by Terrie Vacek
The trip for many Junior Catholic Daughter members, JCDA Chaplain Reverend John Peters and the senior court representatives resembled preparations to board the Ark rather than the convention "Cruzin with Christ!" The June 29th - July 1st convention in Wichita Falls was a challenge exhibiting dedication and flexibility.
Area hotels were evacuated, roads closed due to flooded streets and confusion arose like a roller coaster of emotions. However, in the spirit of unity and charity and the JCDA three fold program of "Message, Service and Community", the attendees were lead by the host court and the outgoing JCDA Board with humor, dignity and confidence.
Catie Wicke of East Bernard, 2005-2007 Texas JCDA President, welcomed one hundred and twenty five (125) JCDA convention delegates and members along with fifty eight (58) adults to Wichita Falls and the 22nd Biennial Convention.
Host court, Our Lady of Perpetual Help #296 of Windthorst, TX, did a super job with preparations and the presentation of all the convention activities, prayer services, Mass and the banquet. Reverend John Peters, JCDA State Chaplain, served as celebrant and spiritual leader for the convention.
Friday's "Fun Night" activities entertained the girls and adults with hands-on activities making sun visors, bracelets and cross necklaces, decorating sandals, playing ball, learning to hula dance and making greeting cards for the children at Texas Children's Hospital. The evening closed with a very reverent candlelight Rosary.
Senior Court Immediate Past Regent of Texas, Olga Samaniego of El Paso, TX, delivered the first speech reflecting back to her 2005 "Hands and Heart" message reminding JCDA members that the heart of Jesus is evident by the way they use their hands no matter how big or small they may be. When linked together, the strength of their unity becomes a secret weapon in the accomplishments of our Lord.
Quoting scripture from the book of Isaiah "How lovely are the feet of one who brings the Good News of Him", Mrs. Samaniego encouraged attendees to keep using their hands and feet to live and work together for Christ.
Guest speaker, Texas CDA State Regent Carolyn Bachmann of Scotland, TX, began her convention message with the powerful proclamation "You are our Future and History. It is by your service to Him through charity and love that you expose your own talents, gifts and love for Christ that continues to impact the Church and community. Your word is your commitment and outward response to His call." Mrs. Bachmann concluded her speech with a catchy slogan for the girls, "You are ONE in JCDA".
Special guest speaker, National CDA Regent Elect Libby Ramirez of Victoria, TX, presented a thank you message on behalf of the National Court and congratulated the CDA and JCDA leadership for an increase from 40 JCDA Texas Courts in 2005 to 52 in just two years! She continued thanking everyone involved in the order and expressed her love and admiration to JCDA and the future of CDA. Mrs. Ramirez challenged the girls to have goals and think of themselves down the road as officers in the Senior Court at the local, state and national levels.
The rain continued and the river continued to rise. More roads were closed and everyone was confined to the MPECenter for the remainder of the day and informed that all convention business would be completed before leaving the center for the day.
JCDA delegates met for a caucus and the election of new officers was followed by an Installation Mass with Celebrant Fr. Peters. Delegates elected to serve the 2007-2009 term are:
- President - Elizabeth Krenek, St. Bernadette #1108, East Bernard
- 1st Vice President - Sarah Ornelas, Mary St. John #2197, Baytown
- 2nd Vice President - Ashley Stilley, Court St. Elizabeth #1616, Sealy
- Secretary - Christina Muench, Madre de Dios #2068, Channelview
- Reporter - Laura Aguilar, St. Roberto Bellarmine #2275, El Campo
Finally the rain stopped, the sun broke through and the Wichita River crested. The sky in Wichita Falls was once again bright blue and sunny for a Hawaiian style banquet and celebration for the accomplishments of the past two years. The local Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Honor Guard lead the entrance procession of the State JCDA Officers as they were escorted into the banquet hall. Banquet keynote speaker, Janice Sons, entertained her audience with humorous stories about the silly things we all do.
JCDA State Chairman, Tearsa Smesny, recognized each of the newly installed or reorganized courts:
- Court Our Lady of Mercy #1968, Rio Grande City
- Court Isabella the Catholic #683, Laredo
- Court Padre Isidore Cavazos #2019, Kingsville
- Court Prince of the Apostles #1787, San Antonio
- Court Our Lady of the Desert #2236, El Paso
- Court Mary Most Holy #2455, Gregory
- Court Immaculate Heart of Mary, Living Rosary #2540, McAllen
- Court Our Lady of Angels #2505, Seguin
- Court Our Lady of St. Hyacinth #2361, Deer Park
Smesny then presented personal awards to Vice Chair Lindsay Kolar and the outgoing JCDA 2005-2007 JCDA officers; Catie Wicke-President, Katherine Dronka-Vice President, Jamie Pilat- Second Vice President, Krystal Smesny-Secretary, and Karen Nors-Reporter.
Smesny and Kolar made special award presentations for the following contests.
JCDA Court Newsletter Contest1st Place - Court Saint Elizabeth #1616, Sealy 2nd Place - Court Ancillae Mariae # 1886, Crosby 3rd Place - Court Mary St. John #2197, Baytown
Membership and Retention ContestPlatinum Level - Court Queen of Glory # 2485, Houston Platinum Level - Court St. Paul #1604, Shiner Gold Level - Court Mary St. John #2197, Baytown
Banner Contest Winners1st Place- Court Our Lady of Perpetual Help #296, Windthorst 2nd Place- Court Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe #2426, Alice 3rd Place - Court Sacred Heart #829, West
Scrapbook Contest Winners1st place - Court St. Elizabeth #1616, Sealy 2nd Place - Court St. Bernadette #1108, East Bernard 3rd Place - Court St. Paul #1604, Shiner
Outstanding 2007 JCDA MemberTiffany Cruz, Court Padre Pedro Bard #2016 of San Diego
Outstanding 2006 JCDA MemberKatie Byrd, Court Faustina #2478 of Dallas
Saint Ann Adult Advisor MedalMarie Melendez, Court Mary St. John #2197 of Baytown
Raffle winners were announced and a gift of appreciation was presented to the Convention host, Courtney Carlton. The farewell message from JCDA State Chair Smesny served as a reminder to these young ladies whose lives are rapidly changing, that service in JCDA is a "learning journey" and thanked everyone for the special opportunity to be in a position to make a difference along that journey with them.