by Joyce A. Mitchell
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — For all the advances and conveniences of the modern world, people still look for ways to grow in their faith — to learn to pray better. The Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women is trying to become a network for modern women trying to squeeze spiritual growth into their cramped schedules.
Many younger Catholic women think of the Altar Societies of the past as “little old ladies and card playing,” explained Terry Beth Lewerenz, president of the ACCW, and that stereotype often keeps them from approaching the parish group.
“When I was growing up, everyone knew about it,” she said. But now, “it has fallen from being the center of women’s lives.”
Catholic women are still active in the organizations in their parishes, of course. But they might not realize that by doing so, they are also part of the ACCW, which is, in turn, part of a worldwide organization. Lewerenz, a member of Church of the Nativity in Leawood, sees the larger group as a network where Catholic women can come together and feel unified and supported in their faith.
An ACCW-sponsored retreat on Feb. 28, just as Lent begins, will offer women of the archdiocese a chance to reflect on how to fit faith into their busy lives. Archbishop Emeritus James P. Keleher will lead the retreat, called “Holiness Becomes You: The Secret to Becoming Closer to Christ,” which will address what Catholics believe and how Catholic women can live lives of love, virtue and prayer. Mass and Benediction will also be part of the day.
The retreat will be a good opportunity, said Lewerenz, for “growing closer to Christ and growing in holiness.”
The St. Agnes Altar Society will have books for sale; handmade rosaries, religious statues and other articles of devotion will be available for purchase as well.
The participants will also get a preview of the ACCW Web site, which will be unveiled in the spring. Lewerenz said Pope Benedict XVI has spoken of the need to use the Internet for evangelization and the “re-evangelization of Catholics who never had a lot of Catholic formation.”
Through the Web site, the ACCW hopes to appeal to a younger generation seeking an online meeting place where they can post faith questions, learn about news in the universal church and find links to other Catholic Web sites.
The cost is $35 for the retreat, which begins at 9:30 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. at Savior Pastoral Center, 12601 Parallel Pkwy., Kansas City, Kan. The cost includes a light breakfast and lunch. The registration deadline is Feb. 25. Checks may be mailed to: Terry Barnes, 9812 Pawnee, Overland Park, KS 66206.
For more information, call (913) 383-1411.
Rooms are available at reasonable prices at the pastoral center for those who may want to arrive the night before or stay to shop at the nearby Legends complex.