McHenry Deanery DCCW Honors Women of Inspiration
Patricia Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
September 22, 2022
MCHENRY—Sixteen “Catholic Women of Inspiration” were honored this year by the McHenry Deanery, Rockford Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DCCW), for quietly and selflessly serving as true role models keeping their parishes active and strong.
These humble women were recognized during a late-afternoon celebration in a room overflowing with nearly 300 guests for a special dinner at Church of Holy Apostles in McHenry on Sept. 18. 
Father Paul White, pastor, who is also spiritual director of the McHenry Deanery DCCW, welcomed all of the guests and remarkable women. Special guests in attendance included Josie Whaley, president, Rockford Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DCCW), and spiritual director, Msgr. Thomas Dzielak.
Each “Woman of Inspiration” was individually introduced and received a special certificate which was given for “outstanding commitment and dedication to the McHenry Deanery Council of Catholic Women.” Each received personal congratulations from Bishop David Malloy and her pastor or parish representative, who spoke of her accomplishments. 
This year’s women of inspiration recipients volunteer much of their time in a variety of parish ministry capacities, ranging from Hispanic, confirmation and Eucharistic ministries; leading groups to making baby quilts for 1st Way Life Center; founding the Crystal Lake Food Pantry; being part of the St. Vincent de Paul Society; and creating a parish 125th anniversary quilt. And that’s just a mere start of the efforts contributed by all of these women.
Bishop Malloy acknowledged all of the women being honored. “With all of the great stories we heard about each of the recipients,” he said, “what a great representation of the love of Christ and faith.” He also thanked the priests for their inspiration.
Bishop Malloy shared the importance of coming back to Mass, praying for vocations, and the meaning of the Eucharist. He noted “how great it is to have this gathering here today. With post-COVID, people are coming back together again, sharing, building community and fraternity. Let’s not forget that people still need to be pushed back to Mass, too.”
Noting that women are the prayer givers, he asked everyone to pray for vocations to the priesthood. He also said that the Poor Clares in Rockford are welcoming more young women to their monastery and that they are regarded as the largest Poor Clare religious community in the United States.
He reminded the crowd too that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has instituted a three-year plan to strengthen faith of the Eucharist, which has gone tepid among Catholics in recent years. “Take those embers that have burned down and blow them into flames that others will be joined in the Eucharist,” Bishop Malloy said.
The “Catholic Women of Inspiration” event was filled with joy as pastors, parish members, families, and friends celebrated the women who give of themselves every single day to their parishes.
Luke Mann, whose mother Celeste Mann was honored by St. Mary Parish in McHenry, said, “My mother has done a lot at St. Mary’s. It’s amazing to see.” He and his wife Laurie were among a total of 15 family members who were on hand to support her on this special day. 
Upon receiving the recognition, Celeste Mann, St. Mary choir director, noted that “I am truly humbled and honored.”
The event included a special fundraising raffle with proceeds to be given to 1st Way Pregnancy Centers in Johnsburg and McHenry to help women in need with their personal struggles.
The event program given to attendees listed in detail the many giving works each of the 16 women of inspiration provide to their parish and community. 
Barb Russell, president, McHenry Deanery, DCCW, said, “This is a great way to recognize the ladies who work so very hard behind the scenes. No one knows what they do. When I read the long list of things each woman does, I wondered, when do they sleep?”
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