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56th Biennial National 2016 Convention

By Terrie Vacek, Texas State Public Relations and Website Chairman

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - Day 1

The 56th Biennial National Convention of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas (CDA) was held July 18-24, 2016, Wyndham Grand Pittsburg Downtown, PA. The convention theme "Whatever you do for the least of my brethren, you do for me" Matthew 25:40, was also the theme of the 2014-2016 term selected by National Regent Shirley Seyfried.

Pre-convention tours of historic Pennsylvania and surrounding areas began on Sunday: Battle of Gettysburg; Eisenhower National Historic Site; Hitchcock’s “39 Steps” Theatre production; Riverboat Dinner Cruise; Shrek the Musical/Broadway performance; Yoder’s Amish Home; Flight 93 Memorial Chapel; “Tribute to America” Dinner Show; St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, St. Patrick Church; St. Anthony’s Chapel; St. Paul Cathedral; Epiphany Church; Duquesne Incline; Molly’s Trolleys; Ducky Boat Tours; and various river tours.

Pittsburg is a very unique town well known for its three rivers, the Stealers football team, the Pirates baseball team, diversity of culture, dining experiences, and bridges; a 2006 study determined that Pittsburgh has 446 bridges, and with its proximity to three major rivers and countless hills and ravines, Pittsburgh is now classified as "The City of Bridges".

PNC Park, Heinz Field, Fort Pitt Museum, Point State Park and the fountain (spraying water 150 ft. high) at the point of the three rivers - Monongahela River, Ohio River, and Allegheny River can all be seen from the 23 story convention hotel.

Pennsylvania Host Court members were on the scene the moment CDA members arrived in Pittsburg with warm greetings. National and Convention Committee members provided friendly hospitality and an efficient registration. Texas delegates, alternates, clergy and guests came in large numbers with a total opening day registration of 107 (76 voting delegates).

Catholic Daughters across the nation packed baby shower items for the Convention’s Charitable Project, ‘Hands & Hearts Ministry’, that will provide the Sisters of Carmelite Community of the Word support to an orphanage run by Little Sisters of the Incarnation in the Diocese of Hinche, Haiti. Monetary donations are needed for purchase of benches for the chapel at the orphanage.

Representatives from CDA National presented five (5) incredible back-to-back convention workshops on Tuesday afternoon: Family by Sherry Nilles; Leadership by Helene Shepard, Legislation by Margaret Sitte, Local Court and Circle of Love by Vickie Feist and Membership by Olga Samaniego.

Committee meetings and Choir practice followed the workshops while the Exhibit Room was packed with shoppers and merchandise; clothing, jewelry, rosaries and literature; all providing attendees the opportunity to share and wear CDA when they returned to their local courts. CDA members were in line to purchase the Pennsylvania collector’s convention pin. Attendees registered for the annual charitable ‘Walk for Love’ where funds are designated to the various National Projects and Charities. Many tried their luck purchasing tickets for Lucky Bucks, State Baskets, and the Raffle.

They sold out of the 2016 Convention

This mosaic of our Blessed Mother and Lord graced the Kings Garden, which was the location of all Convention Masses and daily Holy Hour/Confessions.

The Michael Russell O’Brien two-hour Concert was packed! This was an amazing way to start the convention. He made us laugh, reflect, pray, sing along, and even talk to his mother via a cell phone call!!!

Among some of his most memorable recordings are: