Our Lady of Fatima in Alcoa is host to parish for convocation
By Emily Booker
The Knoxville Diocesan Council of Catholic Women gathered at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Alcoa for its annual convention May 4-6 to celebrate the theme: “One World, One Concern.”
KDCCW members heard from Jeff Gardner, founder and director of the Picture Christians Project, an effort to shed light on the persecution of Christians and media manipulation.
They also heard from Theresa Boscia, the National Council of Catholic Women’s representative to the United Nations, and Audrey Assad, a songwriter and musician who is a convert to the Catholic faith. Jimmy Dee, a member of Holy Ghost Parish who leads the Knights of Columbus chapter there and also works closely with the Handmaids of the Precious Blood, spoke to the women about the cloistered order of nuns who reside in the Diocese of Knoxville.
Bishop Richard F. Stika celebrated Mass for the convention at Our Lady of Fatima on May 5. Concelebrating priests included Monsignor Bob Hofstetter, pastor of Good Shepherd Parish; Monsignor Al Humbrecht, pastor of Holy Spirit Parish; Father Bill McKenzie, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish; Father Bill McNeeley, associate pastor of Our Lady of Fatima; Father Michael Woods, pastor of All Saints Parish; Father Charles Burton, pastor of St. Jude Parish; Father Dan Whitman, pastor of Notre Dame Parish; Father Ron Franco, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish; Father Joe Brando; and Monsignor William Gahagan, both retired.
Bishop Stika noted that he looked forward to the KDCCW Mass every year.
“We come together as a Church, as a diocese. That’s something very beautiful, and what do we do? We see Jesus,” he said.
The bishop thanked the women for the work that they do in their parishes and in the diocese.
“As a bishop, you see the miracle of people coming together in different parishes, in different situations, in different backgrounds and cultures, and building the church,” he said.
At the end of Mass, prayers were offered for members of the KDCCW who had died.
At a banquet following Mass, Bishop Stika was presented with a ceremonial check of 250,000 volunteer hours performed by the KDCCW.
He also was presented with a donation of $2,500 toward the interior of the new Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on behalf of the women of the diocese.
The theme of this year’s convention was “One World, One Concern.”
Mr. Garner, the keynote speaker, is the founder of the Picture Christians Project, which educates the public about the lives of Christians around the world.
He has traveled frequently to countries like Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt to document the stories of Christian refugees.
Mr. Garner spoke about the persecution and trauma Christians suffer in the Middle East.
Ms. Boscia talked about her journey to becoming the NCCW representative to the United Nations and what she has observed and learned while representing the Catholic women before the international association of countries.
Ms. Assad also held a concert at Our Lady of Fatima, which was open to the public.