Registration began first thing Saturday morning at 7:30am followed by a continental breakfast and a beautiful opening prayer service at the Sheraton in downtown Salt Lake City. The meeting or general session started promptly at 9am with the president, Amy Kennedy welcoming everyone to the event. Amy seems to have it all together because she didn't miss a beat and was well versed in public speaking. Her welcome was followed by a talk from Rev. Msgr. Robert R. Servatius, who is the Spiritual Adviser for the DCCW board. Although very informative, he has a sense of humor and had the ladies laughing quite a lot, including myself.
Judy Powers, president of the NCCW, was one of the speakers. She spoke of religious discrimination, the altering church structure, religious liberties, information from the USCCB and child slavery in the United States. Prior to this last weekend, I did not know who or what the NCCW is and this is what I found according to: http://home.catholicweb.com/NCCW/index.cfm/about
The National Council of Catholic Women consists of more than 3,000 affiliated Catholic women's organizations in parishes and dioceses throughout the U.S., representing hundreds of thousands of Catholic women, and almost 3,000 individual Catholic women.
- We are Catholic women who hold Individual Membership with NCCW.
- The NCCW is a member of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations (WUCWO).
- We are recognized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
- We are active participants in partnerships with other Catholic groups.
- A voice for American Catholic women today
- Transforms the world through prayer and action
- Unites more than 3,000 affiliated Catholic women's groups, and nearly 3,000 individual Catholic women in the United States
- Supports social action through Gospel values
- Trains Catholic women to become leaders at the intersection of Church and society
- Provides a forum for Catholic women to speak and act on matters of mutual interest
- Represents U.S. Catholic women in the national and international arenas
Followed by Judy Powers speaking was an elderly lady from what used to be East Germany. She spoke of her childhood and what she was a witness too. Then she spoke of when she arrived in America and was given $50 from the DCCW and didn't know what they were until much later in her life. She then became a member of the same organization that helped her. It was a beautiful story of paying it forward.
Later on in the day there were four ladies in in a panel who shared their stories of Catholicism in their lives. Their stories were passionate, historical, happy, sad and sometime humerus, but all unique. I felt honored to have heard each of their stories and to know the ladies a little bit better. Their talk was followed by a meal, centerpiece drawing and a spirituality talk, more amazing guest speakers, a rosary and then a mass at the Cathedral of the Madeleine before the evening banquet.
There are plenty of breaks throughout the days events which made it easy to sit for a long period. The timetable allowed for plenty of time to use restrooms, get up and stretch and mingle. The Sheraton provided incredible table service and we did not go without beverages and the food was fantastic. If you happen to have special dietary needs, they accommodate, as they did with a few of those in attendance. There is no need to bring extra food, because there was plenty to eat.
The evening banquet is to honor the Women of the Year that are nominated at each church throughout the diocese. The presiders were Bishop John C. Wester and Msgr. Robert Servatius. Each Woman of the Year is given a corsage upon check-in to the convention and wears it the duration, as a badge of honor. They are also called up to shake hands with the bishop and monsignor for a thank you and photo. While they are walking up individually, a letter is read describing all they've accomplished to become their parish's Woman of the Year. I must say, after a few of these letters, it's rather humbling to think all the years and hours these woman have worked and how they have changed their church for the better. If you don't think woman do much, then you must come to this banquet to see and listen, for it's a testament to stewardship.
It's hard not to leave this convention without a special sense of sisterhood, spirituality, awareness, understanding and love. Thanks to the DCCW board and the hostesses who were the Northern Deanery, the convention was a huge success. For information regarding the DCCW: http://home.catholicweb.com/slcdccw/