Becoming ‘sowers of hope’

And there are those who have received the seed in rich soil:  they hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.  Mark 4: 20

“Be the Voice of Catholic Women:  Sowers of Hope” was the selected theme for the 2015 Annual Convention of the National Council of Catholic Women held Sept. 9-12 held in Orlando, Fla. Members from the Diocese of Sioux City joined participants from throughout the nation to celebrate numerous Eucharistic Liturgies, Rosaries for Remembrance of Peace, Protection of Human Life and Religious Freedom, hear noted speakers and attend concurrent training sessions along with business meetings.

To capture the essence of the convention, the following comments were made:

CWDSC Diocesan Spiritual Advisor Father Jim Tigges shared the following:

“The 95th annual convention was underway with an energetic and faith-filled group of about 680 women and 45 priest/sister spiritual advisors in attendance. We were in for a grace-filled, spirit-led convention.

“The emphasis, from my perspective, was on “make a friend, be a friend, bring your friend to Christ.” Marybeth Hicks (marketing director for Faith Catholic) opened the convention with her talk on “5 Strategies to Build a Stronger Community of Catholic Women.” Her emphasis, first, evangelize. She also explained that we do not have a marketing problem, but a mission problem. The bottom line is to evangelize, educate and support.

“One of the other presentations that “spoke” to me was by Brandon Vogt, (author, blogger, content director for Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Catholic Ministries). Brandon is a convert of eight years who connected with his audience when he told us that for every person joining the church today, 6.45 people are leaving.

“’How do we tell our story?’ he asked and then gave five ways to share your faith today. 1. Equip yourself. 2. Clear up misconceptions. 3. Share Catholic resources. 4. Affirm the positive. 5.  Be joyful.

“The different presentations over the course of three days, plus the opportunity for celebrating the Eucharist, helped to make this a very positive, uplifting experience. I would certainly encourage our Catholic ladies of the diocese to get involved with the Catholic Women of the Diocese (of which you are already a member) and to think about joining me at the next National Convention to be held in Indianapolis, September 2016.”

Mary Ann Ruether, past diocesan president and now Archdiocese of Dubuque province director commented as follows:

“The recent NCCW convention with the keynote speakers’ presentations emphasized issues relevent to what is happening in our world today and as Catholics, what consequences these troubling issues have. I felt as if each speaker in their talk suggested uplifting ideas as incentives that we not give up hope. Now, continuing to travel along the way of our earthly journey, I’m motivated to be a ‘Sower of Hope’ to all God has placed in my midst.”

At the closing of the convention, before the final liturgy, the 2015-2017 Province Directors were installed. Mary Ann Ruether is now the province director of Dubuque which includes the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Diocese of Davenport, Diocese of Des Moines and Diocese of Sioux City.  She connects these four dioceses to the National Council to ensure direct communication and interaction. Congratulations, Mary Ann! Please pray for Mary Ann as she begins this important position.

Wynn Touney of Fort Dodge is a member of the Catholic Women of the Diocese of Sioux City.

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