Advertisements ad

November 8, 2009

Conversion, marriage was on cardinal’s mind at ACCW lunch

By Joyce Duriga


For more than 77 years, the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women has gathered for an annual lunch to award scholarships, present donations to charities and celebrate what it means to be a Catholic woman. This year was no different, with around 500 guests gathering Oct. 24 at the Westin Michigan Avenue Hotel in Chicago for the ACCW’s fall assembly luncheon.

Many turned out to see Chicago native and actress Joan Cusack Burke receive the 2009 Chicago Woman of the Year award, but Cusack came down with the H1N1 virus and was unable to make the event.

But attendees did see Erin Sexton receive the group’s annual essay contest scholarship. The ACCW also presented $3,500 each to both the Priests’ Retirement Mutual Aid Association and the Retirement Fund for Religious. The donations were profits from the ACCW’s second “Padres Plus on Parade.”

Cardinal George also attended the luncheon and addressed the women. His own mother regularly attended the ACCW’s luncheons back when Cardinal Samuel Stritch shepherded the archdiocese.

Cardinal George spoke to the women about the Catholics Come Home campaign, which will begin in December, and the U.S. bishops’ pastoral letter on marriage that he, as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, expects will be released next month.

Catholics Come Home uses a series of television commercials to invite fallen away Catholics back to the church (see

This initiative is not about getting more donations for the church or getting people to join our club, the cardinal said. It’s an instrument to introduce people to the Savior, Jesus Christ.

He said we have to invite people to “come home where you’ll find the Lord,” not just those who gather in his name. We are “offering the greatest gift that we have. The Savior,” the cardinal said.

Many people don’t leave the church for a specific reason, he said, but rather “have just fallen out of the habit of going to church.” We must reach out to them to help them reestablish that habit.

The cardinal also asked ACCW members for support of the bishops’ marriage initiative. “Marriage is the key to society,” he said. “If the family is sound society will be sound.”

Family must be supported and fostered to preserve social well being. As should marriage, which is not an invention of the state or the church, he said.

“It’s a natural intuition.” the cardinal explained. “It’s God’s invention. It’s in nature itself.”