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47th Biennial Texas State 2011 Convention

by Terrie Vacek

The 47th Biennial Texas State Convention of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas (CDA) was held April 28-May 1, Westchase Marriott, Houston, Texas. Sheila Martinka, State Regent, Houston, continued the theme from her two year term as the convention theme, “Do Whatever He Tells You”.

The State Board Luncheon served as the kick-off activity for the State Convention providing an opportunity to thank those who have worked so hard over the last two years enabling Texas CDA to excel in growth and in unity and charity. State Chaplain, Reverend Donald Ruppert emphasized that this is a “gathering of women who hold high the banner ‘Striving to be Charitable’.” Sheila Martinka, State Regent, presented Certificates of Appreciation, the new Texas CDA Pin and a Cross Wind Chime to Carolyn Bachmann, Immediate Past State Regent, Past State Regents, State Chairmen and fifty eight (58) District Deputies. Martinka and members of the Convention Committee showered Carol Snowbarger, Convention Chairman, with gifts of appreciation. Habitat for Humanity Chairman, Christine Moore received numerous ‘useful’ gifts of appreciation for her faithful dedication with the 4th CDA Habitat build in Eagle Lake.

An award of appreciation was presented to Reverend John Peters, JCDA State Chaplain for his dedication to our Junior Catholic Daughters. The State Board, State Chairs and District Deputies presented State Regent Sheila Martinka with a Holy Spirit Dove necklace followed by a gentle ‘roast’ arranged by her mother, Sandra Genoway, and First Vice State Regent Carolyn Malik, Shiner.

Delegates from 227 courts in Texas arrived all afternoon and evening … some by air, car, van and even chartered bus picking up Catholic Daughters as they traveled south to Houston!


Elvis, Fran Ewart and Barbara Molloy welcomed delegates and quickly donations for the 2nd Walk/Run ‘Tote Board’ revealed thousands of dollars being raised from those who choose to make a difference in the lives of so many through the Texas State Projects M.O.M. Program; Cameron Park, Brownsville; Missionaries of Charity, Dallas; Casa Juan Diego, Houston; Annunciation Maternity Home, Georgetown; Texas Covenant House, Houston; Texas Habitat for Humanity; Juarez Mission School; Texas Disaster Relief.

The 2011 Convention Opening Mass began with a procession of Past State Regents, State Chairmen and robed Local, State and National Officers at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28, Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston. Celebrants were the Most Reverend Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston; Reverend Donald Ruppert, Texas State Chaplain, East Bernard; Reverend John Peters, Junior Catholic Daughters of the Americas (JCDA) State Chaplain, Hallettsville; seven local court Chaplains and several Deacons. Christopher Popelka, Diocese of Galveston-Houston Co-Cathedral Music Director; Eileen Benvegnu, Cantor; and the Co-Cathedral Choir served as Music Ministers for the Opening Mass with about one thousand people in attendance. The Formal procession was led by Honor Guards from the Fourth Degree Council of the Knights of Columbus Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, First District of Texas.

In his homily Cardinal DiNardo said that “both Mary’s message to ‘do whatever He tells you’ and also our late Pope John Paul II motto of ‘completely yours’ are reflected in this convention theme.” He added that “when we weave these together to our gospel reading in Luke, we must do as He said, all the way to our final banquet. The overflowing activities of faith, unity, and charity of the Catholic Daughters are much like the overflowing 580 gallons of wine at Cana. You show responsibility for the physical and spiritual needs of your brothers and sisters and act on your motto of Unity and Charity. Be both active and contemplative. Continue to witness by doing whatever He tells you.”

During the recessional hymn, the Cardinal took time to personally greet National Director Olga Samaniego, State Regent Sheila Martinka and many local officers.

(Choir Loft balcony photo by Stephen Ganus) Various convention committee meetings were held throughout the day and following the Opening Mass.

Day 2