Diocesan News

Sunday set aside to honor, celebrate women

Celebrate LDCCW Sunday, Oct. 25!
Each year, on the last Sunday of October, every parish in the Lincoln Diocese is asked to recognize the women of the parish for their corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  Monsignor Clarence J. Riordan, who served as spiritual moderator for the LDCCW 1937-1978, best described the importance of the Council when he said: “They and their work will not be forgotten... especially by God whom they serve first and foremost.”

The Lincoln Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (LDCCW), under the direction of the bishop, performs the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. The Council was founded in 1932 by Bishop Louis B. Kucera in an effort to unite all Catholic women in the diocese and help provide for the spiritual and physical needs of others through prayer and action. The LDCCW encompasses 130 parishes and more than 23,000 Catholic women within 13 deaneries (regions) south of the Platte River. Most of the programs and projects of the LDCCW are overseen by one of three commissions: Spirituality Commission, Service Commission and Leadership Commission.


Story from Judy Weston, leadership chair,
Lincoln Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (LDCCW)

“In small parishes, especially in parishes that don’t have a full-time resident priest, the Altar Society becomes all the more indispensable,” said Father Joseph Faulkner, pastor of St. Ann Parish in Doniphan and Sacred Heart in Kenesaw.

“Not only do they keep up the Church physical,” he said, “but they keep the blood flowing in the Church spiritual and the Church social.”

What draws women to become active in the Altar Society? We the LDCCW would like to introduce you to three women from across the Diocese who have said “Yes” to serving the Church through the work they do in their Altar Society or PCCW (Parish Council of Catholic Women). 

Mikayla Hurt of Kenesaw
When asked why she became involved in Altar Society, Mikayla Hurt, 30, said, “that the previous lady in charge nominated me, before she moved out of town!”

But Mikayla wanted to meet people and become more involved. She wanted to strengthen her relationship with God. Mikayla is the wife of Matthew Hurt and the mother of two preschoolers; they belong to Sacred Heart Parish in Kenesaw.

Mikayla has been active in her Altar Society for the past five years, serving as the secretary, treasurer and president. She wanted her parish to become more active in the Hastings Deanery and has taken the steps to serve on that level, as well. She said she wanted to serve in order to strengthen her involvement, meet new people and gather new ideas. Mikayla said she feels it’s important to have an active Altar Society to help celebrate with the parish, and be involved in the community.

She was asked what would she say to someone who said they were too busy to be in Altar Society or PCCW.

Mikayla replied, “Start with an hour the first week in giving your time. You’d be surprised in what you can squeeze in a week, let alone a month.”

Kathy Broz of Hayes Center
When Kathy Broz, 63, was asked why she became involved in her Altar Society, she replied that her country Church is a small parish of only about 25 families, and “everyone needs to belong and do their part to help the Church.”

She went on to say she enjoys working with the other women in the Church. Kathy and her husband Jim live near Hayes Center and belong to Sacred Heart Parish, a mission parish of St. Patrick of McCook. They have four grown sons and eight grandchildren.

Kathy has been active in the Altar Society for the past 43 years, serving as chair of the Family Life Commission, Spirituality Commission, secretary, treasurer and president. She has also served as secretary and president of the Indianola Deanery, vice president and president of the LDCCW and as ‘Omaha Province Director’ of the National Council of Catholic Women in 2010-12.

Kathy explained that while she was serving as Altar Society president, she was supposed to attend the deanery meetings.She found them interesting and enjoyed getting to know the women, and became more involved in projects and programs. Then, when serving as deanery president, it was part of the job description to attend the diocesan meetings.

“One thing led to another,” she said, “and before I knew it I was enjoying the new friendships and becoming more active on the diocesan level.” She said she enjoyed working with women from across the diocese on different projects, but especially for Catholic Social Services (CSS).

“When someone tells me they are too busy and don’t have time for Altar Society,” Kathy said,  “I understand that everyone handles different levels of ‘busy.’ So I would just ask if they don’t have time to attend meetings, would they be able to help with preparing food or some other needed item for a project.”

Fran Pachta of Bellwood
When Fran Pachta was asked how she became involved in her parish Altar Society, she said, “My mother always was, and so I just followed suit.” 

She added that she liked to see things done for the poor, like CSS projects. She said she enjoys seeing women come together and make things worthwhile for everyone in the parish.

Fran, 72, and her husband John live in Bellwood and attend St. Peter Parish. They have five grown children and 12 grandchildren.

Fran has been active in the Altar Society for 50 years. She has served her Altar Society as president, vice president and secretary – twice each – and as treasurer once.  She has been Family Commission chair on the Parish level for 25 years, the deanery level 20 years and the Legislative Commission chair on the diocesan level for five years.

“It’s just good to get involved with the ladies and do things that make you feel good about helping someone less fortunate,” she said.

Fran said she feels the Altar Society is important to help the priest with a lot of things that need to be done in the parish, the collection of items and help keep everything running smoothly. Fran explained that the LDCCW is important, because “that’s where we need to get our information to pass on to the parish.”

Fran said that if someone tells her they are too busy and don’t have time for Altar Society, she says, “I don’t take no for an answer.

“When I was raising my five little ones, I hired a babysitter so I could go to the meetings or to work at a function. Come on,”  she continued, “you can’t give one hour a month for a meeting?”

What about you?
What would it take to draw you to become an active member of your Altar Society/PCCW? Do you enjoy forming new friendships? Helping someone less fortunate than you? Standing up for the unborn? Maybe you want to become more active in spirituality programs like Divine Mercy Sunday, the Adopt-a-Priest project, or Lenten devotions. Your Altar Society/PCCW can put you in touch with any of these projects and programs.

Don’t be afraid to say “yes,” you are being called to be a member.

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