DCCW Learns about Generational Impact on the Church
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
April 12, 2018
ROCKFORD—How to pass on the Catholic faith, and how to add and retain members in church organizations and ministries were two of the questions being examined at the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s Biennial Convention.
 
Women from parish organizations throughout the Diocese of Rockford traveled to St. James Parish, here,  April 7 for a day-long meeting and to examine how the faith has been practiced and impacted over time, beginning with the “Silent Generation.” 
 
Keynote speaker Sandy Blevins presented a portrait of each generation and how popular culture and society has influenced each one’s view and practice (or lack of practice) of the Catholic faith. 
 
Highlighted were:
– The Silent Generation: those born 1927-1945
– Baby Boomers: 1946-1964
– Gen X: 1965-1980
– Millennials: 1981-1995
– Gen Z: 1996-present
 
After Blevins, a theology teacher at Boylan Central Catholic High School, outlined generational views, she summarized how parishes might prepare to best use the gifts and talents of those coming of age. 
 
Many young people are not well catechized and remain unaffiliated with religious groups, she said, but  “there is great hope” for the future.
 
“The teens I see in the classroom are very educated,” she said. “They are very aware of the world around them and they want more. They love confession and they love adoration … they do!” she said. 
 
“There is hope. We just need to encounter them in ways they can understand and share our faith, our stories (with young people) whenever we get the chance.” 
 
Blevins also shared tips from Our Sunday Visitor to help grandparents pass on the faith. 
 
During the morning business meeting,  members heard reports from each of the seven deaneries in the diocese, and took a vote on bylaw changes. 
 
Legislative advocacy committee chair Jane Carrell urged the women to learn about and participate in the April 23 Sex Ed Sit Out protest against explicit sex education in public schools. More information, she said, can be found on Facebook or at sexedsitout.com.
 
In his report, DCCW spiritual advisor, Msgr. Thomas Dzielak, lauded the women’s efforts.
 
“I guess it’s no secret that the work done in the church is done by women,” he said to much laughter. “We want our priests to recognize and appreciate that fact. We want to encourage the priests to support DCCW and get the word out to the seminarians about the work being done,” Msgr. Dzielak said.
 
He shared his introduction to the women’s organization more than 30 years ago.
 
“I didn’t know anything about DCCW. It was Father (William) Regnier who asked me to go to the national convention ... and that’s the first I knew about all the great work done nationally and internationally by women,” he said.
 
He also encouraged them to promote individual membership in honor of the national CCW centennial in 2020.
 
“It was almost 100 years ago that the U.S. bishops asked the women in the church to help with relief efforts after World War I and here we are today still working, still making a difference, still serving others,” Msgr. Dzielak.
 
After the business meeting Msgr. Dzielak celebrated Mass and installed DCCW officers, Cathy Vendemia, president; Sharon Schindler, vice president; Carol Linkenheld, secretary; Jean Nosek, treasurer.  
 
The collection taken up during the Mass will go to support Bishop David Malloy’s prison ministry and to provide missalettes and religious reading material for the incarcerated. 
 
Attendees also shared a luncheon and bag raffles with gift cards donated by diocesan parish women’s groups.