Discernment at Forum 2020

MCCW will discern the following positions during Forum 2020:
  • President
  • Director of Forum 2022
  • Director of Finance
  • Director of Communications
  • Director At-Large (1)
If you feel called to serve MCCW at the Worldwide level in one of these positions, email Discernment Coordinator Kelly Oliver at discernment@nullmccw.org. Personal discernment packets are available online and are due no later than March 15, 2020.

Promised Priest Silent Auction Update

By: Denise Hummel, Director at Large, Seminarian Support

One of the most enjoyed traditions of MCCW retreats and forums is our silent auctions.   When we meet in San Antonio, Texas, this long-standing tradition will continue. You are invited to create a themed basket for our Promised Priest Silent Auction. All baskets need to be pre-registered by completing this Google form.  

Proceeds generated from the auction will directly benefit the Military Council of Catholic Women Endowed Co-Sponsored Seminarian Scholarship.  As you may recall, last year we endowed this scholarship with generous contributions from MCCW members. We thank you and continue to ask for your support of our perpetual charity.  

We are also excited to share that one of our co-sponsored seminarians, David Chacko, will be present during Forum 2020.   He looks forward to sharing his vocation story with you and will attend our banquet and Promised Priest Silent Auction. As you make final plans to attend the wonderful MCCW reunion in San Antonio, remember to prepare a themed basket, pack your checkbooks, and show your love and support for our beloved seminarians — those who will one day serve both God and country. 

Forum Awards and Recognition

By: Denise Hummel, Forum Awards and Recognition Chair

MCCW recognizes the time, talents, and treasures of women who lovingly serve our organization. Two women who have gone before us and significantly impacted the formation of MCCW are Sheila Baker and Mary Ann Ernst. Two awards have been created in memory of these ladies: the Sheila Baker Award for Outstanding Achievement and the Mary Ann Ernst Regional Harmony Award. Both awards recognize selfless service to MCCW.

Sheila Baker 

Sheila Baker’s involvement with MCCW began in the early 1970s. She worked tirelessly at all levels of MCCW— from the chapel level, at the area now reorganized as the regional level, and on to the national level. Sheila was President of MCCW-Europe for two terms in the early 1990s. Sheila was a true leader and role model. She was a mentor and friend of MCCW for nearly thirty years.

In order to honor Sheila and her memory, this award is to be presented to members of MCCW who have exhibited enduring and outstanding support and accomplishments in furthering the goals and mission of MCCW-Worldwide.

If you would like to nominate an individual to be considered a recipient of the 2020Sheila Baker Award, please complete this form.

Past Recipients of the Sheila Baker Award

  • Atlanta 2016

    Alba Thompson

    Mary Clark

  • San Antonio 2008

    Maria Scott

    Ginger Flemming

  • Baltimore 2010

    Michelle Hokenson

    Carol Fountain

  • Chattanooga 2014

    Susan Boling

  • Washington, D.C. 2016

    Lisa Donahue

    Lisa Miklos

  • San Diego 2018

    Marcia Stokes

    Beth Manning

Mary Ann Ernst

Mary Ann Ernst was a selfless servant and a unifying leader. She was a mentor and friend to MCCW for more than 20 years. Mary Ann’s involvement with MCCW began when she started worshiping in military chapels. She worked tirelessly at all levels of MCCW — at the chapel and regional levels, as well as on the MCCW-Worldwide board of directors.

In order to honor Mary Ann and her memory, this award is to be presented to members of MCCW’s regions who have exhibited selfless service and outstanding support in furthering the goals and mission of MCCW-Worldwide and in bringing harmony to the communities in which she has lived and worshiped.

If you would like to nominate an individual to be considered a recipient of the 2020 Mary Ann Ernst Regional Harmony Award, please complete this form.

Past Recipients of the Mary Ann Ernst Regional Harmony Award

  • Chattanooga 2014

    Kelly Oliver

    Joycelyn Laus

    Robin Carlino

    Brenda Wile

  • Washington, D.C. 2016

    Bernadette Kovalsick

    Lynda MacFarland

  • San Diego 2018

    Jen Carter

    Denise Hummel

    Diana Rudzika

    Dollia Lemus

Forum 2020 Liturgical Volunteer Opportunities

The Forum 2020 team continues to work hard creating a spectacular event for you. One of the blessings that come from an event of this magnitude is the opportunity we have to participate, together, in various liturgical activities.

Knowing that many hands make light work, I come to you asking for assistance. If you are certified by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, (or will be by April), then please look at our sign up genius for opportunities to Lector, serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, lead morning or evening devotionals, and more.

One of the notable things we are searching for are volunteers who are willing to lead a portion of the Rosary in a foreign language. It does not matter what language. In fact, the more the better. If you speak Italian, Polish, German, Korean, Japanese, Spanish or another language, please consider sharing your voice to this multi-cultural rosary event.

We have also created a Forum 2020 music ministry Facebook group for those who are interested in participating in the choir. All music will be sent via email for you to practice on your own, as well as a choir practice session during Forum itself. If you love to sing, we would love to have you be a part of the choir. No experience is necessary.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at forum@nullmccw.org or our Forum 2020 Liturgist, Kristen Foss, at liturgical@nullmccw.org.

Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Good Counsel Shrine

By: Kim Miller, President

Our Lady of Good Counsel has long been the patroness of the Military Council of Catholic Women, and last month Aly Tugaoen, MCCW Director of Forum, and I had the blessing of visiting the Shrine to Our Lady of Good Counsel in Genazzano, Italy. 

It was a rainy, cold Tuesday when we set off to the little town, 40 minutes from Rome, where the original image of Our Lady of Good Counsel is said to have appeared suddenly in a small country church. 

After short trips on the metro and the train, we arrived in a small town near Genazzano from which we would have to continue our journey by taxi. We inquired in the train station about a local taxi and were directed to a phone number on a sticker near the door. The taxi driver who answered told us his taxi was “In Rome for work” but that he would send a friend. Note: he didn’t mean a friend who was a taxi driver, nope, just a friend. 

Twenty minutes later we were on the road again with the friend and on our way to see Our Lady of Good Counsel. On the way, I did my best in my very rudimentary Italian to explain where we were going and ask if the friend could return in two hours to pick us up. The friend agreed as he drove up the winding cobblestone road to a church on the top of a hill in this tiny Italian village. Meeting of the minds complete on our pick-up time, the friend dropped us off at our pilgrimage destination. 

We proceeded into the dimly lit church and took our time admiring the beautiful works of art that seem to populate every church, no matter how humble, in Italy. We were greeted by a priest, who explained that he was from another small town but was helping out today and offered any help we needed during our visit. 

Finally, we found ourselves in front of the shrine. The small image of Our Lady of Good Counsel is in a locked side altar, displayed in an ornate gold frame and adorned with flowers and candles. 

Aly’s and my motto for our trip, which included both the European and Asian retreats, was “This is where we are today! This is what we are doing today!” and we felt that same awe being in front of this venerated image of our patroness. 

After time spent in silent prayer and offering up the many prayer requests we had brought with us from MCCW women around the world, we went to find the visiting priest to ask if it was possible to unlock the small altar so we could go inside. Unfortunately, the visiting priest doesn’t also get the keys to the church.

He did offer to call someone to open the small gift shop for us (Catholic women around the world must be the same — gotta bring home that church swag) and told us it would be five or ten minutes. Five or ten minutes turned into twenty or thirty minutes, but we used the time for more prayer and in Italian time, the gift shop manager showed up. 

By the time we finished shopping, it was nearly time to meet our taxi driver’s friend for our ride back to the train, so we headed back to our meeting place. But as 1 p.m. came and went, we realized that our friend wasn’t going to return for us. As we waited, we had noticed the many shops near the church closing up and the rain slowly picking up. Cold and getting wetter, we called the original taxi driver who assured us he would come for us in 45 minutes, “when it was good for him.” So we waited in the rain, during riposo (afternoon rest time for Italians) for our taxi driver to return at a time that was convenient for him–it all felt so Italian. 

Eventually, we did make it back to the train station and onto a warm train back to Rome in the now steady rain. As our Italian adventure came to a close and our feet warmed up, we reflected on our mini-pilgrimage – the silly struggles of making our way there and back, the gratefulness for the opportunity to carry your prayers with us, and the joy of being in a place so special and honoring Our Lady in whom we put our trust as we work to connect, unite, and inspire you all. 

Celebrating the New Liturgical Year 

By Nancy Belmont, Director of Faith Formation

Happy New Liturgical Year! How are you celebrating? For the first time, I am planning a liturgical year scavenger hunt for my parish in cooperation with my Director of Religious Education. Celebrating annual Catholic milestones can and SHOULD be fun. What’s the best part about the liturgical year? There’s always a reason to celebrate.

What is the liturgical year?

Our secular year is made up of seasons and holidays that make each month unique. Similarly, the Church’s liturgical year is made up of six seasons, which are Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Triduum, and Easter. It begins on the first Sunday of Advent and ends with the Feast of Christ the King.

Fun facts about the liturgical year

Triduum, composed of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, is the shortest liturgical season.  

Ordinary Time, which is divided into two parts: Ordinary Time I after Christmas and before Lent, and Ordinary Time II after Easter, is the longest. The first part of Ordinary Time lasts 4-8 weeks, and the second part lasts about six months. This year, Ordinary Time I lasts for seven full weeks. After Easter, we pick up where we left off with our winter Ordinary Time. In 2020, after 12 Sundays of Lent and Easter celebrations, we will make a sudden return to Ordinary Time on June 1, the ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time. 

Our readings go in a three-year cycle. This liturgical year, we’ll return to Cycle A and the Gospel readings for Sunday will principally be taken from Matthew.

Resources to learn more

  • To explore the “nuts and bolts” of the liturgical year, including the readings of each day, holy days for certain dioceses, and American feast days, consult “The Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America 2020,” which is published by the Committee on Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This guide also has a section entitled “Liturgical Titles in Spanish” for feast days and seasons.


  • Six-week Bible studies for your CWOC group:


Familiarize yourself with the words of Matthew, gain context for the scripture, and discuss the Bible in groups with these four studies, which explore the infancy narrative, the Sermon on the Mount, discipleship, and Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.


  • Celebrating the Liturgical Year with the Family:


Did you know that each month of the year is devoted to something specific, such as the Sacred Heart of Jesus or the Eucharist? Learn more about these Catholic traditions and how to integrate them into the life of your family by exploring the blog “Shower of Roses.” It also contains plans for Advent and Lent, printable activities, and party ideas for major feasts.

  • A spin-off of “Shower of Roses” is the culinary blog, “Catholic Cuisine.” Make every day a culinary celebration by adopting these recipes which range from simple to more involved.

For example, take this basic hot chocolate recipe and customize it to make German hot chocolate to commemorate St. Nicholas, Mexican hot chocolate to celebrate St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe, or Scandinavian orange hot chocolate in memory of St. Lucia.

Volunteer Spotlight – European and Asian Regional Teams

This month we are recognizing two amazing teams of women who are making things happen in MCCW: the European and Asian regional teams. 

Led by Amber Humphreys, the European team of Amy Vedra, Amber Wusterbarth, Kitty Eisenbeil, and Nathalie Bien-Amie, planned and hosted a wonderful four-day retreat in Rome for more than a hundred women stationed around Europe. The weekend featured keynotes by Mary Lenaburg, wonderful priest talks, and opportunities for participation in the sacraments as well as adoration and other favorite devotions. 

In Asia, Christy Kilburn led her team of Ruth Doyle, Kelly Land, Jackie Yoo, and Betsy Popham in planning and hosting MCCW’s first official Asian regional retreat. Nearly 20 women gathered at the beautiful retreat grounds at the Shrine to St. Andrew Kim to pray, worship. and learn together. The weekend’s highlights were a tour of the beautiful grounds and insightful talks and discussions about God’s grace at work in our lives. 

The work of MCCW wouldn’t be possible without amazing regional teams like these and we are deeply grateful to each of these women for sharing their time, talent, and treasure with our military sisters in Christ. 

What Does MCCW Mean to You

By: Elizabeth Tomlin, Director of Financial Stewardship

In late November, women around the globe took to social media to share what MCCW means to them as part of our #GivingTuesday campaign. From the UK to Italy, from the snowy northeast US to tropical Hawaii, women told the stories of the ways MCCW has helped them connect with their faith, their families, and their sisters in Christ. Each person who shared also asked those watching to unite with them in supporting MCCW with a financial contribution.

Thanks to the generous gifts of our donors, MCCW raised nearly $2,000 on Giving Tuesday. The funds raised that day will help MCCW:

  • Cover costs associated with hosting Forum 2020
  • Create new resources for CWOCs and other women’s ministries, including leadership training modules
  • Begin planning for 2020-2021 regional retreats in all seven regions
  • Begin planning for Forum 2022
  • Expand our Day of Reflection initiative
  • Continue providing support to our AMS seminarians

Thank you for recognizing the impact MCCW has around the world and choosing to support our efforts to connect, unite and inspire military Catholic women in locations spanning the globe.

Were you inspired?

If you were inspired by the stories shared on Giving Tuesday, or if you have been touched by the work of MCCW, there is still time to make a donation. MCCW’s work is done by an all-volunteer board and team and isn’t possible without the support of generous private donations. 

To become an MCCW supporter, please review the sponsorship information below and visit our website to become a sponsor today via online donation or by mailing a check to show your support. Thank you for your generosity to MCCW.

Our Lady of Good Counsel Sponsor

 $500 or more

Connect, Unite & Inspire Sponsor

$250 – $499 

Spirituality, Leadership & Service Sponsor

$150 – $249

Faithful Supporter 

 $50 – $149

Prayer Warrior

$0 – $50

Donations can also be mailed to:

MCCW International Board

Attention: #GivingTuesday

PO Box 4456

Washington DC 20017

Seminarian Support Updates

By: Denise Hummel, Director at Large, Seminarian Support

A few weeks ago, I visited the Archdiocese for the Military Services in Washington, D.C. Joining me on my visit was another MCCW board member, Bernadette Kovalsick. She and I met Faith Berard who serves as the new AMS secretary to Father Aidan, AMS Vocations Director. During our visit, Faith revealed to us the brand new 2019-2020 AMS co-sponsored seminarian brochure. This beautiful brochure features photographs of all 47 co-sponsored seminarians and 10 co-sponsored priests.

While visiting with Faith, I asked about the photo of Father Kapaun on the front cover on the brochure.  For over nine months, she has used this beautiful image, created by Cassie Pease, as her computer screen saver.  If you wish to see more of Cassie’s designs, visit: https://cassiepeasedesigns.com

Regarding the new brochure, if you would like to receive a copy, please send an email with your mailing address to amsliaison@nullmccw.org.  

As always, may God bless our seminarians and all those who pray for vocations to the priesthood.

Denise Hummel

A special thanks-

Thank you to Anni Harry and Religious Education students from Our Lady of the Bay Catholic Community at MacDill AFB for creating Christmas cards for our 47 AMS co-sponsored seminarians.   Your Christmas greetings will be appreciated as they are mailed to each seminarian. 


We Aren’t Meant to Go It Alone

Dear Sisters in Christ,

I am one week back from my two-week adventure to support the European and Asian regional retreats. It was an amazing trip, and I am filled with gratitude for so many things: a fantastic travel partner in Director of Forum Aly Tugaoen; time spent with fellow board member Bevin Landrum and the wonderful European and Asian regional teams; the beautiful churches and chapels in which we worshiped; and the blessing of minimal jetlag. 

But, most of all, I am grateful for the opportunity to connect with so many of you. I am grateful for the chance to worship alongside you in the Mass; for the opportunity to pray with you during Adoration; for the time to get to know you during our leadership sessions; for the conversations we enjoyed over meals; for the moments to laugh and cry with you; for the babies I got to hold (I’m looking at you Amber, Nicole, Ruth, and Jackie!). These gifts hold true not just for those two retreats, but for all of the MCCW events I attended this year.

The little moments that we enjoy during MCCW retreats with friends from the past and new friends we just met remind me that we are not on this military journey alone. We are all walking this crazy life together. Even when oceans, ridiculously long flights, and crazy time differences separate us, we are all in it together. 

As we shared in Europe and Asia during our presentations on mentoring, that is God’s plan — we aren’t meant to go it alone. In CCC 1269 we read, “Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to “obey and submit” to the Church’s leaders, holding them in respect and affection.” 

As we near the end of this calendar year, I want to thank you for the opportunity to be subject to you, and to serve you in the communion of our beautiful Catholic Church and in this very special military sisterhood. Connecting, uniting and inspiring you and being connected, united, and inspired alongside you through MCCW is the very best gift for which I could ask!

Yours in Christ,

Kim Miller