PDCCW holds prayer service via phone, cancels Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, is surrounded by the volunteers honored by the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women last April. This year's Volunteer Appreciation Mass and Luncheon has been canceled because of coronavirus restrictions. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Prayer knows no social distancing and on Palm Sunday the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women invited people to join them across the miles — and phone lines — to seek God’s aid in ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

The prayer service, conducted by conference call, was the first of its kind for the PDCCW.

“I think it’s a good time to take advantage of the technology we have, to use the technology for the glory of God,” said Kim Padan of Danville, president. “So often technology is used in a profane manner, but we can use it to glorify God and we can use it to help build up his church and help stay connected with one another.”

Kim Padan

The idea for the prayer service came from longtime PDCCW member Nympha White of Grand Ridge, who said they needed to do something as a council to pray for an end to the pandemic. It came together quickly, with the details sent to those on the PDCCW’s email list just three days before it was to take place.

At the time, Padan said they wanted to see how it worked out logistically and would do it again if people expressed an interest in continuing.

Padan worked with Mary Anna Meyer of Peoria, chair of the PDCCW Spirituality Commission, to develop the prayer service, which lasted about 15 minutes. It included Pope Francis’ prayer asking Mary to protect Italy and the world from the coronavirus pandemic, the Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, and the Prayer to Our Lady of Good Counsel, patroness of the National Council of Catholic Women. There was also a reading from Matthew 9:18-26 about the healing of the Roman official’s daughter and the woman with the hemorrhages.

Before she led the phone community in Psalm 146, Padan asked that they pray that God would save those who are sick, for the safety of health care workers, for the unemployed and those recently laid off, for business owners who are struggling, and for families who are under stress.

“Continue to be strengthened in faith and share your faith with those who are around you,” Padan said as the prayer service ended. “In phone calls, notes, if you’re on social media, reach out to people so that everyone remembers how holy this week truly is.”

MASS, LUNCHEON CANCELED

While the PDCCW conquered technology for the prayer service, the group couldn’t overcome the obstacles to rescheduling the annual Volunteer Appreciation Mass and Luncheon. The event, which was planned for April 30, typically honors more than 50 women from around the Diocese of Peoria for their service to their parishes and the church.

“It was hard to make the decision and we talked for quite a while,” Padan said. “It’s difficult, but we’re in it with the rest of the world. We just have to do the best we can in terms of remaining connected with each other and praying with each other.”

One thing she is certain of is that the volunteers will continue to do “something beautiful for the church, even as they’re sitting at home.”

“These women are the kind of women who are going to be praying the rosary still and they’re probably watching Mass somewhere and reading books. The women that we see at our event every year are good people who are continuing to live out their faith in some way,” she said.

If parishes choose to honor them before next year’s Mass and luncheon, she said she would understand, noting it would be “a beautiful thing to do.”

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