In March of 1920, the U.S. Catholic Bishops founded the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) after witnessing the important work done by Catholic women's organizations during World War I. In its early years NCCW worked on programs which emphasized the sanctity of marriage, education of women and the dangers of birth control and divorce.
In the 1930s after World War I, NCCW welcomed and aided immigrants in key cities as the United States received a great influx of European Immigrants who spoke little or no English. It was at this time our council was established.
The 1940s were dominated by World War II. Women volunteered and worked where needed. In 1946 a Foreign Relief Committee was added to the NCCW committees to help children overseas. This committee changed its name in 1955 to Catholic Relief Services.
In the 1950s NCCW increased its international ties, joining the World Union fo Catholic Woment's Organizations.
The 1960s NCCW were years of unrest. The Vietnam War, antiwar protests, civil rights movement, and the assassination of President John Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy - all these had a profound effect on American life and American Catholic women. Finally there was the renewal of the Church through Vatican Council II. As women stepped forward to take on leadership roles in the Church, council started supporting them and helping develop their leadership skills.
Mother Teresa spoke at the 1960 NCCW convention. Prior to speaking at the convention, Mother Teresa had received very little recognition of her mission to God's poorest in the streets of Calcutta. After her appearance, contributions poured in from her listeners and the steady flow of NCCW aid through the Madonna Plan eventually allowed her to send teams of her sisters to many other parts of the world.
After Vatican Council all of the NCCW committees were eliminated and the current commission system was established. The 5 commissions encompassed the life of each member in the church.
The commissions are:
CHURCH - emphasizing that our lives be centered around prayer.
FAMILY - promoting family principles, the core of society.
COMMUNITY - pointing the way to reach out into our secular communities.
ORGANIZATION - centering on individual and council growth.
Our Fifth Commission, LEGISLATION, was added in 1955 and focused on social justice issues, challenging our government to create just laws and policies.
In the 1970s health issues such as breast health awareness were being addressed and NCCW, in 1976, developed a Breast Cancer Education Program.
In the 1980s, 90s and 2000s, NCCW continued to initiate programs addressing the concerns of Catholic women and remains a strong force helping Catholic women live their faith in the modern world.
NCCW's activities mirror events in the country and the world, but its strength is the parish-based women who serve the poor, the elderly, the forgotten, and advocate at state and national legislatures, who support one another in the various circumstances of their lives, and join voices in prayer and worship.
You as women of St. Joseph Parish are members of the National Council of Catholic Women.
Saint Joseph's Ladies Council was established on October 3, 1937 at the request of the Most Rev. George L. Leech, Bishop of Harrisburg and Father Albanease the pastor. The founding officers and members of the first St. Joseph Council were: Lena Adami - President, Vera Repa - Vice President, Mary Mandrilla - Treasurer, Rose Dalto - Secretary, Lena DiPasquale, Mary Longo, Josephine Mechiorrie, Virgina Jordan, Rose Fantuzzi, Millie Digiandomenico, Katie Ressa, Louisa Sacco, Antonia Montecalvo, Mary Carabba, Rose Capobianco, Filomena Apriceno, Emma Matucchi, Mary Tuzzi, Santa Norce, Regina Caciolo, Cosomina Marinaro, Teresa DiPasquale.
Currently, the NCCW of our parish meets on the first Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in the church hall. Everyone is welcome and needed.