Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.      Matthew 6:33

Spring brings life and new growth and this is our hope for Diocesan Council of Catholic Women.  Our future is our families and especially our children.  We as mothers, grandmothers, aunts and all who impact families are called to be witnesses of a life centered in faith.

The family unit today is feeling the many pressures of raising their family amid the “common” beliefs of the society, media trends, etc.

The Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DCCW) realizes there is a need for some type of involvement in spiritual development for the family.  It is our belief that families, that are deeply rooted in their faith, tend to have children active within their church and willing to respond to the call for priesthood, sisterhood, religious and marriage.

DCCW is committing itself to presenting speakers and materials that address these needs.  Our Spring Assembly is “Igniting Holiness in Ordinary Families”.  Katie Sciba will present ways to develop a faith-filled family.  We opened up registration for the Monday evening presentation and dinner to both men and women who would like to share her presentation.  Faith and spirituality within a family are the responsibility of both the husband and wife.

The DCCW board is planning for the future to offer presentations that address other issues and concern to families.

Let’s start by Igniting Holiness in Families and let it grow with the help of the Spirit.

Darleen B. Schulte

President of GIDCCW

We represent all Catholic Women

As I count down my time as President-elect and reflect on what I have learned from my mentor, Darleen Schulte, and the other past presidents of DCCW, I get more nervous about leading this group through the next two years.  This year’s board has made it somewhat easier for me.  They have decided that our central focus for the next two years will be on the family unit and building ‘holiness’ within our families and all families that we touch.

To kick off this central focus, we have invited two dynamic speakers to our Spring Assembly that will help lead us in the right direction.  The first is Katie Sciba.  I have heard Katie speak and she not only brings a wonderful inspirational message to us as parents, but she (and you) will have fun in the process.  If I have learned one thing being a parent, you must laugh at some of the challenges that arise while parenting.  If you don’t, life will be very difficult for you.  Sanity is very important!  The Lord and laughter will help you through it.  Katie will talk about the challenges and also bring to light the solutions.

Our second speaker on Tuesday afternoon is Father Allan Phan from Crete.  His message about his life and how he came to the priesthood is an inspirational one.  He brings laughter and light to your life.  Father Phan is very relatable to our young parishioners.  Having a young son that will be attending Doane University in Crete in the fall, I am so happy that he will be able to attend Father Phan’s parish.  We all hope that our children will keep up with their mass attendance when they leave home, but it’s nice to know that there is someone near them that is easy for them to relate to.  If you have a child who is able to attend Father’s talk at Spring Assembly, I would encourage them to do so.

St. Joseph’s parish in Broken Bow has kindly agreed to prepare all our food for Spring Assembly as well as host our event.  We have tried to make it easier to stay at a venue that has elevators so no one has to climb stairs.  You have a room choice, so you may have a room to yourself if you so desire.  The Cobblestone is working to accommodate us so that we have space to meet together for some social time as well as the daily ‘fun’ breaks that we will have at the church.  We will be able to attend mass in the church making it easier for everyone.

We have some wonderful door prizes for lucky attendees as well as our normal raffle drawing.  Raffle tickets were emailed out to all parish representatives.  Please work to get these sold prior to Spring Assembly.  If you are not able to attend, feel free to mail me your tickets and I will see that they get in the drawing.  We are also accepting silent auction items.  These baskets are always a big hit.

I am attaching the entire Spring Assembly information at the end of this newsletter, so if you have had some problems getting registered or need an additional form, please refer to the end of the newsletter.

We are currently planning our Biennial Convention for August with our family focus carrying through in our speakers for this event.  Another inspirational, fun event is waiting in the wings for us.

If you are interested in attending National Convention, I encourage you to go online to the website and view the events happening in Oklahoma City for us.  The registration and agenda of events opens April 1, 2024.

Our new website and facebook page are in the works.  This should help make it easier for all of us to get information even if you are not a tech wizard because ‘she’ is!

I hope you all have a very blessed Easter.


Grand Island Board Meeting

February 15, 2024 – 10:00 am CST

St. Thomas Parish

Thedford, Nebraska

The Grand Island Board meeting was held at St. Thomas Parish on Thursday, February 15, 2024. Members present were: Darleen Schulte, Sandy Eggert, Julie Gehrig, Sharon Swett, Judy Schwartz, Fr. Vijumon, Cindy Dunbar, Tricia Ferguson, Henrietta Pelster, Vicki Harvey, Susan Johnson, Marylin Ericksen, and Loretta Hamilton. Sandy Eggert led us in the Prayer to Our Lady of Good Counsel. Darleen called the meeting to order. A quorum was determined per roll call of the Board of Directors.

The minutes of the October 16, 2023 Executive Board Meeting with Commission Chairs were read by Julie Gehrig. They were approved with the following corrections:  the town of Ericson spelled correctly, Marylin Ericksen spelled correctly and Susan Johnson added as Past Province Director.

The Treasurer’s report was presented by Sharon Swett. It was requested by the Bridgeport CCW to change their Seminary donation as follows:  $100.00 to be sent to Sam Ogden and $400.00 sent to the Seminarian fund. Sharon was to contact Judy Waggoner to the audit the Treasurer’s bookkeeping for 2023.  We received a thank you from Spirit Catholic Radio for our donation of $300.00 and a copy of the book The Eucharist is Really Jesus by Joe Heschmeyer.  The book was given to Fr. Vijumon as a door prize.

Deanery Presidents were to contact the parishes that had not paid their dues.  In order for a parish to have a vote at Convention, dues must be paid by April 1, 2024.  It was also stated that Contribution Sunday does not have be held in October. It just needs to held before April 1st.

Sandy Eggert read a letter from the Lincoln Diocese regarding our interest in ordering bags.  The bags read Catholic Women of Nebraska and list all 3 dioceses.  Loretta Hamilton made a motion to purchase 100 bag at the cost of $2.85/ea, Sandy Eggert 2nd the motion. Motion carried.

Final plans were made for Spring Assembly that will be held Monday, April 15 and Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and Cobblestone Hotel in Broken Bow, Nebraska.  Susan Johnson presented the book 77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids by Jerry Windley-Daust to be used as part of the program for Spring Assembly.  Sandy Eggert made a motion to purchase 100 of this book at the cost of $3.50/ each. Sharon Swett 2nd the motion, motion carried.

Keynote Speaker for the Assembly will be Kati Sciba.  Kati will be speaking on Monday evening and Tuesday morning.  Rev. Allan Phan will be the speaker for Tuesday afternoon.  Posters were given for parishes to take home and display in the areas.  Registration deadline for Spring Assembly is April 9, 2024.  Motel rooms are $100.00/night. Reservations need to made by each individual.  Centerpieces will be provided by Sandy Eggert and Darlene Schulte.  They will be The Holy Family figurines from Nativity scenes.  Each deanery will be in charge of the Fellowship, Social Hour and Games.  This will include each deanery bringing snack, meat and cheese tray, veggie trays and wine for the Fellowship time.  They will be in charge of setting up and tearing down. Each deanery is also to bring at least one Silent Auction item valued at least $50.00.  Raffle tickets will be sold for a drawing of 2- $50.0 prizes and 1 – $100.00 prize.

The Biennial Convention will be held on August 23 and 24, 2024.  Loretta Hamilton is the chairman of this committee and Marylin Ericksen is co-chair. The location for this Convention will be announced at Spring Assembly.

A Spiritual Bouquet was made for Sr. Sarah of Washington, D.C. We were also encouraged to continue our prayer for the two priests needing transplants.

There is a need for Parish Representatives that are willing to get information in their bulletins.  Deanery Presidents need to contact their Parish Representatives and remind them of their duties.

Websites were discussed.  A motion was made by Sandy Eggert and 2nd by Cindy Dunbar to go with Remnant Marketing, LLC Gold package. Motion carried.

Darlene Schulte is in need of a Nomination Committee for the next year’s election.  Position that will  to be voted on are:

President – Elect:

Vice President:

Secretary: Julie Gehrig


The three Commission Chairs were reminded of the need for Resolutions that will be voted on.

The current Diocesan Meeting schedule is as follows:

January                        Board Meeting

April                            Board Meeting during Spring Assembly

July                             Executive Board Meeting with Commission Chairs during

Province meeting

August 23-24              Biennial Convention

Discussion of whether to continue with Fall and Spring Deanery meetings as well as Fall Institutes was tabled until the next Board Meeting.  Also tabled was combining Deanery offices of Secretary/Treasurer and whether or not to eliminate Commission Chairs at the Deanery level.

Convention costs were discussed.  Julie Gehrig will be looking into past minutes to find when and what costs are to be reimbursed.

The next Executive Board Meeting will be held on Sunday, April 14, 2024 at 7:00 pm at Cobblestone Hotel.

Fr. Vijumon gave the closing prayers.

Respectfully submitted,

Julie Gehrig, Secretary

During the Executive Board Meeting held on February 15, 2024, we were asked to make a Spiritual Bouquet for Sister Sarah of Washington, D.C.  We were also reminded to seriously pray for the two priests within our own diocese that are in need of transplants.  Fr. Dan Gilbert, Pastor of St. Leo’s in Gordon, St. Columkille’s in Hay Springs and Immaculate Conception Church in Rushville; and Fr. Arul Raj, Innaiah Pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Crawford.

On February 18, 2024 in Scottsbluff at St. Agnes parish a Lenten Encounter Event was held along with an additional six parishes across Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa who signed into the virtual guest speaker followed by one hour of Adoration and Concessions at the local parish.  The guest speaker was Sarah Swafford; Emotional Virtue for a Drama Free Life.  The evening was coordinated by Natalie Gifford, Women at the Well.  Hundreds of women came together for one night to grow in faith and community.  It was beautiful!  The Catholic faith is very much alive in our hearts and our prayer is that we all took that love home to our ordinary families.  To view the talk by Sarah Swafford, you can go to the You Tube Channel @sarahswaffordofficial.

A Lenten Daily Prayer Journal was arranged and made available by Natalie Gifford, (through Amazon) as a guide to direct daily prayers and assist with diving deeper into the Sunday gospels.  The goal is to begin to build a habit of prayer.  Each week meditation on the Sunday Gospel readings was encouraged along with journeying through the Sorrowful Mysteries.  It is like having a personal trainer for your prayer life?

February brought an opportunity for some parishes to hold their parish collection for the Seminarian Fund.  The weekend is often prepared similar to the following:


Contribution Weekend begins as early as October and continues through April

Set your date with parish priest

Put insert in parish bulletin 2 weeks before to inform parishioners of collection and date

Consider making an announcement from the alter

Consider having a handout of Vocation prayer, maybe coffee and cookies

Consider having a poster or picture of present Seminarians for the Diocese

Remember, our goal is to be able to present Bishop Hanefeldt with at least a $10,000 check at Spring Assembly (April 15-16) which

requires support from all parishes

Send money collected to treasurer:  Sharon Swett

A new feature at the St. Agnes, Scottsbluff, Seminarian Fund collection weekend this year was to have one of Fr. Konka’s vestments on display at the collection table for all to admire and see up closely.  A remark from a couple of the younger boys of the parish,” I’m going to wear one of these someday”.  Encouraging remarks were given in response; along with comments made about today’s Seminarians.  See pictures.

Nine celebrated Jubilees at the March 18, 2024 Chrism Mass held at St. Patrick’s in North Platte.  Each year Catholics are called together for the celebration of the chrism Mass during which the bishop consecrates the oils to be used in the diocese for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination, and anointing of the sick.  The chrism Mass also serves as an opportunity for the priests to renew their commitment to the ministry of the Gospel through the priesthood.  This year within the nine celebrating jubilees was the retired Spiritual Advisor of the GIDCCW, Fr. Stephen Deaver.  Father Deaver was recognized for his 65 years of priesthood.

Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt and Father Stephen Deaver

Thank you t6o all the ladies who continue to support their church communities with many worthy projects.  (Too many to recount here)

With our fabulous Spring Assembly fast approaching, I wanted to remind you all of the diocese’s main service projects.

Please continue collecting Best Choice Labels for our Water for Life project in Haiti.  You can put a box in your grocery stores for people to drop them in.  Then collect them and bring them to Spring Assembly or you can send them to me:  Loretta Hamilton, 39147 Hamilton Road, Thedford, NE  69166.

We have ladies sewing little dresses and shorts for the children of Haiti.  We need fabric, notions, sheets, and pillowcases for these ladies.  We can also use old suitcases to pack the dresses in to take to Haiti.  If you are sewing dresses and giving them to someone else, please send me the number you contributed.

Please continue your diaper drives and activities for Women’s Pregnancy centers.

Several parishes did the Boxes of Joy this year.  I need a count on these this year.

I heard a great parish project called, “Meals to Heal”, which I thought was worth “putting out there”!!!  The Sidney ladies have created this project.  They take food to anyone from surgical patients to new mothers.  Probably a new name for something we already do in our parishes!!

Another idea I had was to promote a link between our parish children and the seminarians by writing letters to them.  The letters can be brought to Spring Assembly and sent in bulk.  Could this be done before the end of the year???

Any questions or ideas, please text me at 308-645-9947 or email


St. Patrick’s Church in Sidney will host our Alliance Deanery 2024 Spring meeting on Saturday, March 16, 2024.  Our speaker will be Liam Pelster, a participant of the 2023 World Youth Day in Portugal.  We will conclude with the Stations of the Cross.  Registration fee is $10 which includes lunch.  RXVP to Christy Ningen 308-763-8627 by March 8, 2024.

St. Agnes Catholic Church in Scottsbluff hosted our Alliance Deanery Fall meeting Saturday, October 14, 2023.  We all expressed our appreciation of the Eucharistic Panels display from Spirit Catholic Radio for the year of the Eucharistic Revival, making its way through designated parishes touring throughout our deanery.  Christy Ningen with Father Lou Nollette gave a heartfelt talk informing us about “Catholics Encounter Christ”.  We prayed the Patriotic Rosary and ended our meeting by the members filling 26 Boxes of Joy for our service project.

Henrietta Pelster, Alliance Deanery President