DCCW honors 40 volunteers for countless hours of parish service

By: By Jennifer Willems

Expressions of gratitude came in the form of prayer, certificates, praise and even song when 40 parish and community volunteers were honored at the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s Appreciation Luncheon on April 23. The annual event was held at the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria.

The DCCW also honored three of its own for their work on behalf of the organization “over a long period of time and in many areas of need.”

The luncheon was preceded by Mass in the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel in the Spalding Renewal Center. Msgr. John Prendergast, principal celebrant, extended his thanks on behalf of Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, who was attending the funeral for Cardinal Francis George in Chicago.

“I know, if at all possible, the bishop would be here because he knows how important you are to this local church of the Diocese of Peoria,” said Msgr. Prendergast, special assistant to the bishop. “You are key to the faith of all the parishes you belong to.”

After the luncheon, 38 women from more than 20 parishes throughout central Illinois received certificates from Msgr. Dale Wellman, a senior priest of the diocese who has continued in his role as spiritual adviser to the DCCW. He also received a round of applause for his golden jubilee of ordination, which he celebrated since the last appreciation luncheon was held.

President Agnes Christman of Danville presented Imperative Awards to Pat and Tom Pelger of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Peoria and Karen Small of St. Jude Parish in Peoria.

The Pelgers were honored not only for being active in their parish, but for their work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Tom is president of the society’s diocesan conference and serves on the national council and the national systemic change task force. Pat serves as spiritual adviser of the conference for St. Jude and St. Vincent de Paul parishes.

Small was recognized for serving as secretary to the Chicago Province of the National Council of Catholic Women while Joan Weber of Peoria served as province director. She also coordinated a province dinner at the NCCW convention. The Chicago Province includes all six dioceses in Illinois.

The Exemplar Award went to Betty Sullivan of Bradford, Maralyn Guthrie of Annawan, and Mary Anna Meyer of Peoria, all of whom have served the DCCW for many years as officers and commission chairs. Sullivan still handles international concerns, while Guthrie continues to serve the board as an adviser, and Meyer heads church concerns for the DCCW’s Spirituality Commission.

After all the awards had been given, the honorees were thanked musically by Kim Padan of Danville, who sang “How Beautiful.”

Following is the complete list of the honorees, along with a sample of the service they provide to their parishes:

— Colleen Davis, Sacred Heart, Annawan: Has run the religious formation program for years, as well as Vacation Bible School. Involved with music on Sundays and special occasions.

— Patti C. Sears, St. Anthony, Atkinson: Religious education teacher, former parish secretary and bookkeeper, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, counts Sunday collection, Annual Diocesan Appeal auditor, spring raffle subcommittee co-chair, social action chair for the Altar and Rosary Society.

— Carole Ault, St. Mary, Bloomington: Has volunteered at the parish for more than 25 years. Her service includes counting Sunday collections, organizing the Everyday Raffle, and helping with the annual St. Mary School garage sale, and Central Catholic High School “Together in the Work of the Lord” fundraiser.

— Nancy Ault, St. Mary, Bloomington: Has volunteered with her sister, Carole, for more than 25 years, doing many of the same things: counting Sunday collections, organizing the Everyday Raffle, and helping with the garage sale at St. Mary School and “Together in the Work of the Lord” fundraiser at Central Catholic High School. She also takes care of the altar linens each week.

— Suzanne Chatterton, St. Bernard, Bushnell: President of the Women’s Guild since 2012, chairs the parish’s evangelization committee, organizes the Lenten Ecumenical Luncheon, extraordinary minister of holy Communion and lector, adult faith formation facilitator, helps with funeral Mass receptions and the parish Lenten breakfast, co-founded the Bushnell Back Pack Program in 2013, providing food on the weekends for more than 52 children in grade school.

— Mary Starcevich, St. Bernard, Bushnell: In charge of cleaning the church hall and kitchen, chairs the building and grounds committee and maintains the Mary Garden, organized the recent renovation of the church restrooms and is working on rectory renovations, sings in the Sunday Choir and on feast days, treasurer of the Women’s Guild.

— Janice Allgood, St. Mary, Delavan: Manages the local food pantry and a member of “Threads of Love,” which provides knitted caps and booties and layettes for preemies at OSF Saint Francis Hospital, and Cro-Knits, which makes caps for many different groups.

— Austine Dare, St. Mary, Delavan: Organist for many years at St. Mary and now St. Joseph in Hopedale, and plays for school Masses and programs at St. Joseph in Pekin.

— Lynn Fields, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Galesburg: A member of Ladies of Mary, serves as extraordinary minister of holy Communion, lector and religious education teacher, involved in Right to Life work.

— Brianna Laugesen, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Galesburg: A member of Ladies of Mary and extraordinary minister of holy Communion.

— Mary Hughes, St. Malachy, Geneseo: Lector, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, greeter and usher, washes purificators, sings in the funeral choir and co-chairs funeral lunches, teaches the ninth grade confirmation class, member of social justice committee and JustFaith, vice president of the Altar and Rosary Society, co-chaired Winterfest fundraiser.

— Mary Ellen Lobaito, St. Malachy, Geneseo: Served on building committee, former religious education teacher, prays rosary at Hillcrest Home, cooks for Winterfest and helps with funeral lunches, longtime circle president.

— Valerie Cebulski, St. Isaac Jogues, Georgetown: Lector and chair of the Annual Diocesan Appeal, member of the parish council, president of the Altar and Rosary Society, longtime chair of the annual chili supper, orders flowers and plants them on the church and rectory grounds.

— Sherry L. Serd, St. Isaac Jogues, Georgetown: Longtime parish bookkeeper, secretary and extraordinary minister of holy Communion, Altar and Rosary Society treasurer, Annual Diocesan Appeal auditor, helps with funeral dinners and annual chili supper, cleans the church, launders and irons altar cloths, plants flower on church and rectory grounds.

— Mary Edgerley, Sacred Heart, Granville: Parish musician for 20 years, religious education teacher, 20-year member of the Altar and Rosary Society and former vice president and secretary, volunteer for Teens Encounter Christ and Light of the World retreats, volunteer for Putnam County food pantry.

— Rose Pratt, Saint John Paul II, Kewanee: Pastoral care volunteer, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, helps with funeral dinners and Altar and Rosary Society activities, taught religious education, cooked for Christ Renews His Parish weekends.

— Loretta Baucom, St. Paul, Macomb: Treasurer of the Women’s Guild for nine years, volunteers for semi-annual rummage sales, helps with funeral dinners, served as secretary for the parish council for 17 years.

— Mary Helen Brust, Sacred Heart, Moline: At 99, she continues to check and change candles in church daily and collects the money, helps with funeral lunches, cleans the church and embroiders baptismal gowns, and serves as extraordinary minister of holy Communion.

— Mary Schoeve, Sacred Heart, Moline: Chairs the Seton Bazaar, has served as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion for 25 years, washes and irons church linens, cleans the church, treasurer of the Altar and Rosary Society, makes baptismal gowns, contributes food to parish events.

— Lisa Forgie, St. Mary, Moline: Religious education teacher, secretary for Foresters Court 956, respect life committee member, lector, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, RCIA team member, member of the Altar and Rosary Society.

— Madonna Wilson, St. Mary Moline: Past president of the Altar and Rosary Society, hospital volunteer, organized the first Alleman High School Heritage Ball, Alleman Home and School and Seton Mother’s Club board member, Alleman High School board member, Knights of Columbus Auxiliary.

— Kathleen Guy, St. Joseph, Pekin: Crochets hats for the Christmas baskets the St. Vincent de Paul Society gives every year and helps with many Council of Catholic Women projects throughout the year.

— Charlene MacGregor, St. Joseph, Pekin: Ran the “white elephant” sale at the annual bake sale and quilt raffle and has been “a great addition to the CCW group.”

— Winnie Pratt, St. Jude, Peoria: Founding principal of St. Jude Catholic School, which was established in 2009. She began in 2008 and is credited with working closely with the pastor, parishioners and parish committees to get the school off the ground. The school will enroll students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade next year.

— Kathleen Waldschmidt, St. Jude, Peoria: Church cleaning team for 14 years, former president of the Women of St. Jude and current secretary, chair of the quilt raffle fundraiser and Ash Wednesday soup supper, co-chair of the Advent potluck, Women of St. Jude representative for the parish picnic.

— Debra Alsdorf, St. Mary, Pontiac: Youth ministry leader, faith formation teacher, “a great servant for our teens and our young ones.”

— Jamie Woolford, St. Mary, Pontiac: Youth minister for more than 10 years with her husband and is considered “the force behind keeping our high school and junior high students growing in their love for Jesus Christ and the church.” She is moving into ministry with college-age and young adults.

— Marilyn Dell, St. Mary of the Woods, Princeville: Has helped with many parish events, especially funeral dinners, and spends countless hours working on quilts that are raffled by the Altar and Rosary Society. “She is always ready to help with her signature smile.”

— Pat Grove, St. Mary of the Woods, Princeville: Attends daily Mass, willing to make a dish and help with funeral dinners, works on quilts for Altar and Rosary Society fundraisers, makes blankets for the Christ Child Society.

— Karen Sterling, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Silvis: Lector, has made many altar cloths, an active member of the church library, weekly eucharistic adoration.

— Rosemary Vittori, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Silvis: Co-chair for funeral lunches, board member for the parish’s ladies group, an advocate for the Adoration Chapel.

— Kathy Meyer, St. Patrick, Tolono: Extraordinary minister of holy Communion, takes Communion to parish shut-ins and the sick, takes care of altar linens, works with Catholic Charities.

— Sharon Morgan, St. Patrick, Tolono: Works with Catholic Charities to take clients to doctor appointments, do grocery shopping, etc. Takes care of the flowers and landscaping for the rectory.

— Patricia Puckett, St. John the Evangelist, Walnut: Religious education teacher, volunteer for Altar and Rosary Society fundraisers, eucharistic adoration, visits shut-ins, bakes for the elderly, helps with Knights of Columbus activities, parish photographer.

— Lois Hart, St. Mary, Westville: Religious education teacher for many years, prepares children for First Reconciliation and First Communion, serves on the combined parish council, committee chair for evangelization and catechesis, volunteers for parish functions.

— Joan Hyde, St. Mary, Westville: Lector, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, religious education teacher, funeral dinner volunteer, served on strategic planning committee.

— Donna Johnson, St. John the Apostle, Woodhull: Member of the parish for 47 years, involved with the Altar and Rosary Society, Christmas dinners, style shows and clothing drives, responsible for cleaning the church and mowing the lawn.

— Jane Petrovich, St. John the Apostle, Woodhull: Member of the Altar and Rosary Society for 41 years and former vice president, chair of the annual chicken dinner for many years, planned and organized the mother-daughter banquet, donates to local clothing drives and the food bank.

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