Convention postponed until 2021 for women Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Jane Lepeska Grinde, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, May. 07, 2020 -- 12:00 AM
MDCCW Officers
MDCCW officers to be elected this year include, from left: Judy Lyons, president-elect, succeeds Bernadette Schaefer as MDCCW president; Katie Crosby continues as treasurer; and Linda Ripp is a candidate for president-elect. This year’s election will take place virtually as will the installation of officers by Msgr. Duane Moellenberndt, MDCCW spiritual advisor, left.
(Jane Lepeska Grinde photo)

MADISON -- "Five years ago, at the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) Convention in Orlando, it became my dream to celebrate the 100th anniversary of NCCW at our diocesan convention in 2020," said Bernadette Schaefer, Lancaster, who is in her final year as president of the Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (MDCCW).

"Now, instead," she wrote in the MDCCW newsletter, "I have to announce that our convention and celebration have been cancelled."

With concerns about the health and safety of its members during this pandemic, the MDCCW board voted by email to cancel the annual convention scheduled for June 13 in Cross Plains. The board will meet virtually May 16 to elect officers and conduct other business which is allowed during times of crisis.

Much accomplished

The June convention was to be the 66th annual convention. During those 66 years, area Catholic women have participated in countless activities at their parish, vicariate, and diocesan levels.

Add 34 years to that for the 100 years of organized activities of the NCCW, and the result is countless charitable projects in this country and internationally, said Schaefer.

NCCW projects have supported seminarians, priests, and Religious. They have sponsored and supported projects in struggling countries; addressed victims of domestic abuse and sex trafficking through prevention efforts; helped and encouraged pregnant women; and promoted environmental stewardship.

At the parish level, Catholic women have honored First Communicants, altar servers, and high school graduates both spiritually and physically.

The list of good deeds and prayers of the Catholic women is long, said Schaefer.

"If we had a way of tracking all the work done and all the people uplifted by the national council and diocesan councils, we would be astonished! For 100 years, this work in the Lord's vineyard has continued in dioceses and parishes throughout the country and abroad," said Schaefer.

Planning by West Dane Vicariate

Planning the MDCCW celebration at the convention began last year by West Dane Vicariate CCW President Rosa Ropers, St. John the Baptist, Waunakee, with co-chairs Joan Pregler, St. Peter, Ashton; and Ann Wagner, St. Francis Xavier, Cross Plains.

Ropers, a past MDCCW president, said last fall parishes and individual members within the vicariate were invited to participate in the planning, and "many were very generous with their sharing of their time and talents."

The co-chairs want to especially thank the committee chairs: Kelly Huntington, St. Peter, Ashton; Sue Barker, St. Christopher, Verona; Alice Banier, Linda Ripp, and Becky Frederick, St. Martin of Tours, Martinsville; Laura Petranek Arneson, St. Mary, Pine Bluff; and Barbara Unger and Kathy Wall, Catholic Woman's Club.

Scheduled to be held at St. Francis Xavier Church, Cross Plains, the committee had invited an acclaimed international Catholic musician, spiritual writer, and the bishop to be on the program.

Ropers said the bishop will be invited to speak at next year's convention and possibly the other two as well. Regardless, the websites of the speakers can provide spiritual nourishment to the faithful, she said. The speakers include:

• Anna Nuzzo, an acclaimed international Catholic singer, songwriter, and recording artist, was scheduled to provide music throughout the day starting during registration. Her website is

• Catholic spiritual writer Jeannie Ewing was set to speak on "Joyful Celebrations," following the business meeting. In her work, she focuses on the topics of grief, redemptive suffering, and waiting. Her website is

• Bishop Donald Hying was chosen to deliver the keynote speech, celebrate Mass, and deliver the homily. The bishop provides frequent inspirational messages, accessible through the diocesan website ( and Facebook page.

The committee looks forward to 2021 when the convention will take place again, said Ropers, "when we can celebrate all the good that has been done and acknowledge all that still needs to be done while honoring our Lord."

Officers to be elected at virtual board meeting

President Bernadette Schaefer will convene the MDCCW board virtually on May 16 to elect the officers of president-elect and secretary and conduct other business.

Linda Ripp is a candidate for president-elect, and Carol Brennan is a candidate for secretary. Nominations will also be accepted at the teleconference.

President-elect Judy Lyons moves up to president, and Katie Crosby, Lancaster, elected last year for a two-year term as treasurer, will continue for another year.

Judy Lyons, incoming president

After serving a two-year term as president-elect, Judy Lyons will be installed as president at the MDCCW board meeting. A member of St. Joseph Parish, Fort Atkinson, she also serves as Jefferson Vicariate CCW president.

Lyons moved four years ago from the Diocese of Superior to Fort Atkinson, where two of her daughters live. She and her husband had been active members of Cathedral of Christ the King Parish, Superior, where they were RCIA leaders.

A retired librarian, Lyons served as a trainer for liturgical ministers, taught preschool Sunday school, and worked for the parish as director of ministries and other assorted jobs.

Linda Ripp, president-elect nominee

A life-long member of St Martin of Tours Parish, Martinsville, Ripp has been active with CCW for over 30 years. She served as president and secretary at the parish level and as West Dane president. She currently is MDCCW secretary and West Dane Vicariate leadership chair. She attended her first NCCW Convention in 2014 in Michigan and went to Indianapolis in 2016.

She and her husband are parents of two sons, one of whom passed away in his sleep of an undiagnosed heart condition in November 2018. Ripp is a preschool teacher in Middleton.

Carol Brennan, secretary nominee

Most recently NCCW province director for Wisconsin, Brennan joined CCW 20 years ago when she moved to Berlin. She has served in positions at all levels of council, including Milwaukee Province director and MDCCW president.

A retired registered nurse, Carol and her husband John have two daughters and a son who are all married and have "blessed them with six grandchildren and one angel."

Msgr. Duane Moellenberndt, Sun Prairie, MDCCW spiritual advisor, will install the officers virtually at the May 16 meeting.

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