By MOST REVEREND WILTON D. GREGORY | Published April 11, 2013
One of the local customs that I have come to treasure since moving to Atlanta is that ladies here still do often choose to wear hats—and they seem to delight in that tradition! Springtime is often hat time for many of our Atlanta ladies. Obviously ladies elsewhere also do wear hats, but there is an Atlanta flair in that practice that I have not seen present in the other places where I have lived. The display of millinery finery is now in high gear, and I will get a special privileged exhibition at my home in a couple of weeks when the Atlanta Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women holds its annual brunch there. The women of this organization arrange this annual event, and I am so grateful that they do, not simply to see which hats will make a stunning debut but to witness the great camaraderie that marks this occasion.
The AACCW brunch brings together women from throughout the Archdiocese to enjoy one another’s company, to catch up on projects they are pursuing and activities in which they are engaged in their parishes, schools and communities, and to network on the many wonderful ventures that Catholic women offer for the life of this local Church. A few husbands, sons and otherwise shrewd pastors also attend, but the moment unquestionably belongs to the ladies.
However, the AACCW is so much more than a ladies social club—it is an association that over the years has branched out into many areas of social and religious outreach that have greatly benefitted from the gracious membership of this Archdiocesan ensemble. What may have began as a social event for a group of Catholic ladies more than 40 years ago has become an important outreach to patients in the Georgia Central State Hospital (Milledgeville) and a similar story details how another group of archdiocesan ladies has teamed up with an ecumenical assembly of women to assist with the outreach efforts at Villa International. Expectant and needy mothers throughout Georgia often now receive essential baby shower gifts through the generosity of many of our Catholic women. And these are only a few of the projects that the members of the AACCW have undertaken over the years. There are many other local initiatives that the members of the AACCW have started that represent the great-heartedness of the members and their devotion to Gospel justice and charity.
Each fall, the AACCW hosts a convention (alternating between a site in Peachtree City and an Atlanta metro site). This convention is much more than a “girls weekend outing” but becomes a happy networking opportunity that brings our Catholic women together to pray, share their many projects, and inspire each other in the task of living their faith openly and with joy. I have been the fortunate celebrant of the Sunday Mass and brunch that concludes this annual convention, and I can tell you firsthand of the joy and enthusiasm that fills the convention space. Ladies from throughout the Archdiocese welcome their counterparts from the dioceses in the Province of Atlanta as well as national representatives from the NCCW to this convention. The assembly testifies to the vibrancy of the work of the Catholic women in the Archdiocese.
I invite all of our parishes to highlight the work of the AACCW and to encourage the women within our community to learn more about this wonderful association and its long legacy of faith and service, which has so greatly enriched the lives of so many people in this local Church. Hats (and miters) off to all of our AACCW members!