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placeholder May 5, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 9   •   Oakland, CA
Catholic Women

Catholic Daughters aim to aid priestly vocations
Catholic Daughters
of the Americas

Pat Fegan, Chairperson, Committee for Diocesan Activities

Sponsoring vocations is traditionally one of the causes that the Catholic Daughters of the Americas supports. Members of Court St. Raymond 2057 in Dublin do this by "adopting" a young seminarian as he enters the seminary. The court sends him a modest monthly stipend to cover miscellaneous expenses and encourages him on his journey to the priesthood, said Reina Whitney, a longtime member of the Dublin court.

At their "son's" ordination, the court gifts their seminarian with either a set of vestments or his own chalice — it's his choice. The last seminarian adopted by the council was Rev. Benjamin Wonganant, now currently the parochial vicar at St. Patrick Parish in Rodeo, Rather than the vestment or chalice, Father Wonganant asked that the money to be used to bring his mother from the Philippines for his ordination.

Court St. Raymond 2057, celebrated its 42nd anniversary on May 3 in a special way. Three of their adopted sons presided and co-celebrated the 10:30 a.m. liturgy at St. Raymond Parish in Dublin. Those three sons were Revs. Wonganant, Lawrence D'Anjou, parochial administrator at St. Raymond Parish and Lee Chompoochan, parochial vicar at the Catholic Community of Pleasanton.

The Catholic Daughters of the Americas is one of the oldest and largest organizations of Catholic women in the Americas. Established in 1903, the CDA consists of 75,000 dues-paying members in 1,250 councils or local chapters. There are 45 councils across the U.S. as well as Puerto Rico, Mexico, Guam and the Virgin Islands, according to the organization's website.

Despite its size and diversity, all of the councils adhere to the organization's motto, "Unity and Charity."

In the Oakland Diocese there are five CDA councils at parishes in Pittsburg, Dublin, Concord, San Leandro and Fremont. Unfortunately the diocese recently lost one council in Alameda due to declining membership, said Pat Fegan, who serves as diocesan chairperson on the group's Committee for Diocesan Activities. There are about 300 to 400 members.

In addition to their contributions for vocations, each CDA court supports a cause or addresses a concern of some kind or need. Some courts have prepared and served meals for the needy at St. Mary's Center in Oakland; others have held fundraisers to fund scholarships for Catholic school students; still others have sent donations to the Philippines in response to last year's devastating typhoon.

Much of this outreach is dependent on the amount of fundraisers sponsored by individual courts. "We depend on fundraisers to pull us through," Fegan said.

All of the local courts support the Bishop's Burse by pooling their funds together and presenting a check to the bishop. "A deep spirituality comes out of that," Fegan said.

That spirituality and caring is reflected at meetings held by the court. Meetings are started with a recitation of the rosary and the spiritual needs of members are presented and prayed over.

New members are always welcome. These newcomers must be Catholic women at least 18 years of age. Dues are $30 annually, but no woman will be turned away from a lack of funds.

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