Benefits of NCCW affiliation

By Mary Ann Ruether

The National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) board meeting that took place Jan. 23-24 at the Washington Retreat House in Washington, D.C., was sandwiched between two marches – the Women’s March and the March for Life.

What a contrast between the two! One marched for the right to safe, legal and affordable birth control and abortion, while the other marched for the right to life for the unborn. The fact that pro-lifers were not welcome at the Women’s March did not deter them from showing up in force.

When the NCCW board gathers for a meeting, it provides the opportunity for members to participate in a time of fellowship and spirituality, while attending to NCCW business. Following are a few highlights from the recent board meeting.

The 2017 annual convention will be held Sept. 6-9 in Dallas, Texas, at the Hilton Anatole where “97 Years Living the Joy of the Gospel” will be celebrated. Due to elimination of the welcome reception at the convention, the early bird convention registration has been lowered to $300.

More research will be undertaken on ways to attract the millennials and the Hispanic/Latino population.  NCCW feels this is a critical issue to increase membership.

The slate for election to the offices of president-elect and secretary was presented by the nominating committee. Nominee for president-elect is Jean Kelley, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, while Bev McCarvel, Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis and Teresa Sarzynski, Diocese of Amarillo are nominees for secretary. Voting takes place May 1-22 and is done electronically. Requirements for voting eligibility are: individual dues be current and affiliate presidents must be on record 60 days prior to the election.

For organizations, such as NCCW, to exist as a vibrant and effective entity, they must have members who provide support through their dues, donations and involvement.

I ask each of you to give prayerful consideration to being a new NCCW member or by renewing your membership. Dues have been reduced to $50 per year which is less than $5 per month.

Professionals, such as teachers, nurses, accountants, lawyers and others wouldn’t entertain the idea of not holding membership in the national organization of their profession. As Catholic women, it should make perfect sense that we would not think twice about being a member in the national organization for Catholic women.

I am available to assist anyone interested in becoming a NCCW member or with any questions. I can be reached at (712) 540-9290 or

As a project for and during the Year of Mercy, NCCW has documented to date more than 2 million Works of Mercy. The executive board will present this – as a framed certificate – to Pope Francis between March 28 and April 7, while on the NCCW pilgrimage to Rome.

Before departing the recent board meeting, I had the privilege to be the recipient of several acts of mercy. On Tuesday evening shortly after the meeting was adjourned, I received word that a dear friend of mine was fatally injured in a weather-related car accident.

As word circulated among board members, NCCW President Shelia Hopkins approached me and extended her sympathy. Later on she inquired as to the name of my friend and informed me that night prayer would be for her intention.

When night prayer concluded, many of the board members gathered around me to comfort me. Through these acts of mercy by this wonderful group of amazing women, I knew for sure – on that Tuesday night – I was exactly where God wanted me to be when I received the news of my dear friend’s unexpected death.

May we – as women and sisters in Christ – use our time, talent and treasure to support NCCW. May God touch each of us as we shower works of mercy on our families, parishes, schools, neighborhoods, work places and communities.

Mary Ann Ruether of Le Mars is NCCW Province Director for the Province of Dubuque.

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