Diocesan women to meet
Council of Catholic Women has helped others since founding in 1924
By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor
DCCW to convene
What: DCCW Convention
When: Saturday, April 28
Where: St. Bernard Parish, Green Bay
Details: Featured speakers will be Sr. Mary Jo Kirt, OSF, and Fr.
Dave Pleier. Bp. Robert Banks will preside at an 11 a.m. Liturgy
where new officers will be installed.
Cost: $14, includes continental breakfast, luncheon, speakers and
In 1924, Bp. Paul Rhode, the sixth bishop of Green Bay, invited a group of women from the diocese to meet with him in hopes that they would unite to form a diocesan-wide women's organization.
The women soon held a meeting at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in
Green Bay, and the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DCCW) was
born. The women will gather again April 25 at St. Bernard Church,
Green Bay, for their biannual convention.
Today, Councils of Catholic Women exist at the parish, vicariate,
diocesan and national levels, and two women from the diocese hold
national offices. The goal at all levels is to serve those in
need. The women take on service projects in the areas of church,
family, international, community, legislation and organization.
"From National we get information on what projects and activities
they can do in each area," said Delores Skarban a former DCCW
president from St. Anthony Parish, Oconto Falls. "It is our hope
that they would pick one project from each of the six
The information from the National Council of Catholic Women is
designed to serve as a guide for the other levels. The Parish
Council of Catholic Women, for example, may adapt an idea from
the National Council.
"They can pick and choose what fits their parish and their
locality," said Mary Ann Berger, a former DCCW president from St.
John the Baptist Parish, Howard.
The DCCW has launched several successful service projects to
benefit those in need locally and worldwide. Advocacy to women is
a target area of concern for the organization. The women have
collected and donated sweatshirts to the Rainbow House and Golden
"We have also donated toothbrushes and toothpaste," said Skarban.
"We put together a kit that the women who seek help from these
facilities can take home with them. It is nice to help. You feel
like you are helping someone who is right here."
The DCCW's Respite Program, which began in 1985, is an example of
a successful project helping families in need. Through the
program, volunteers are trained by nurses and physical therapists
to relieve caregivers.
"The volunteers give a break to those who care for loved ones 24
hours a day, seven days a week," said Jackie Walker of St. John
the Baptist Parish, Howard, who like Skarban and Berger is a
former DCCW president. "We have a lot of volunteers. The
caregivers really appreciate it."
An example of an international project facilitated by the DCCW is
Water for Life. The women raise money to support clear water
systems in impoverished areas.
"The funds help to pay for engineers and workers to come into,
for example, a mountainous area," explained Skarban. "They will
build one water system at the top of the mountain that brings
clean water down to many villages."
"Many of the people that join are surprised by all the things we
do," she added. "They often say 'I had no idea you did so many
The Green Bay DCCW has a national presence. Berger serves as the
NCCW legislative chair. Skarban is the Milwaukee Province
Director, serving the five dioceses in the state of Wisconsin.
Both women will attend national meetings in Washington, DC, in
June. In 1993, the Green Bay DCCW was honored nationally for its
project "The Earth in Our Hands, " a program that promoted
"The national conventions and meetings are wonderful," said
Skarban. "I enjoy the sharing of ideas. I haven't met one person
who has not returned from a national convention or assembly
excited and refreshed."
The DCCW is always looking for new members. Nine of the 12
vicariates of the diocese are active.
"I would like to see Vicariate VI (Waupaca and Waushara counties)
revitalized, and more participation throughout the diocese," said
Berger. "It's rewarding to help other people and it's a feeling
of togetherness with a Catholic teaching in mind. I enjoy the
For more information on the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women,
contact Delores Skarban at (920)846-3743 or Mary Ann Berger at