For Immediate Release Washington, D.C. October 2014—Nearly 600 Catholic women leaders from around the country gathered in Grand Rapids this past week at annual convention—a huge success for Catholic women.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the site of the National Council of Catholic Women’s 2014 National Convention. Held at the historic Amway Grand Plaza Hotel from September 24-27, the annual gathering of women leaders was a huge success, with nearly six hundred registrants—representing hundreds of thousands of Catholic women nationwide (and even Canada!)—who attended talks and educational seminars, worshipped, and enjoyed fellowship.

Executive President Rebecca Woodhull said, “This has been a joy-filled convention. You can just feel the energy of the ladies in every session. The Holy Spirit and Our Lady of Good Counsel are with us!”

Nearly 40 priests and 7 bishops celebrated Holy Mass with the convention participants. Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr., Episcopal Liaison, Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, was the Principal Celebrant of the opening Mass, which was concelebrated by Archbishop John Nienstedt, St. Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese; Bishop Earl A. Boyea, Lansing Diocese; and Bishop Steven J. Raica, Gaylord Diocese. Friday liturgy was celebrated by Archbishop John Nienstedt, Archdiocese of St Paul/Minneapolis as Principal Celebrant, with Father James Stembler, National Chair of Spiritual Advisors as homilist; Bishop Paul Bradley, Kalamazoo Diocese; Bishop Steven J. Raica; and Bishop Donald Hanchon, Detroit Archdiocese. The closing Mass on Saturday was celebrated by Bishop David Walkowiak, Grand Rapids Diocese. Beautiful liturgical music was provided by local choirs and musicians.

In addition to daily Mass, convention attendees were able to enjoy morning and evening prayer, Rosary on the River, reconciliation, and many lively activities such as a purse auction, silent auction, and “Padres and Madres on Parade,” a talent show performed by the Spiritual Advisors to NCCW. Each day of the convention, the women enjoyed the opportunity to experience ArtPrize throughout the streets of Grand Rapids under a flawless blue sky.

Nationally known speakers and authors Dr. Ralph Martin and Teresa Tomeo were keynote speakers at the 2014 convention, whose theme was “Be the Voice of Catholic Women: Catholic Women United in Truth.” Martin’s talk, "Catholic Women and the New Evangelization: Why Bother" focused on what exactly is evangelization, and he stirred the women to action: “Why evangelize? Souls are at stake!” Teresa Tomeo discussed “Families and the Media: Helping Families Navigate Today's Cultural Challenges” and urged everyone to work to change the culture that objectifies women and erodes their self-respect through violent and pornographic media content.

Other speakers in the action-packed schedule included motivational speaker and humorist Sheri Wohlfert as a rousing breakfast speaker; Joyce Coronel, award-winning reporter and columnist for the Phoenix Catholic Sun; Jane Knuth, author of Thrift Store Saints: Meeting Jesus 25 Cents at a Time; and Vicki Thorn, the founder of Project Rachel and the executive director of the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing.

A new program for evangelization, We Are Called to Witness, specifically created for women by the NCCW Leadership Commission, was unveiled at the convention. This program is designed to help members and affiliations discover and actively participate in sharing the Good News, the joy of Jesus. The comprehensive program will be translated into three languages and will be available on the NCCW website, nccw.org.

Convention attendees donated a “mountain” of diapers along with baby layette items to HELP Pregnancy Crisis Aid, Inc. of Grand Rapids.

Established in 1920, the National Council of Catholic Women acts through its membership to support, empower, and educate all Catholic women in spirituality, leadership and service. NCCW programs respond with Gospel values to the needs of the Church and society in the modern world. The 2015 Annual Convention will be held in Orlando, Florida.

For more information, please contact Laraine Bennett at 703-224-0990 or email lbennett@nccw.org. See the NCCW website at nccw.org.

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