Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
When Msgr. Jim asked me a month ago to write this Sunday’s Twitch, I had a second of panic because I go brain-dead in front of a microphone or a keyboard. But I realized that I should just let the Holy Spirit do the talking. During my prayer, the Comforter sent me a thought. I wasn’t asked because I personally have any great wisdom to impart; I was asked solely because I am President of the St. Sebastian Council of Catholic Women (SSCCW). I stand with 80 brilliant, compassionate, talented women using our diverse talents to do God’s will.
The Council is so much more than a bunch of little old ladies who bake cookies.(Although we do provide plenty of yummy refreshments at our meetings.) Our members are involved in all facets of parish life. We sing in the choir, read as lectors, are Eucharistic Ministers and serve on the Parish Council. We sit with our Lord at Adoration on Fridays, lead Bible study groups and provide comfort during times of bereavement. Others help with the sandwich ministry. Many of us assist at the dinner events. One member coordinates 30 parishioners in The Prayer Circle. Another member initiated the Drive Out Hunger campaign in which the entire parish participates.
While we only meet November-April, we accomplish a great deal. Speakers inform and enlighten us. A new member last fall started a Prayer Shawl Ministry where 12 of us meet on Tuesdays year round for knitting lessons; 24 shawls already have been given to the sick or elderly in our parish. Our January meeting focuses on Respect Life to counter Roe v. Wade, 1972 Supreme Court decision allowing abortion on demand. Our members donate layette items for new mothers who reach out to the Fort Lauderdale office. We have contributed financially to the local office and to the renovations of the new diocesan headquarters in Hollywood. To accomplish our outreach, our Ways and Means Committee develops fund-raisers.
But we are not an isolated women’s club in a small church. We join with other Councils to form the Miami Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (MACCW) whose annual convention enriches us. Archbishop Wenski relies on the MACCW to advise him and to promote diocesan projects. A diocesan-wide scholarship program provides assistance to 8th grade girls entering Catholic high schools.
An MACCW President Emerita is now Province Director of the Florida Council of Catholic Women (FCCW). All 7 dioceses in our state send hundreds of members dressed in red to Catholic Days at the Capitol in March to lobby our legislature. We supported Sen. Anitere Flores’ (District 37) successful bill for a 24-hour waiting period allowing a mother to reflect on her decision to have an abortion. Our legislators take favorable notice of a wave of red approaching them to discuss life and death issues.
The National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW), founded in 1920, provides local Councils with resources and information on national and international issues such as human trafficking and the Caps for Kids collection which provides service animals and wheelchairs to handicapped children. We have a delegate to the UN and to the Vatican. NCCW supports the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Fortnight for Freedom: The Right to Bear Witness, regarding religious freedom and how to defend this cherished liberty. The opening and closing Masses will be broadcast on EWTN at noon on June 21 and July 4.
Our SSCCW is a diverse group of educated women striving to unite all ladies of the parish in religious, educational and social activities. Our prayers and actions have far-reaching effects. Please join our efforts to serve Jesus through the fellowship of our St. Sebastian community.
May you celebrate a safe Independence Day and may God bless the USA.
Linda Hatlan Pastoral Council