NCCW President’s Message

Maribeth Stewart Blogoslawski

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I’ve just returned from our Board meeting in Washington, DC where we worked very hard and also found time to participate in the March For Life, an annual event for our NCCW.  Our Board heard reports from all our officers, our Commissions, and Committees and all present provided a summary of what they have been doing and what they plan for their provinces. We were fortunate to have our Executive Director, Andrea, with us throughout and to hear her report concerning our office.  We also spent an entire day working on our Commissions.  At the end of that day, we gathered to hear the progress made by each Commission. It was so heartening to learn how dedicated our Board members are to our Mission and to hear how much they accomplished as they worked on the various programs and resources. We are so blessed to have such talented and dedicated women from around the nation working so diligently for our NCCW. We were also fortunate to have the Chair of the Spiritual Advisors, Father Rick Dawson, say Mass each day at the Washington Retreat House where we stayed and where we enjoyed the gracious and loving hospitality of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.  While in D.C., the Executive Committee was honored to be invited to a Leadership Pro-Life Mass at the very beautiful Franciscan Monastery. Cardinal DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was the principal celebrant at this Mass and charged us to ensure the dignity of life at all its stages. The same evening, several Board members and the Executive Committee attended the Pro-Life Opening Mass at the magnificent Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York and Chair of the USCCB’s pro-life committee, was the principal celebrant and Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, in his welcome, announced the presence of our National Council of Catholic Women at the Mass! How proud we were to be there representing all our members who have always believed in and who work so hard to ensure the right to life through all stages from conception to natural death. The next day, we joined with hundreds of thousands in the March for Life carrying our beautiful NCCW banner. For some time, we were fortunate to be next to the delegation of seminarians from Mundelein (IL) who led us in a recitation of the Holy Rosary as we walked.  In all, the long weekend was exhausting, exhilarating, peaceful, fruitful, spiritually enriching, and a perfect opportunity and setting for our Board to get to know each other and to get a great deal of work done while having fun. Yes, there was ice cream!  Before I left DC, I had two meetings: The first with the National Catholic Educator’s Association where Andrea, Laraine (our editor and communications manager), and I discussed with their leadership ways in which we could partner to promote our NCCW and Catholic education. Next, Andrea and I met with the Executive Director of the Catholic Climate Covenant.  Both meetings were enriching and mutually beneficial. After stopping to do some bank paperwork for the NCCW, I was pleased to have the chance to drop into our office to see our staff. It is always lovely to have the opportunity to visit with Bernadette, Laraine, Andrea, and Rosemary. We have such talented and wonderful women in our office who are so dedicated to our NCCW. You may notice that I did not mention our bookkeeper. In the course of contracting with a new accounting firm, I very sadly realized the redundancy of having a bookkeeper and after much reflection and prayer, made the decision to end our contract with her.  In other changes, the implementation of our new database and design of our new website progresses well. So, we have had some significant changes in our NCCW office since Convention, but they will result in greater efficiency, accuracy, and substantial cost savings.  Throughout, our staff has been professional, understanding, and dedicated, and I know you join me in being so very proud of them and what they accomplish for us.  I look forward to representing our NCCW at the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, D.C. in early February. In addition to attending the sessions, we shall also have an exhibit table there staffed by Andrea.  Again, I am sending you a reminder to consider joining us on the NCCW Pilgrimage to Ireland which will be filled with beauty, fun, ancient and modern spiritual sites, and the camaraderie of our Council sisters. Please note that the Pilgrimage is open to men, as well.  I believe we shall soon see the document being prepared by our Education Committee for our formation that will help us to study and implement the richness of Evangelii Gaudium in our lives.  This would be a wonderful way to help us through our Lenten journey.  I wish each of you a most fruitful Lent and ask Our Lady of Good Counsel to bless each of you, your families, and our National Council of Catholic Women. —Maribeth

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