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Ann Keller, left, Sister of Saint Francis Rita Neyens and Mary Mlnarik, all members of St. Patrick Parish in O’Neill, talk Sept. 21 with Father James Weeder, associate pastor of St. Patrick and of St. Joseph Parish in Amelia, at the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women convention in O’Neill.

More than 200 members attend OACCW convention in O’Neill

Mary Lee Konz

A grandmother, her daughter and granddaughter – three generations – were among the more than 200 women sharing prayer, learning and fun at the Omaha Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (OACCW) convention Sept. 21 in O’Neill.

Yvonne Thramer, Becky Kaczor and Becky’s daughter, Candice Hoke, all from St. Peter de Alcántra Parish in Ewing, also collected $20 from their pastor, Father James Kramper, who is OACCW’s spiritual adviser.

Father Kramper promised $20 from the OACCW to any three-generation attendees, and $2 bills to two-generation families in attendance. They found 10 two-generation and spent $60 all told, including Father Kramper loosening the rules and granting $20 to a group that proclaimed: "We’re three sisters."

Father Kramper, who also is pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Deloit Township, rural Holt County, and St. Theresa of Avila Parish in Clearwater, said the multigenerational prizes are one way to publicize the need for the next generation to join OACCW, which is intended to be a voice for women across the archdiocese.

"We just came back from the national convention, where they reminded us the bishops of America started the National Council of Catholic Women 95 years ago, in 1920, to be the voice of Catholic women in the church," he said.

"I feel the same on the local level. We need the altar societies and other groups in parishes, but we also need deanery and archdiocesan levels to have a voice."

And that’s how the OACCW is organized – with deanery presidents and diocesan officers. All Catholic women across the archdiocese are considered members and all are invited to participate, said Theresa Pavlik, president.

Among other activities, the group raises money for seminarians – more than $10,000 this year – is active in pro-life and domestic violence issues and works hard to enhance women’s spirituality, said Pavlik, who was among seven women from the archdiocese who joined Father Kramper at the national convention Sept. 9-12 in Orlando, Fla.

The keynote speaker at the archdiocesan convention was Sheri Wohlfert, a faith-based motivational humorist from Michigan. Updates on the Legislature and other issues were provided by Greg Schleppenbach, executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, and Sheri Rickert, policy director and general counsel.

In addition, Ed Flanagan of Immaculate Conception Parish at Boys Town and a great-nephew of Boys Town founder Father Edward Flanagan, joined another member of the Father Flanagan League Society of Devotion to talk about his great-uncle’s sainthood cause.

Mullen Award winner’s service
spans more than 25 years

Mary Lee Konz of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Genoa, an active member of the Omaha Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women for more than 25 years, was surprised to take home the Mullen Award, presented annually for service to family, church and community.

"It was a shock," said Konz, who was accompanied by her husband, David, son and daughter-in-law Tim and Sheri Konz, all of St. Rose of Lima Parish, and her daughter Suzanne Schweitz of Fullerton. Three other sons could not attend the convention.

Active as well in her parish and community, and a past OACCW president and most recently recording secretary until stepping down earlier this year as she battles breast cancer, Konz said she enjoys the faith-filled women who make up the council.

"It’s a fine bunch of ladies," she said.

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