Catholic Women’s League awards $16,000 in grants

Peoria Notre Dame High School students will have more help with tuition.

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception will be able to provide more resources to the elderly.

Those who depend on the food and friendship they receive through the Sacred Heart Sandwich Program at St. Joseph’s Church will continue to be served.

These and a host of other Peoria-area charitable organizations are benefiting this spring thanks to the Catholic Women’s League (CWL), which awarded $16,000 in grants at its allocation luncheon on May 17. The event drew 130 members and their guests to Mount Hawley Country Club in Peoria to congratulate the recipients and install officers for the coming year.

President Mary Jo Callahan called representatives from each of the 12 organizations forward to receive their checks and share information about the work they do.

This year’s recipients include: Peoria Notre Dame High School, $8,000; St. Joseph HomeCare of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception, $1,500; Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria, $1,000; South Side Office of Concern, $1,000; and St. Augustine Manor, $1,000.
Grants for $500 were awarded to the Christ Child Society of Central Illinois, Common Place — Adult and Family Literacy, Family Resources Center, Friendship House, Missionaries of Charity, Peoriarea Blind People’s Center, and the Sacred Heart Sandwich Program at St. Joseph’s Church.

Msgr. William Watson, president of Peoria Notre Dame High School, praised the Catholic Women’s League for the work they do — “not just in the gifts you’ve given today, but in your prayer and your example of living the life of Jesus Christ. You are a blessing for all of us for doing that.”

Noting that the group currently has about 550 members, Msgr. Watson challenged the women to add 100 members before the next allocation luncheon and said he would do what he could to help.

Katy Simmons of the Southside Office of Concern said the grant “couldn’t come at a better time, with the state cutting back.”

“This will go a long way toward helping these poor people,” she told them.
Mary Ellen Smith of the Family Resources Center had a speech prepared, but as she looked out over the lunch guests she realized she didn’t have to give it. “This is a double-edged gift — all of you have given to us in terms of time, too,” she said.

The Catholic Women’s League raises funds through membership dues of $10 per year; a fall fundraiser, which is scheduled for Sept. 13 this year; and a “dinnerless dinner” in January.

The members gather for a rosary at a Peoria-area church each month, except for July. The next one is planned for Monday, June 20, at 9 a.m. at St. Philomena’s Church, 3200 N. Twelve Oaks Drive, Peoria, and everyone is welcome.

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