Emphasizing that the words of Jesus, “Do not be afraid,” appear in some fashion more than 70 times in Scripture, Terry Ginther said: “We can’t miss the point that it’s Jesus’ desire to comfort us. … A strong part of his mission is healing.”
Ginther, diocesan chancellor and executive director of the Office of Pastoral Life and Mission, was one of two speakers to address the nearly 100 women who gathered for the Catholic Women of Zion’s 35th anniversary celebration Feb. 10 at St. William the Abbot Parish, Howell.
PHOTO GALLERY: Catholic Women of Zion's 35th anniversary
The women came from around the Diocese as well as from northern New Jersey to pray, worship, network, hear powerful messages, and dance and sway to inspirational music that centered around the day’s theme, “The Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
The anniversary celebration began with Mass in the parish church, followed by Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Attendees then gathered in the parish hall to hear Ginther speak on the topic “Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled” and Marylene D’Jamoos’ presentation on “Seeking Our Blessed Mother in Difficult Times.”
Father Thomas Maher, pastor of St. William the Abbot Parish, leads Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Faith Is All It Takes
Ginther used a modified form of “Lectio Divina” (meditating and praying with Scripture), along with exegesis (exploring the passage from a critical perspective) to explore the Gospel passage that includes “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” John 14:1-7 was read three times and, with each reading, the participants reflected on “the connections that are to be made with our own lives and experiences,” Ginther said.
After reading of the passage, the women shared their thoughts, such as the word or simple phrase that came to mind when they hear the words, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
Tying in the day’s theme to her talk, Ginther cited the seven instances in St. John’s Gospel where Jesus makes “I am” statements: “I am the Bread of Life”; “I am the Light of the World”; “I am the Gatekeeper of the Sheepfold”; “I am the Good Shepherd”; “I am the Resurrection and the Life”; “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”; “I am the True Vine.”
“For true and lasting happiness in this world and the next, Jesus shows us the way,” Ginther said. “He is the way. When Jesus says, ‘I am the way,’ he’s not giving us a Google map to follow. All he wants is to be in relationship with us and to know that his love is enough for us.”
CWOZ co-founder Mary Ann Collett, greets the women gathered for the 35th anniversary. D’Jamoos focused on navigating personal trials and tribulations by choosing to follow the Blessed Mother’s example, seek her intercession and “pray for grace to walk with Jesus as she did.”
D’Jamoos, who hails from Woodcliff Lake and is a former Northern New Jersey Lay Carmelite coordinator, urged participants to “take with them the knowledge, comfort and peace” in knowing they are not alone during difficult times.
“Jesus, Mary and the saints walk side-by-side with us each and every day,” she said. “They are calling us on this walk. All we need to do is say ‘yes.’”
Strong at 35
Catholic Women of Zion was cofounded by Mary Ann Collett and Father John Campoli, a priest of the Voluntas Dei Institute and founder of His Love Ministries. The organization is “dedicated to helping women deepen their personal commitment to Jesus and understand the reality of the Holy Spirit working in their lives, said Collett. She noted that the organization’s patroness is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the traditional model for women in the Catholic Church.
Catholic Women of Zion began Feb. 11, 1989, and has received approval of the Bishops of the Diocese of Trenton as well as an apostolic blessing from St. John Paul II.
Collett, who has been the group’s director throughout, said Catholic Women of Zion has three chapters, which meet in Howell, Forked River and the Newark Archdiocese. The groups meet on Saturday mornings for prayer and often hear guest speakers before a luncheon.Terry Ginther, diocesan chancellor and executive director of Pastoral Life and Mission presents her topic, "Do not let your hearts be troubled." Women of all ages come from all aspects of life and ministries, including Altar-Rosary Societies, the Legion of Mary and the Charismatic movement and many other ministries, said Collett. Those wishing to learn more about the Catholic Women of Zion can visit their website at cwoz.org or email [email protected].
A Gift For All
Dr. Adrian Gullotta-Gsell of Holy Cross Parish, Rumson, who has been involved with CWOZ for more than 30 years, said “it’s an organization that truly seeks to build up the Body of Christ by evangelizing to Catholic women of all ages.”
“That’s a gift in my opinion,” she said. “CWOZ is a fine-tuned instrument of the Holy Spirit that gives praise and glory to the Lord.”
Tricia Berwick of St. William the Abbot Parish said it was the second time she attended a CWOZ gathering; both times, she found it to be very spiritual and peaceful.
“It's nice to have time away from all of the daily stresses and responsibilities and to just focus on God and our faith,” Berwick said. “As women, we are always taking care of others. The beauty of CWOZ is that we can slow down, reflect, pray and spend some quiet time with Jesus and other women who share our faith.”
Marylene D'Jamoos, also a presenter, takes time to chat with a participant.