A group of dedicated Catholic women has answered the call of Christ as they imitate Him in how they live their lives each day.
These women are represented by the Venice Diocese Council of Catholic Women (VDCCW) serving as an example of a heartfelt commitment to serve the Church while dedicating themselves to being open to the Holy Spirit.
Each year members gather for a convention with the goal of unifying their efforts to do the most good for the benefit of all. With a theme of “Serving the Lord with Love and Joy through the Holy Spirit,” the 36th annual Convention took place April 23, 2022, at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Avon Park.
A central part of the gathering was the women participating in a celebration of the Mass which was celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. Several priests concelebrated the Mass including Father Janusz “Jay” Jancarz, who is the VDCCW Spiritual Advisor and Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice, as well as Father Ronnie Sisson, Pastor of Our Lady of Grace, Father Vincent Clemente, Pastor of St. James Parish in Lake Placid, and Father Oscar Mendoza Moya, Administrator of St. Michael Parish in Wauchula.
Bishop Dewane praised the VDCCW for coming together and giving witness to the Faith by how they are believers and followers of Jesus Christ who are called forth to reach out to others.
“As a group of believers, the CCW comes together bringing a strength to the Church,” Bishop Dewane said. “As we continue to celebrate the joy of the Resurrection of Our Lord, you women stand up in joyful response by answering the call of the Lord in your life and are that example for others to follow.”
The Bishop specifically thanked the members of the VDCCW for the important role the ladies play in the Diocese and in the Parishes.
VDCCW acts through its membership to support, empower, and educate all Catholic women in spirituality, leadership and service. Council programs exude Gospel values and serve the needs of the Church and society in the modern world. To exemplify this, the VDCCW is a strong supporter of the Diocesan seminarians and again presented a check to Bishop Dewane for the Diocesan Seminarian Fund.
VDCCW President Josephine Weiss said the Convention serves to unify and inspire the members as they work throughout the year in support of the Catholic Church at the Parish, Diocese and national levels. Weiss also noted that the CCW has recently added a new chapter at Holy Cross Parish in Palmetto and is excited that there will be additional new Parish groups forming in the coming months.
The women also learned about a variety of topics including a presentation about human trafficking from representatives of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice, Inc., who work with victims each day. The VDCCW presented a check to Catholic Charities from the Hugs for Homeless Fund for use to help the victims of human trafficking.
The afternoon keynote was presented by Tessie O’Day, Relationship Development Manager for Cross Catholic Outreach, on the work of her organization as it works to provide support (including food, water and shelter) for the needy around the world. The organization has recently focused much of its effort supporting refugees from the war in the Ukraine, which is being coordinated through the Vatican. O’Dea also spoke about the continuing success of the Boxes of Joy program which include toys, clothing, school supplies, a rosary and the story of Jesus. Jeanne Berdeaux, Diocese of Venice Respect Life Director, was presented with the VDCCW Our Lady of Good Counsel Award, which goes to recipients for their lengthy service in support of the CCW.
Among those present for the Convention were members of the VDCCW Juniors from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula. The Juniors also presented a Parade of Flags, which included presentations and traditional dress of eight different Latin American countries, all concluding with a dance program.