Being of service key for new Christ Child Society president Carol Romanowski

The board of the Christ Child Society of Central Illinois includes (from left) Judy Weber of Pontiac, circle liaison; Becky Eberle of Peoria, new recording secretary; Judy Hayes of Gridley, corresponding secretary; Father John Verrier, spiritual adviser; Carol Romanowski of Peoria, the new president; Therese Peck of Peoria, immediate past president; and Gladys Butterfield of Peoria, second vice president and layette chair. Not pictured is Becky Fay, treasurer. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

After Carol Romanowski retired in 2011, she started looking for volunteer opportunities around Peoria. Just staying busy wasn’t good enough.

“I wanted to do something I felt had a purpose,” she said.

Romanowski found it when she was talking to some traveling companions on a trip to Italy who were involved in the Christ Child Society of Central Illinois. The organization provides layettes filled with diapers, receiving blankets, and clothing for babies from families who are struggling financially.

“I sew. I can do this,” she thought to herself.

Five years later Romanowski isn’t doing much sewing, but she accepted new responsibilities when she was elected president of the Christ Child Society of Central Illinois. She was installed at the annual membership meeting on May 19 by Father John Verrier, spiritual adviser and pastor of faith communities in Brimfield and Williamsfield.

“Anything to do with infants and children was very important to me . . . and to be of service in that way.” — Carol Romanowski

Her term is for two years, although the commitment is for six. She has already served as first vice president for two years and will continue as immediate past president for two more when her term is up in 2023.

In the meantime, she assembles layettes, which she loves to do.

“It’s just fun to see all the cute baby clothes,” said Romanowski, a longtime member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Peoria.

Her reason for joining the Christ Child Society and staying involved remains the same: “Anything to do with infants and children was very important to me . . . and to be of service in that way.”

PLENTY OF ASSISTANCE

Born and raised in Peoria, Romanowski has lived here all her life. She attended St. Thomas the Apostle School in Peoria Heights and went on to Richwoods High School in Peoria.

She married her husband, Tom, at St. Thomas the Apostle Church and worked at First Federal until their son was born. They would also have a daughter and their family now includes two grandchildren.

Carol returned to work at Vonachen Service and Supply where she did accounting and payroll. When she retired the company was known as AmSan.

Her other post-retirement service has included working as a support person with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which she hopes to do again when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. She has also been involved in Bible studies at her parish, which is how she got to know Therese Peck, now the immediate past president of the Christ Child Society.

(Related story: The pandemic didn’t stop the service or mission of the Christ Child Society)

In addition to Peck, Romanowski will be assisted by Gladys Butterfield of Peoria, second vice president and her sister; Becky Fay of Peoria, treasurer; Judy Hayes of Gridley, corresponding secretary; Becky Eberle of Peoria, who was elected and installed as the recording secretary at the May meeting; and Judy Weber of Pontiac, circle liaison.

Among Romanowski’s first acts as president was to lead the applause for Circle Award winners Pat Grove of Princeville, Pam Tomlianovich of Peoria, and Ingrid Ruscheinski of Peoria, as well as Elaine Mills of Peoria, the recipient of the Red Wagon Award.

There were also flowers and applause for Peck, who served as president during an unprecedented and challenging time.

PRIORITIES SET

Increasing membership is a priority for Romanowski, who reminded potential members that she is not doing what initially drew her to the Christ Child Society.

“And that’s the beauty of it,” she said. “People who can sew and enjoy sewing, there’s something for them to do. And also for those who don’t sew there’s just a lot of other tasks that need to be completed,” she said.

The group is meeting again on the first Wednesday and third Monday of the month at the workshop on the lower level of the Family Resources Center, 415 N.E. Monroe St., in Peoria. They start working at 12:30 p.m.

“We do have a prayer apostolate, too,” Romanowski said. “That is for people who want to pray daily for Christ Child and its mission, but can’t come or can’t physically be with us. That’s another opportunity.”

More than 90 layettes have been provided to hospitals, clinics and crisis pregnancy centers since the beginning of this year and Romanowski looks forward to providing more.

“It’s nice seeing those layettes going out, taking them to the facilities. That’s what we want to do. That’s our ultimate goal,” she said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information about the Christ Child Society of Central Illinois, call (309) 677-7697.

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