By Barb Arland-Fye
Carol Kaalberg has been named Woman of the Year by the Davenport Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DCCW) for her 30 years of ministry in the diocese.
Kaalberg, who serves at St. Mary parishes in Lone Tree and Nichols and St. Joseph Parish in Hills, accepted the award June 28 during the DCCW’s annual meeting at St. Mary Church in Riverside. She also serves as the DCCW’s moderator and spiritual advisor. She and her husband, Gayle, reside in rural West Liberty. They are parents of three children and grandparents of four.
“Carol is vibrant. She inspires and truly helps everyone with everything,” said DCCW President Patricia Powers of St. Mary Parish in Tipton. “She has helped me a great deal.”
“She’s been a very dedicated worker for 30 years. She’s a thorough and gracious lady, and a joy to have around,” said DCCW Treasurer Carolyn Worley of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Iowa City.
“I believe the award is an affirmation of women in leadership positions,” Kaalberg said. “The DCCW is important to me because as a group of women we’re empowered to make a difference in the lives of many, especially the less fortunate. When more people are gathered together as a whole we are better prepared to build the kingdom of God. That’s why I support the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. It’s been a privilege to serve as their spiritual advisor.”
Her ministry began in 1982 when her youngest daughter entered kindergarten. St. Mary Parish in Nichols hired Kaalberg to serve as business manager there and in the mission parishes of St. Mary of Wapello and St. Malachy of Ardon. Later, St. Mary of Nichols was realigned and clustered with St. Mary of Lone Tree and St. Joseph of Columbus Junction. Carol served as business manager for the five parishes.
In 1988, after the pastor in residence at Lone Tree left the parish, the Diocesan Task Force on Parishes informed parishioners that a priest wasn’t available to serve the rural parishes of that area. It was a time of transition and conversion as parishioners discerned their parish future without a resident priest.
The following year, Bishop Gerald O’Keefe commissioned Kaalberg as the first parish life coordinator for the Diocese of Davenport, serving St. Mary parishes in Nichols and Lone Tree. In 2010 Bishop Martin Amos appointed Kaalberg to serve as parish life administrator of St. Joseph’s in Hills as well as the Lone Tree and Nichols parishes. She continues ministry within this three-parish cluster.
Kaalberg also serves on the Diocesan Campaign for Human Development and Catholic Relief Services Board, the advisory board for Ministry Formation Program (MFP), Advocate for the Diocesan Tribunal Office, treasurer of the West Liberty Area Ministerial Association, member of the Lone Tree Ministerial Association, member of the Iowa City Deanery, participant in illuminare (continuing formation of Lay Ecclesial Ministers) and serves in other leadership positions.
When asked what stands out as memorable ministry moment, Kaalberg said: “being awarded the medal Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice (For the Church and the Pope) from Pope John Paul II.”
What is DCCW?
Established in 1925, the Davenport Diocese Council of Catholic Women (DCCW) unites women, develops their leadership potential and assists them in speaking and acting upon current issues in the Church and society. They seek solutions to present-day problems, domestically and internationally.
In a June 20 letter addressed to the DCCW membership, Bishop Martin Amos wrote:
“God continues in his great trust of humanity by asking us to be an important part in carrying out his work. The Diocesan Council of Catholic Women is a splendid example of this trust as God asks each of you to work together to bring kindness, love and generosity to all of his people.
“My special thanks to each and every one of you as you continue with your commitment, spirituality and energy to make your voices heard in doing God’s work.
“Congratulations are with you as you gather for your 62nd Biennial Convention! May peace, joy and happiness be with you.”
DCCW is affiliated with the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW), which has chosen the “Campaign for Human Dignity” as the unifying theme for all its programs.