DCCW: Women throughout the diocese are invited to convention

By Karen Pinard
Guest Columnist

The Austin Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DCCW) will hold its annual conference in Austin April 11-12. This year’s theme is “Catholic Women, Sowers of Mercy and Hope.” We invite all women of the diocese to join us in fellowship, learning and prayer. Find out why we give thanks for the many blessings we have been given through this organization. 
The Austin DCCW unites women of the diocese in purpose, direction and action in religious, educational, social and economic areas. It acts as a unit on matters of public interest and establishes relations with local, national and international groups regarding moral, educational, social and economic problems.
The Austin DCCW is also affiliated with and has both a voice and vote in the National Council of Catholic Women and its Galveston/Houston Province, thereby promoting insight to national and international issues.
The organization works closely with Bishop Joe Vásquez who has a representative on the Austin DCCW board, Father Melvin Dornak. As our spiritual adviser, Father Dornak counsels the organization regarding matters related to policies and management. 
The Austin DCCW embraces many concerns regarding our Catholic faith. Several commissions within the organization provide articles and suggestions to help educate our members. These commissions are Spirituality, Service and Leadership. The DCCW is also responsible for supplying marriage certificates to those parishes that wish to acknowledge couples for their years of marriage. 
Each year at the annual conference the members present a non-negotiable check to the bishop representing all the hours donated by the ladies throughout the year in service to our diocese. The check this past April was for over $4 million. These members worked for the good of our diocese, as well as in local parishes and many communities throughout Central Texas.
The organization also helps build the Clerical Endowment Fund, which provides funds for educating seminarians. These young men are the future priests of our diocese and need all the help we can provide, both monetarily and spiritually. As we support them on their road to the priesthood, it is a glorious and heartwarming experience to attend their ordinations each year.
Every year the Austin DCCW helps host the Rural Life Award dinner. This is a gathering of members of the farming community in and around Central Texas. The rural parishes nominate both an individual and a member of the clergy to be recognized as a candidate for this award. The nominees are usually farmers or ranchers who have given many years of service to their communities. The clergy award is given to recognize a pastor who has been instrumental in the care of his farming and ranching community. The awards are a surprise to both recipients. The parish hosting the event always provides a bountiful meal following the celebration of the Rural Life Mass and awards ceremony. This is a wonderful community gathering looked forward to by many.
During October, the diocese designates a Sunday called Austin DCCW Sunday. Each parish is asked to set aside this Sunday to recognize and honor its ladies. Parish members gather for prayer and reflection in a show of support for the many activities they have undertaken throughout the calendar year. 
We invite all women to consider joining the Council of Catholic Women. Join us at our annual convention in April. Visit www.AustinDiocesanCouncilofCatholicWomen.org for more details. We will see you there!