Diocesan Women HonoredAugust 04, 2007
Bishop Patrick R. Cooney has designated Sunday, August 12 as Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Day in the Diocese of Gaylord. The bishop has set aside the second Sunday in August each year to honor and recognize the good work that the women of the diocese complete—all of whom, through their parish affiliations, are members of this worthwhile organization.
The Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DCCW) was established in northern Michigan in1951 by Bishop Woznicki of the Diocese of Saginaw. The diocese was divided into four deaneries at that time: Saginaw, Bay, Bad Axe and Alpena. Each deanery had a president who was a member of the DCCW board. When the Diocese of Gaylord was established in 1972, then Bishop Edmund Szoka enacted an affiliation between the diocesan Council and the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW).
The NCCW is a federation of more than 5,000 Catholic women’s organizations representing several million Catholic women. It was founded in March, 1920 at a meeting of Catholic women convened by the U.S. bishops who had witnessed the important work done by various Catholic women's organizations during World War I. It was the bishops’ hope to fortify these organizations effect by uniting the groups, coordinating their efforts, and giving national scope to their work and influence. The meeting culminated with the creation of NCCW and a new manner of approaching problems with a national strength and determination.
The Council supports social action through gospel values and provides a forum for Catholic women to speak and act on matters of mutual interest. Among their many partnerships and programs are concerns about the environment, justice issues, outreach to mothers and children, pro-life, vocations, and works of peace and reconciliation.
The NCCW also serves as a channel for the exchange of information and service between the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and the laity in their common work for the Church. Its purpose is to bring about a better understanding and appreciation of Catholic principles and ideals in educational, social and civic life and to provide solutions and aid for various local, national and international problems. The NCCW is also extremely involved with legislative issues such as cloning, human trafficking, abortion and the protection of women and children.
On a local level, some parish groups support students’ college funds, provide funeral meals, purchase altar linens and vestments, distribute food baskets, visit hospitals and nursing homes and provide activities for raising parish building funds. For years the women have provided items for layettes to Catholic Human Services.
In an effort to support its membership with educational opportunities, leadership development and spiritual growth, the DCCW holds an annual convention each May. This year’s event, hosted in Gaylord, attracted nearly 200 women. The theme of the convention was, “Be a Lesson of Love” and several speakers provided thought-provoking messages on that topic.
The Gaylord DCCW also plans a yearly retreat and two Days of Recollection (spring and fall) which are held at the Augustine Center in Conway. These events are usually directed by one of the diocesan priests, whose role it is to share insights about timely topics and lead the women in prayer. As with all DCCW activities, every woman of the diocese is invited and encouraged to attend.
As part of the Province of Detroit, the local DCCW participates in a Provincial Convention, which is held every three years on a rotating basis in each of the dioceses throughout the state of Michigan, last held in Gaylord at Treetops in April, 2002. In addition, each year there is a national convention. All of these meetings are opportunities for women to gather, address issues, discuss projects, share information and ideas and pray together.
Bishop Cooney has designated August 12 as DCCW Day because he recognizes that the women of the diocese, through their volunteer spirit and service to others, are living Christ’s message to “feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sorrowful...” Their projects and programs respond “with gospel values to the needs of the church and society in the modern world.”
“It is most appropriate that we celebrate the ministry of our Catholic Women,” Bishop Cooney remarked. “I encourage each of our parishes to honor and thank them in some special way on DCCW Recognition Day.”