March 20, 2014
Dr. William Thierfelder related the story of driving through an unfamiliar city with an open bottle of water in the cup holder of the car. When he made a sudden stop and the water bottle sprayed water all over him and his car, his response was not what most people would have expected.
“Thank you, Jesus!” he exclaimed.
After years of training himself to receive all things — good and bad — as coming from God, Thierfelder was able to make a soggy profession of faith even in the midst of an everyday inconvenience. That attitude of gratitude was one of the ideas he came to impart to the women gathered for the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s Second Annual Women’s Day of Reflection.
The event, which began with Mass and Morning Prayer took place at St. Patrick Cathedral and its Pastoral Center in Fort Worth on Feb. 27. Nearly 100 women from throughout the diocese attended.
Though the numbers were down slightly this year due to scheduling conflicts, Margaret Adams, president of the Council, was pleased with the turnout and the program.
“Several people who attended last year were gone to Colorado for Monsignor Berg’s ordination,” she explained in a recent interview, referring to former Diocesan Administrator Monsignor Stephen Berg’s appointment and installation as bishop of Pueblo, Colorado. “But we got excellent comments on this year’s event. People were very impressed with Dr. Thierfelder, and a lot of the comments were that he’d be hard to top.”
Indeed. Thierfelder, who enjoyed a successful career as a sports psychologist before accepting his current position as president of Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, is a father of 10 who makes time to pray the Rosary with his family each night despite an extraordinarily busy schedule. Such a man would obviously have many ideas to share about Christian womanhood, and, as one would expect, he began by speaking of the Blessed Mother.
“Mary’s ‘fiat!’ was extraordinary,” he said, paraphrasing the words of Bishop Fulton Sheen. “It reversed Eden and made Mary into the new Ark of the Covenant.”
In an address that was at times funny, personal, even startlingly academic but always accessible, Thierfelder engaged the women with stories of faith rooted in a spirit of thanksgiving.
“He brought so much to the women at our gathering,” Adams said. “He gave us lots of books to read and lots to think about because of the kind of person he is. He brings Christ into everything in his career and his home life.”
The Diocesan Council of Catholic Women is the local arm of the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW). Initiated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 1920, the NCCW exists to stimulate the activities of women’s groups within the Church and to give women a voice in the life of the Church. All parish women’s organizations, whether under the auspices of a women’s club, the Catholic Daughters, or the altar society, are welcome to become active at the diocesan and national levels.
“Anyone can be a member,” Adams explained. “Join your parish women’s group.” From there, officers of the parish groups report to the deaneries, which in turn report to the diocesan group. Information from the NCCW is then disseminated through the diocesan organization. Once a year the NCCW meets for a convention in September. This year’s convention will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Centered on the pillars of service, empowerment, and spirituality, the NCCW plays an important role in energizing the work of women in the Church. And that’s something that Adams looks to bring to women locally through the diocesan council, particularly with regards to spirituality.
“We want speakers who give the women something to take with them,” she said. “I like to get people who teach, so that the women want to take what was said back to [use in] their lives and the work they do for the Church.”
Dr. William Thierfelder related the story of driving through an unfamiliar city with an open bottle of water in the cup holder of the car. When he made a sudden stop and the water bottle sprayed water all over him and his car, his response was not what most people would have expected. “Thank you, Jesus!” he exclaimed.