Bishop Stika celebrates Mass; special guests address annual convention at Holy Trinity
By The East Tennessee Catholic Staff
The Knoxville Diocesan Council of Catholic Women welcomed Father Leo Patalinghug, the “Cooking Priest,” and Beth Mahoney, spirituality commission chairperson for the National Council of Catholic Women, to its 2016 convention April 14-16 at Holy Trinity Church in Jefferson City.
Bishop Richard F. Stika opened the convention by celebrating a memorial Mass April 14 to honor all deceased women of the diocese. In addition to the bishop, Ms. Mahoney, and Father Patalinghug, other speakers who addressed the convention were Cathy Bonner, who is on the NCCW leadership training and development team and created the NCCW Women Healing the Wounds program to combat domestic violence, and June Lawrence, development officer at Cross Catholic Outreach of Cross International, an organization that serves the poor.
Cross Catholic Outreach is a Catholic ministry that serves the poorest of the poor internationally by channeling aid through dioceses, parishes, and Catholic missionaries, cost-effectively helping the poor break the cycle of poverty while advancing Catholic evangelization.
Father Patalinghug heads the movement Grace Before Meals, which focuses on bringing families back to the dinner table and away from work, school, TV, games and other distractions.
He also hosts the EWTN television show Savoring Our Faith, where he evangelizes through cooking.
In his homily, Bishop Stika spoke on the power of the Church. He related a story about his best friend entering hospice this spring as he was dying of cancer. While in hospice, Bishop Stika’s friend, Mike Stillman, told Bishop Stika he prays everyday for the bishop.
Mr. Stillman passed away in April.
“I used to tell him that I prayed for him all the time. Then he told me, ‘whatever happens in the future, I’ll still be praying for you,’” Bishop Stika recalled.
“You know, that’s kind of a theological explanation. Did you ever hear of the Church Militant? The Church Militant is all of us. We’re fighting the good fight, onward Christian soldiers. We’ve accepted Jesus into our life, the Bread of Life, and we’ve accepted him into our hearts.
“We could be real selfish about that and not share it with another person. But that is not what faith is all about. Even the word Mass, what does it mean? It means to set forth…to build His kingdom like the disciples did so many centuries ago,” the bishop told the women attending the convention.
But he said it also is the Church Triumphant – “those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. Those we have prayed for, lived with, and commended to almighty God – the Church Triumphant.”
“We honor those women who have been part of this marvelous organization; women that we’ve known; women that we’ve loved; women that we’ve fought with; women who have been called home to God. We’re praying for them, just like Mike said he would pray for me as he joined the Church Triumphant because he’s ready.
“The Church Triumphant, and the Church Militant. That’s what we give thanks to almighty God for – the power to pray, and to remember, and to love, and to understand,” the bishop said.
Bishop Stika thanked the KDCCW women for all they do for the diocese. He asked them to pray for vocations and to adopt the Handmaids of the Precious Blood and help the cloistered religious order any way they can.
“Who is the strength of the Church? You are, especially women,” he said. “The power of church. The body of Christ. The power of the Church.” ■