By Barb Arland-Fye
DAVENPORT — Supporting, empowering and educating all Catholic women in spirituality, leadership and service are priorities for Davenport Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DDCCW), which held its annual meeting April 7 at St. Anthony Parish.
Thirty or so women attended the event which featured a short, historic tour of St. Anthony Church, Mass with Bishop Martin Amos — concelebrated by the parish’s pastor, Father Apo Mpanda — lunch and an educational talk by two immigration lawyers.
Joe Scott of St. Anthony’s shared tidbits of history about the church’s Stations of the Cross, numerous statues of saints and stained glass windows depicting individual saints. While Bishop Amos didn’t sit in on the history talk, he made reference to saints as intercessors in prayer during his homily. In relating the Old Testament passage from Exodus to the Gospel reading from John, the bishop described Jesus as the new Moses who stands between two worlds, arms outstretched. “Jesus is the ultimate and sole mediator between God and us.”
But some non-Catholics think Catholics fail to recognize Jesus as mediator when they pray to saints. “I would counter that thinking. Our faith says that we, along with the saints, are Christ’s body and he is our head,” the bishop said. “Just as we ask others to pray for us, so we ask the saints as well … should we not be conduits and messengers bringing God’s love and grace to our world?”
The bishop said the liturgy calls everyone, as Christ’s body, “to also be conduits and messengers who bring the needs of others and our world to God and God’s love, grace and forgiveness to a broken world.”
Current immigration law and enforcement, as described by the immigration lawyers, provided an example of things that need to be fixed in the world. Immigration reform is desperately needed, and it ought to be accomplished without having to split apart families, the lawyers said.
Patricia Powers, president of the DDCCW, said social justice is an emphasis of the diocesan group “and immigration falls under that.” She is grateful for those who attended the meeting and listened to the lawyers’ presentation “because they will be able to take that information home with them,” she said.
Also during the meeting, members received an appreciative letter from a DDCCW scholarship recipient who attends St. Ambrose University in Davenport. Although the letter writer is aware of the organization, DDCCW leadership expressed concern that word isn’t getting out to enough women.
The diocesan organization is affiliated with the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW), which has identified among its priorities: serving as the voice for Catholic women; building membership and welcoming younger members; obtaining financial solvency; providing education, outreach and networking. Those goals are listed in a report that Edna Brunkhorst presented. She is the organization’s province director in Iowa and member of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
In the Davenport Diocese, every Catholic woman is considered a DDCCW member; annual membership fee is $2 per woman. Each parish is requested to pay $90 which goes toward support of the national organization. In addition, the national organization seeks $250 from the diocese.
For more information about the Davenport Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, contact Patricia Powers at (563) 886-3622, or write to her at 55 Plum St., Apt. 2, Tipton, Iowa, 52772.