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Discipleship focus of OACCW convention

By Brian Fuchser
The Catholic Voice

"Can you hear me now?"

Father Dave Belt, pastor of Sacred Heart/St. Mary Parish in Norfolk and president of Norfolk Catholic Junior/Senior High School, used this popular question to challenge members of the Omaha Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women at the council's annual convention Sept. 27 in Norfolk.

In his address, "Can you hear me now?: Living as one who listens," Father Belt asked the more than 275 council members attending the OACCW's 80th convention "What does it mean to be a disciple?"

"This relationship with Jesus Christ has consequences," he said. "Discipleship is about being in an intimate relationship with Jesus to whom we belong."

Father Belt said people often find themselves burdened with the serving aspect of discipleship rather than the being aspect, which is more important to God.

"God created us as human beings, not human doers," he said. "Discipleship includes activity, but it all flows from the conversation that we have with God in prayer. How can we become like Mary? How can our beings rejoice in God our savior?"

The answer, Father Belt said, is that true discipleship "is living as one who listens."

"We have to listen for and listen to the message of God," he said. "Are we able to listen to the message? Am I listening to God, or am I hearing the noise of life? Our primary call is to be in relationship with the one who created us and to be attentive to the sound of his voice. Sometimes God whispers and sometimes God shouts, 'Can you hear me now?'"

This year's convention, held at Divot's Conference Center and hosted by the women of the Rural Northeast Deanery, also featured the presentation of the annual Mullen Award to Colleen Minturn of St. Philip Neri Parish in Omaha and Mass with Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss presiding.

The program also included a report on the Synod from the archbishop, the annual "Penny and A Prayer" donation and a talk by Mary Maxwell of Omaha entitled "Is it Just Me?"

Archbishop Curtiss told the council members that the Synod held in July, was "an interesting experience for us."

He said there has been "considerable change in the life of the Church since the Second Vatican Council," which was evidenced by the differences in the makeup of the delegates to this most recent Synod versus the delegates to the last Synod held in the Archdiocese, all of whom were priests.

The Synod focused on the archdiocese's priorities and what should be done, he said.

"The priority of the Eucharist was really focused," the archbishop said. "We are a Eucharistic people."

One of the areas of concern, Archbishop Curtiss said, was the understanding of the liturgy and the fact that many Catholics, especially in the urban areas of the archdiocese, don't go to Mass every Sunday.

"The Eucharist is not the priority it should be in some of these Catholics' lives," he said.

Implementing the results of the Synod he concluded is going to be a "challenge for us, but it's going to be a blessing."

The "Penny and A Prayer" project donation of $7,565.16 was presented by Msgr. Edgar J. Wortmann, OACCW moderator, who was recognized for his 35 years of service to the OACCW.

Through the donation from the "Penny and A Prayer" project, OACCW members offer a prayer each day for vocations and a penny a week to educate priests. The donation will be added to the endowment fund for the education of seminarians studying for the Archdiocese of Omaha.

"The important thing that I want to emphasis is keep those prayers," Msgr. Wortmann said. "Don't forget those prayers."

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