DCCW ladies meet for 62nd annual convention

During the annual Diocesan Council of Catholic Women convention, Mary Ann Till (right), Clerical Endowment Fund president, and outgoing DCCW president Judy Edwards presented Msgr. Mike Sis a check for more than $147,000. The money was collected through the Clerical Endowment Fund and will be used toward the education of the seminarians studying for the Austin Diocese. (Photo by Enedelia J. Obregón)

By Enedelia J. Obregón

Senior Correspondent

The Diocesan Council of Catholic Women continued their mission to help each other grow in faith as well as to support the education of the next generation of priests at their 62nd annual convention.

The council also presented Msgr. Mike Sis, Vicar General for the Diocese of Austin, with a check for $147,426.14, which will go to the education of seminarians. The diocese has 41 men in seminary, five of whom will be ordained June 8 at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Austin.

The first day of the convention was the feast of the Annunciation. Msgr. Sis, who celebrated Mass with the group, said in his homily that during this Year of Faith, women should focus on the Blessed Virgin Mary and her example of motherhood, obedience and faith.

"If it were not for the fact that Mary accepted the gift of motherhood, we would not be here," he said. "If women do not accept that gift, the human race would end in a generation."

When she said "yes" to the gift of life, Jesus became incarnate and brought about the salvation of humanity. Mary was also obedient, he said.

"It’s not always easy," Msgr. Sis said, noting it’s a recurring theme in Isaiah and other prophets of the Old Testament. Mary, however, trusted the Archangel Gabriel .

"Under the law she could have been stoned to death" because she was unmarried and pregnant, Msgr. Sis said. "The archangel tells her ‘nothing is impossible with God.’"

With her reply, "May it be done to me according to your word," she put all her trust in God’s power, he said.

Too often, we are in a "battle of the wills" with God and the result is unhappiness and stress when we choose to do what we want, he said. Instead, we should pray and ask God, "What do you want?"

Mary, Msgr. Sis noted, is the embodiment of faith, and we should follow her example.

"As Catholics we need to learn our faith deeply and profess it boldly and be witnesses by the way we live," he said.

After Mass, Msgr. Sis praised members of the DCCW for their commitment to parish life and financial support to the diocese for priestly formation.

"I was vocations director for a few years and the budget for the vocations office was tremendously supported by the Clerical Endowment Fund," he said.

They also support individual priests at the parish level, he said.

"The life of a parish priest is incredibly challenging … people are quick to complain when something doesn’t go their way," he said. "That can cause incredible pain to a priest when it’s not done in a charitable way. So the consistent support from the DCCW is very nourishing and encouraging for parish priests. Their consistent dedication and faithful support is the key."

The keynote speaker at the convention was Dina Dwyer-Owens, who shared how she lives her faith daily, including at work as chairman and CEO of the Dwyer Group in Waco. She became CEO in 1999 after the death of her father, Don, who founded the holding company in 1981 with seven franchises.

"Treat people with respect," she said. "Profits will follow. Focus on high standards, not profit."

Dwyer-Owens, a parishioner at St. Louis Parish in Waco, said she is following the values enshrined by her father: respect, integrity, customer focus and having fun. She wrote a book titled "Live RICH," using the acronym of those values.

"You must re-earn your position every day in every way," said Dwyer-Owens, who was in the television reality show "Undercover Boss" in 2012 and again in May. "It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday. It’s what you do today."

Dwyer-Owens said she took her father’s values and adapted them for the corporate world.

"These can work at school, home, church," she said, noting that they transcend all religions.

One reason these values were easily adopted by employees was that they were able to point out when management violated the values.

"We told them when they saw us violating those values to just ‘beep,’" she said. Before long, "the employees were beeping us!"

She said most companies don’t give employees the power to catch management doing something wrong.

One of the rules is that we don’t say anything about anyone that we wouldn’t say to their face and it should be constructive, she said.

"You shouldn’t say it to anyone except that person," she added.

Whenever three or more employees in any of the franchises or in management meet, they are also encouraged to read the values as a group.

"It takes discipline and cooperation," she said. "As CEO, I better lead by example."

Dwyer-Owens said that visiting those values on a regular basis helps remind everyone to live them. Too often, she said, a business will have a mission statement that never gets read once it is written and employees may not even know it exists.

Dwyer-Owens said the company employees live those core values by listening and acknowledging that what is being said is important to the speaker; by responding in a timely fashion, speaking calmly and professionally without using profanity or sarcasm; acknowledging that everyone is right from their own perspective; making agreements they are able and willing to keep; communicating about any potential broken agreements; operating in a responsible manner; communicating honestly and with purpose; asking for clarification if they disagree or misunderstand; and having fun.

For more information about the DCCW, visit www.adccw.com.

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