Within most churches there are organizations which tend to strengthen a sense of community. The groups may also serve certain areas within the church be it to work with teens or as a service within the church or outside of the church.

Recently this column highlighted Mater Christi Church’s Holy Name Society. This column will look at St. Mary’s Church and their ladies’ group, known as Council of Catholic Women, or CCW.

Originally called the Altar and Rosary Society, the women’s group was led by officers who served as a board of directors. The Altar and Rosary president was chosen by the pastor and, as one might guess, it was an honor, but also a lot of work.

Monthly meetings were planned and included a business portion of the meeting with some type of program and refreshments. The programs were always geared towards “the ladies,” and the refreshments were provided by members and were almost always homemade. They also were available to serve as hostesses for any receptions which the parish may have had and again made all those goodies.

One of the most important functions of the group was a large fundraiser which for many, many years was a fashion show. The event was held in the spring and for many years was held at one of the downtown Chicago hotels. What would a fundraiser be without raffles? Aside from a money raffle, there would be raffle prizes that were silver or crystal pieces, Lladro figurines and other prizes of value. The events were always a success and made it possible for the group at the end of their year, usually in May, to present to the pastor at a luncheon a sizeable gift to the church.

Times change and the name of the group changed to CCW. The group became less active as more women went to work and became involved in many other things. The steady decline found the group going on hiatus for a few years. Now it is being resurrected. They have had a few Bunco nights and are planning a luncheon where the program will be the popular dramatist, Barbara Rinella. The resurrection of the CCW will again help build friendships and a strong sense of community within the parish of St. Mary’s which is always good.

Happy birthday: Would you believe? Chris Agne is 50! Don’t worry Chris, I understand that 50 is the new 40, so you’re still just a kid and your mother will vouch for that.