The local province of the National Council of Catholic Women met June 13-14 at St. Henry Church in Monticello, Minnesota, for its 19th biennial conference, “Sowers of Hope.”
Nearly 200 women attended, representing all of Minnesota’s dioceses, which are part of the Province of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Marybeth Hicks, author and columnist of “Teachable Moments” for Catholic Digest, addressed how to increase membership at the parish level during her June 13 presentation.
Among Hicks’ suggestions:
- Stop organizing and start evangelizing. Don’t fret over the centerpieces or other small details. What’s important is to invite other women who might not otherwise know about an event so they can experience it firsthand.
- Greet that harried mom who makes it to Mass so she feels welcome — even if she was five minutes late and her children were a little unruly that Sunday.
- Consider the different seasons of a woman’s membership. In her younger years, she may not have a lot of time, energy or resources to engage in activities fully. In one’s middle years there may be more time for participation and, possibly, leadership positions. In her older years, a member may opt to write a check, and choose which activity she attends, without feeling guilty.
- Use social media. For example, post pictures on Facebook of parish activities that inspire and show women having fun.
Christine Schicker, marketing representative for Eternal Word Television Network, also spoke June 13. Schicker encouraged Catholic women to replicate Mother Angelica’s philosophy, that “If we don’t tell others about Jesus, they might have nowhere else to go. Everything starts with one person.”
On June 14, attendees heard from Jeff Cavins, former director of the Office of Evangelization for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, and Kathy Langer, director of the Office of Social Concerns for Catholic Charities of the St. Cloud Diocese.
This story was written by Rita Meyer for The Visitor.