it to be. My mother taught me that law is important and good, but much of life is lived in grey matter, in the midst of uncertainly and grounded in the mystery of God.

“What does living the spirit of the law look like for us? The letter of the law is restricting. It brings death. Spirit of the law brings freedom and life.”

Father Tourangeau said Pope Francis helps us to understand what the spirit of the law might look like in our lives today when he says the way of the Church is to not condemn anyone forever. “Pour out the balm of mercy to all who ask for it in a sincere heart.”

The women also joined together to recite the Rosary.

A leadership shareshop followed and the day ended with raffle drawing and a closing prayer.

Next year’s convention will be hosted by the Grant and Lafayette Vicariates.

An article on the leadership shareshop will be included in a future Catholic Herald edition.

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