54th Biennial National Convention Daily Recap, Saturday, July 20, 2012
Catholic Daughters of the Americas 54th Biennial National Convention
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Content provided by Tom Panas, Public Relations Director
“The sixth meeting of the National Convention will please come to order,” National Regent Joanne Tomassi
said, and she introduced the Timekeepers and acknowledged Past National Director Theresa Kocer who just arrived at
National Grants Chairman Sherry Nilles reported grant activity. “We applied for a grant from the Cook
Foundation. We initially applied for funds to repair the roof of the headquarters building, but were advised to request
funding for the front door of the national office and the sidewalk in front of the building. We expect a decision will be
made in September, 2012. We also applied to the Ambrose Monell Foundation but have heard nothing, so we’ll keep
working on it. We’re going to keep going until we get a grant.”
National Secretary-Treasurer Helene Shepard delivered a message from Past National Regent Rayola
McLaughlin. “As a member of this organization of Catholic women we must continue to be advocates of all the
important issues facing us today. Our voices must ring out loud and clear in order to make a better world for ourselves
and future generations. The freedom of our church is under assault and the freedom of conscience and religious liberty
of every American is being challenged. Young women must be informed about the work and accomplishment that has
been the bedrock of the CDA for the past 109 years. We celebrate each one of you attending this convention for your
strength, dedication and compassion in building a better tomorrow.”
Joanne announced that yesterday’s collection for the Archdiocese of the Military Services was $1809.41.
She said that Saturday’s collection will be given to St. Cecelia’s Cathedral (where the Installation Mass was held)
“in appreciation of the wonderful assistance we’ve received from the Rector and the Bishop. Wait until you see the
Cathedral, its gorgeous!”
Joanne presented Terrie Vacek, who has been voluntarily taking many pictures of the convention, with a
Certificate of Appreciation “for sharing her God- given talents in photography to enhance the goals of the Catholic
National JCDA Chairman Arline Rich announced Youth Awards. “As far as I know we have over 1,000 juniors
that have been reported to me, although I know there are more,” Arline said. She then read the awards of seven junior
National Education Chairman Shelly Nilles announced the courts that won Education Awards.
National Regent Elect and National Quality of Life Chairman Anne Nelson said, “Quality of life is really our hands
busy, boots on the ground project. As Catholic Daughters we see, we do and then we do more.” Anne then announced
the Quality of Life awards, and ended by saying “next year I hope to have more reports.”
National Spiritual Enhancement Chairman and National Director Olga Samaniego gave the spiritual report and
announced the spiritual awards. “It was very difficult to select five projects for recognition, but after much prayer and
deliberation I am proud to recognize five courts.”
National Leadership Chairman Helene Shepard said “Good morning, leaders. You need to return to your states
and courts knowing you have the leadership skills to influence others. Today is your day. Your leadership experience
has to start today. You can’t wait until tomorrow. My leadership report is in the booklet. I was delighted to receive so
many reports.” She then announced the leadership awards.
Helene returned to the microphone as National Projects and Charities Chairman. “ Whatsoever you do to the
least of our brethren, that you do unto me,” Helene quoted from Jesus, and continued. “ Alone we can only move a
pebble, but together we can move a boulder.” After announcing the Projects and Charities winners, Helene said, “I
would like to quote Albert Einstein, ‘only a life lived for others is a life worth living.’ “
After a ten-minute break, the meeting resumed.
Nevada State Chaplain Rev. John McShane led the gathering in prayer. “I’m very grateful to you for the work
you do on the local, state and national level. Heavenly Father on this, the final day of our national convention, we call
upon your spirit to enliven, to strengthen, to inspire the people of God throughout the areas that we represent. We
thank you for our leadership on the national, local and state level. And we ask that you bless us as we return to our
homes, safely and in good health, inspired to continue the work of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas.”
The Montana Delegation then approached the dais. As Montana State Regent Mary Smith entered dressed as a
cowgirl, a story was told of the importance of the cowgirl in Montana and how a young girl with a baby on her back led
part of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. A skit was held in which each letter in the word ‘Montana’ expressed something
interesting about the state. Mary Smith said, “I wanted to tell you that I am the real deal, I am a cowgirl. See you in
National Habitat for Humanity Chairman Shirley Seyfried said “I don’t give awards for my position because
Habitat comes under National Projects, but I want to recognize two states that work very hard for Habitat for Humanity.
One is my home state of Minnesota, the other is the State Court of Texas. During the past two years I am happy to
report that we have completed the house in Arizona I told you about at the last convention and we finished a house in
Pasco, Washington.” Shirley then gave a Powerpoint presentation that showed stages of a house built by Catholic
Daughters from the blessing of an empty plot of land to the completed house dedication.
National Chaplain Father Ed Lamp began his Clergy Report by saying, “I have fallen in love with the women from
Nebraska. They have been wonderful.” Father asked the clergy and the two religious present to stand for a round of
applause, and then began the Clergy Report. “One thing was the concern for recruiting younger women, they are the
future of Catholic Daughters. That is not to negate the older women, they are the backbone, but the younger women
are the future. Another idea was to be open to and embrace change, especially the change that comes from new
members, and to be willing to let go of the old ways. One priest was extremely grateful for the Tools of the Trade, and
suggested that you go over the Tools of the Trade with your court chaplains. Another comment was to find a ministry,
especially a hands-on ministry that might be outside the confines of your parish and within the community. Another
was to be bold and brazen to visit the parishes that do not have Catholic Daughter courts. Another comment was to be
careful not to impose an individual spirituality on your court. A suggestion for Vocations was to go to your local
ordinaries and offer to hold the Christmas party for the seminarians; when you introduce yourselves to seminarians
when they are ordained they remember Catholic Daughters. Remember that you should also have non-fundraiser
meetings, such as parties, socials, potluck dinners; don’t always make it about fundraising. Two last things I kind of
added, I’m a firm believer that one way of getting into a parish is introducing yourself, by saying ‘this is what we do, how
can we assist you in making this a spiritually alive parish?’ The last thing I would like to suggest to you, I keep hearing
about the wonderful Past National Regents, some of you should buy yourself a tape recorder and tell the story of your
court so you don’t lose the history.”
Joanne thanked the honesty of the individuals whose cell phones rang during the meeting and voluntarily placed
their $5.00 to the box labeled “Was that a call from GOD?”
Sherry Nilles said the Education Contest themes for 2013 are “Jesus is reflected in me,” and “My life is a
reflection of good.” Sherry explained, “We try to have one religious and one secular theme.”
Joanne said a local court has standing rules, a state board and national board sets their own standing rules. A
state court and a national court only have standing rules to govern their biennial conventions. “We have a set of
standing rules that we pass on from one board to the next, and one of the first things the board does is review standing
rules. The tools of the trade has a section about standing rules.”
Mary Ann Kizer showed a Powerpoint Presentation that she prepared that Catholic Daughters can use as a
recruitment tool. It was very well received. For a copy, email Mary Ann Kizer email@example.com.
Joanne thanked Shirley Seyfried with deep appreciation for accepting the position of Convention Contest Chair
and doing a wonderful job. Joanne said, “Next, I would like to recognize Ruth Krumbach, and also the Nebraska state
officers. These five women accepted the challenge, appointed the chairmen and I thank them and all of the women who
accepted chairmanships. Will all of the volunteers from Nebraska please stand up? You have done an excellent job.”
The gathering stood to loud applause.
Past National Regent M. Joan McKenna made a motion that the new national leadership team under the
guidance of Anne Nelson and the Campus Courts Committee evaluate the effectiveness of the new resolutions that were
passed affecting Campus Courts. A vote was taken and the motion passed.
Arizona State Regent Susan Mone conveyed a message from National Director Delma Araiza that it was with
deep sorrow that Delma could not be at the convention because of health issues and to congratulate the new officers
and give heartfelt best wishes for a very successful term. Delma thanked everyone who sent cards and good wishes for
her improved health.
Carolyn Malik, Credentials Chairman, gave the final registration report that the total convention registration was
Parliamentarian Cecina Koeijmans complimented delegates and members. “You have really behaved well. Now,
let us thank the Worthy National Regent for a convention well-run. The By-Laws Chairman, Emily Guilherme, also did a
Anne Nelson made final housekeeping announcements, and the colors were retired.
Joanne stated, “The chair declares the 54th Biennial National Convention closed. The 2014 Biennial National
Convention will be held in Montana.”
The meeting ended and at 2:00PM the Mass of Installation was held at St. Cecelia’s Cathedral. Before Mass,
Catholic Daughters entered in a beautiful procession of local and state officers according to their rank. This was
followed by Knights of Columbus dressed in their capes and majestic plumed caps and then the Liturgical procession
which included the past national regents, the newly elected national board, the clergy that were concelebrating and
Archbishop Lucas, principal celebrant.
Mass began with Old Testament readings from Anne Nelson and Shirley Seyfried. Archbishop and Main
Celebrant George Lucas read from the Gospel according to St. John, “When Jesus was on the cross, he said to his
mother, “Behold, your son.”
In his homily, Archbishop Lucas said, “On behalf of the nearly 4 million Catholics in the Diocese of Omaha I want
to welcome the Catholic Daughters, offer my congratulations on your convention and give thanks to God for the gifts of
this success. It takes a lot of cooperation and a lot of faith.”
“Your witness as Catholic women has never been more important than it is today when we are receiving serious
challenges to an understanding of the human person and so many challenges to religious liberty.”
“You have chosen Mary as your patroness in bearing witness to Jesus Christ and to God’s plan for the life of the
world in and through Jesus Christ. You just heard a brief passage from the Gospel of St. John. This passage reminds us
that not everyone ran away as Christ was crucified. Mary was there.”
“As you hold that picture, try to imagine the Annunciation, a much quieter moment than Christ on the Cross, the
Archangel Gabriel coming to a much younger Mary. As Mary accepted God’s plan, she could never have foreseen that
moment at the foot of the cross but she trusted in God’s promises and she promised to be obedient to the will of the
“Mary, your patroness, has protected the Catholic Daughters and may she protect all of you until that day when
you see her son in all his glory.
The newly-elected members of the National Board then walked to the altar, each holding a red rose.
Father Ed spoke, “Our ceremony today marks a highly significant milestone in this order. A regular changing of
the guard of this leadership. You must demonstrate leadership, courage, objectivity and determination. Most of all you
must accept the responsibility and challenge of making the Catholic Daughters of this nation a powerful and active
Joanne asked Father Ed “to bless the pins that will be bestowed upon the newly elected national officers and
Joanne then invited the National Directors to step forward to receive their charge of office read by Father Ed.
After the Charge, each National Director received her pin of office, presented her rose to the Blessed Mother, lit
a white candle and signed a pledge promising to serve well.
Joanne said, “I now invite the national officers to step forward to receive their charge of office.”
The five national officers stepped forward and Father Ed read the charge of their specific office and installed
each officer, again followed by the white candles ceremony.
Joanne said, “I now present newly-elected National Secretary-Treasurer Sherry Nellis, Second Vice National
Regent Olga Samaniego, First Vice National Regent Helene Shepard, National Regent Elect Shirley Seyfried and National
Regent Anne Nelson.”
Joanne asked all the Catholic Daughters gathered in the church to repeat the pledge of support to the National
Board: “We the members of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, one in unity and love, pledge our allegiance to our
newly-installed national officers and directors. We promise our devotion, our assistance and prayers to these National
Officers and Directors in carrying out the programs of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas.”
Joanne said, “I give you your National Board” and the church broke into applause.
The newly elected national board left the altar, except for Anne, who stood next to Joanne facing the church.
Anne said, “I now call upon our Past National Officer Letty Calvetti, and Past National Directors Maryann
Grabasky, Janet Martineau, and Julia Dolan. Worthy national regent I present these past national officers for recognition
Joanne said, “we thank you for your years of service,” and presented each with their respective pins to loud
Anne said, “Dear Lord I speak for all the newly elected board members, we do not ask that you make our lives
easy, but that our problems do not intimidate us; give us the strength to work for God, for the church, for unity and
peace. Make our service the service of love, this we ask in the name of your son Jesus Christ.”
The baton paten was then passed from the Nebraska Convention Team to the Montana Convention Team,
and 2012 Convention Chairman Shirley Seyfried said, “thank you to the Nebraska team for the wonderful job you did
on this convention. Good luck to the state officers of Montana as you begin your plans in earnest for the 55 th Biennial
Convention in Montana.”
The Mass ended and the very successful 54th Biennial National Convention came to a close.
Glimpses of Convention Highlights
National Chaplain Ed Lamp reads the Charge to National Secretary-Treasurer Elect Sherry Nilles.
First Vice Regent Elect Helene Shepard During the White Candle Lighting Ceremony
National Regent Joanne Tomassi, left, and National Regent Elect Anne Nelson.
The 2012-2014 National Board
Left to right, National Directors Emily Guilherme, Arline Rich, Margaret Bingham, Vicki Feist, Second Vice National Regent Olga Samaniego, National Regent Elect Shirley Seyfried, National Regent Anne Nelson, First Vice National Regent Helene Shepard, National Secretary-Treasurer Sherry Nilles, National Directors Joyce Ann Fleming, Mary Ann Kizer, Sheila Storey, Ruth Guidry and Margie Oller
Newly-Elected National Regent Elect Shirley Seyfried Lights the Symbolic White Candle.
Second Vice National Regent Olga Samaniego
Photos may be downloaded by left clicking on the photo to enlarge it. Then, right clicking on the enlarged photo and selecting save image. Photos by Terry Vacek.
John 20:19-23 is one of two possible Gospel readings for Pentecost Sunday. In it, Jesus says "peace be with you" twice. First, he gives his disciples the gift of peace so that they can take their focus off of their worries to look at him and recognize him standing in their midst.