Nearly 700 women attended the National Council of Catholic Women‘s 95th anniversary convention in Orlando, Florida, Sept. 9 through 12. Attendees included Rev. James G. Stembler, Pastor of St. Gertrude Catholic Church in  Kingsville who is currently serving as Chair of NCCW Spiritual Advisors, Corpus Christi DCCW and Province of Galveston-Houston Spiritual Advisor, Basilia Lomas of Alice, Alice Area President CCW, Diana Zavala of Kingsville, Altar and Rosary Society St. Gertrude Catholic Church and Martha Orem of Alice, Corpus Christi DCCW President. Attendees were surprised by the guest appearance of Mickey Mouse and special presentation on the 95 years of NCCW history by Mary Matheus at the 95th birthday luncheon celebration. Convention was held at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista the annual gathering of women leaders from Catholic women’s organizations in parishes and dioceses throughout the United States.

“Celebrating 95 years of history and the program packed with training, speakers and fun generated the excitement to draw this exceptional gathering of Catholic women to Orlando. The opening liturgy was celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe by NCCW Episcopal Liaison the Most Rev. James V. Johnston Jr., Dioceses of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, and con-celebrated by the Most Rev. Gregory L. Parkes, Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee. Friday’s, Sept. 11, liturgy honoring deceased members of NCCW was celebrated by Most Rev. John Noonan, Bishop of Orlando. The closing liturgy, celebrated by the Most Rev. Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, included the installation of the 2015-2017 officers of NCCW- President Shelia Hopkins, Tallahassee, FL; President Elect Maribeth Stewart, West Haven, CT and Secretary Jean Kelly, Elm Grove, WI, Mary Matheus from Longwood, FL.

Keynote speakers included Dr. Carolyn Woo, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; and Marybeth Hicks, Marketing Director for FAITH Catholic and Brandon Vogt, Content Director for Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. Training sessions were conducted by the three commissions- Spirituality, Leadership and Service- and training for new council presidents were offered by the Leadership Training Development Team.

At the closing session of the convention, new province directors from several areas of the United States were installed. Disney entertainer Billy Flanigan, currently playing part of Nemo at Walt Disney World entertained at the closing banquet.

The 2016 Annual Convention will be held Sep. 7 through 10 of 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.