Catholic Daughters of the Americas 55th Biennial National Convention
Saturday, July 19, 2014
By Tom Panas, Public Relations Director
Before leading the Opening Prayer, Deacon Doug Campbell said, “Fourteen years ago my wife and I provided the poinsettias at the Catholic Daughter Convention in Bismarck, North Dakota. This morning I lift up the Catholic Daughters of the Americas. Lord, bless the Montana Court who has given us this great convention. Bless all the national and incoming local officers as they start their term, as the ladies go home to their parishes. Father, help them to listen with prayer, they’ll learn with new wisdom, new vigor and a new love of Christ and live in Unity and Charity at all times everywhere.” This was followed by the Morning Offering and prayer intentions.
National Regent Anne Nelson asked the Credentials Committee to retire and prepare their final convention report. Montana State Regent Carol Schaaf introduced Development Director Carrie Krepps of the Florence Crittenton Home in Helena, Montana. Carrie said, “On behalf of everyone at the Crittenton Home I want to thank you. Florence Crittenton is a 114-year old organization in Montana that helps women and children in need. There are 27 homes across the country. We have served thousands of women nationwide. We give young woman a home and educate them on how to parent or consider and make positive adoption plans.” One of the young women, upon leaving the home, wrote, “I pray my broken past will not affect my baby’s future. I may be young, I may not look like other moms, I will stumble along the way, but I am Every Mom, please give me a chance.” Montana State Regent Carol Schaaf then presented Cary with a diaper bag containing $1,000 and said that a bassinet of baby clothes would also be given.
Correspondence Chairman National Secretary-Treasurer Sherry Nilles, said, “The only correspondence we have is from Past National Chaplain Rev. Donald Ruppert from Texas. He wrote, in part, “I regret that I am not able to be with you at this convention, my get up and go has got up and went. CDA is the best Catholic women’s organization, I have a love affair with Catholic Daughters, please give my best wishes to all.”
Habitat for Humanity Chairman Shirley Seyfried said, “Habitat for Humanity is my favorite National Project not because it’s better than the rest, but because you can get involved in the actual building and pounding the nails. Thanks to the states of Louisiana and California for sponsoring the two CDA-sponsored Habitat builds in the last two years. “I’m looking for the next state to build a new house.” She then presented a slide show with pictures from Habitat builds.
Credentials Chairman New York State Regent Mary Ziesig then gave the Credentials Report, announcing that 833 people attended the convention. The Credentials Report was accepted. Legislation/Operation Morningstar Chairman Margaret Sitte spoke of the effort to pass a human life amendment in North Dakota that Deacon Campbell had mentioned, echoing that “Planned Parenthood has targeted North Dakota.” She spoke of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty that defends the Catholic Church, Little Sisters of the Poor, EWTN and several Diocesan lawsuits. She pointed out that the Becket Fund also defends Muslims and Hindus and any other religion that is having their religious freedom challenged. Margaret then showed a short video of the Little sisters of the Poor.
This was followed by Pennsylvania Catholic Daughters entering the room waving signs and singing about the next national biennial convention that will be held in Pittsburgh in 2016. Anne Nelson then presented a check to Development Director Robin Cabral of one of the Catholic Daughter National Projects, Holy Cross Family Ministries. Robin said, “Holy Cross Family Ministries thanks you very much for your invitation, your warm welcome and your continued and gracious support of our ministry. Father Peyton’s goal was to get 10 million families saying the rosary. He reached his ten million families and the world was transformed. The Catholic Daughters were there then and are with us now. I will end with one of Father Peyton’s favorite quotes, ‘More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.’ ”
Anne Nelson presented a check to the Laboure Society, one of the Catholic Daughter National Charities. Cy Laurent, CEO of the Laboure Society, said, “I’ve been watching you these many days and you are amazing. My great grandmother had a nanny named Mona who helped her take care of her children. When she was particularly impressed or pleased with an individual, she’d say, “Ain’t you something.” And I say to you, the Catholic Daughters ‘ain’t you something.’ In closing, I will use a quote from St. Thomas Moore,’ pray for me as I will you, until we meet in heaven or sooner.’ ”
Anne announced that the Laboure Society asked the Catholic Daughters to sit on their board and National Regent-Elect Shirley Seyfried accepted that position. Shirley Seyfried said “The office of National Regent-Elect was established so she would have two years to learn as much as possible and assist the National Regent.” “The theme for the next two years, I quote from Matthew 25/40, ‘whatever you do for the least of my brethren, you do for me.’ ”
My goals as National Regent for the next two years are 3-fold, using that theme:
“I would like to ask each court to do one new program in the next two years — maybe you go to a pregnancy home or on a mission trip. Start a new project in your court and let me hear about it. Please write up your projects and send them to me. I would like to feature some projects in SHARE Magazine. I would like us to be able to exchange ideas. We will also establish a spot on the website where you can look at the website for project. I ask for two new projects, one each year.”
“My second goal is membership. We’ve been saying this for a number of years. We are really going to work hard to change that downward turn in the next two years. I’ve asked Olga Samaniego to chair membership. Olga has a great history in recruiting to start new courts. She started 17 new courts in two years. She will have lots of ideas to get our membership going. We would like to see our numbers up over 100,000 again. We can do it, yes we can. We have to turn around this numbers decrease. When I first began as a Catholic Daughter we had over 150,000 members. We’ll have articles in SHARE and in the quarterly, we may even plan some regional workshops. We will be happy to help you, just invite us in.”
“The third goal is part of all we do as Catholic Daughters: increase our spirituality. Before everything we do, we pray for the success of the project. We have planned our second Catholic Daughters pilgrimage to help us increase our spirituality. In the fall of 2013 Father Gosnell led us on pilgrimage. We are going to Rome and Medjugorje.”
The parade of States then took place.
Past National Regent M. Joan McKenna then moved that the new CDA Board consider a pilgrimage for Campus Courts to Poland for the next World Youth Day. The motion failed to pass. National Secretary-Treasurer Sherry Nilles proposed a resolution thanking many individuals and organizations, and Joan McKenna made a motion that more names could be added to be thanked. The resolutions passed.
Education Chairman National Director Joyce Ann Fleming announced the themes for the Education Contest for the next two years. “The religious theme for the 2015 Education Contest will be ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The non- religious theme will be, ‘Be a good neighbor.’ ”
For the closing prayer Sister Carol Mary said: “Give us a faith that will work through love in the promotion of justice, equality and human rights to all. We acknowledge you as the source of all. He sang to our hearts and asked us to remain in HIM. America, America, God mend thine every flaw.”
The closing ode was sung.
After the closing prayer, the color guard and banner bearers retired the American flag and Unity and Charity banners.
Anne Nelson confirmed that the 55th national convention was adjourned.
In the afternoon, The Installation Mass was celebrated at St. Pius X Church in Billings. Before Mass began, officers entered and sat in the pews wearing the colored robes of their office. The national board entered, followed by the clergy. Shirley Seyfried read from the Book of Wisdom. “Though you are the master of might, you judge with clemency.”
Chorus: Lord, you are good and forgiving.
Helene Shepard read from the Book of Romans. “Brothers and Sisters, the spirit comes to the aid of our weakness.
There was a reading from the gospel according to Matthew. “Let the weeds and wheat grow until harvest time and I will say to the harvester, first take up the weeds for burning, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Chief celebrant Bishop Michael Warfel of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings said in his homily. “Icons do not depict some saintly person from the bible that resided thousands of years ago, but in an icon we are included into the mystery. The first of the two mysteries of the Rosary, we are called by God, we are sent by God to proclaim salvation in word and deed — and sent in haste. The spirit intercedes with inexpressible groaning on our behalf. As we receive Christ into our life we must share Christ with others. It is the plan of God that people like us will evangelize others. We live in a paradoxical world, it is good because it is created by God, but at the same time we know there is much sin in the world that causes great harm. Anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or training to go out and proclaim that love. We no longer say that we are disciples and missionaries, but that we are missionary disciples.”
The National Regent asked Rev. Stephen Gosnell to bless the pins that would be given to the national board. Father Gosnell said, “we ask you God to bless these insignia of office and especially those who would use them.” Anne Nelson then said, “Before we begin with the installation it is my privilege to first install Father Matthew Kuhn as the National Chaplain of the Catholic Daughters. Father Gosnell read the pledge to Father Matthew, who accepted the responsibilities and was officially installed as National Chaplain. Anne called upon the newly elected officers and directors to come forward and pledge their service. Each member approached the altar holding a red rose. Father Matthew asked if the officers were ready to accept the responsibilities of their position and explained the significance and responsibilities of their national positions. He then read the charge to the officers, who responded as a group.
Anne said to applause, “May I present the newly-elected national officers and directors.” Each national director was then asked to step forward, receive a blessing from Father Matthew, place the red rose they were carrying in a vase which was before a statue of the Blessed Mother, receive their pin and sign the pledge of office. Father Matthew then installed the national officers individually: National Secretary-Treasurer Vickie Feist, Second Vice National Regent Olga Samaniego, First Vice National Regent Sherry Nilles and National Regent-Elect Helene Shepard. Shirley Seyfried was then installed as National Regent to much applause. Anne then asked Father Matthew to bless a gavel, which she then presented to Shirley Seyfried. Shirley accepted the gavel and the responsibilities that it signifies.
The National Regent then asked all Catholic Daughters present to stand and repeat the words she spoke aloud: “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, assistance and prayers to these national officers and directors in carrying out the programs of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas.” When the powerful words stopped echoing throughout the church, there was loud applause.
Glimpses of Convention Highlights
Montana, Second Vice State Regent Marilyn Harkins enjoying ‘Montana Night’ Festivities
2014-2016 National Chaplain Rev. Matthew Kuhn enjoys ‘Montana Night’, pictured with First Vice National Regent Helene Shepard and Past National Regent Claudia Bosch.
The gavel has been passed from Anne Nelson to Shirley Seyfried … Congratulations to our National Regents!
From Coast to Coast, with horse and red boots, Catholic Daughters enjoyed the amazing hospitality of Montana!
Carrie Krepps accepts the Convention Charity gifts on behalf of the Florence Crittenton Home
Pennsylvania State rallies in their Invitation to the 2016 National Convention
National Regent Elect Shirley Seyfried announces the 2014-2016 theme,"Whatever you do for the least of my Brethren, you do for Me." Matthew 25:40
Past National Regents participate in the Instillation Mass; left to right, Claudia Bosch 2006-2008, JoanneTomassi 2010-2012, (front center) Anne Nelson 2012-2014, (back center) M. Joan McKenna 2004-2006, Libby Ramirez 2008-2010, Grace DiCairano 2002-2004
State Officers process prior to the Installation Mass
2014-2016 newly installed National Chaplain Reverend Matthew Kuhn installs each National Director and National Officer. He is with newly elected First Vice National Regent Olga Samaniego.
Each National Director and National Officer presented a red rose, lit a candle, and signed the Board Certificate.
2012-2014 National Chaplain Reverend Stephen Gosnell presented each newly installed Board Member with their National pin
2014-2016 National Board of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas
Court Chaplains across America Concelebrate Mass with Bishop Michael Warfel
2012-2014 National Regent Anne Nelson receives a Crystal Bowl, National Regent Memory Book, the Apostolic Blessing, and a standing ovation as expressions of gratitude.
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 Terrie Vacek.