Bishop Richard F. Stika celebrated Mass for the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women at the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on April 26.
Concelebrants were Father Dan Whitman, Father Michael Woods, and Father Joe Brando. Deacon Gary Saga was Deacon of the Word.
The bishop thanked the women for all of the work that they do in their parishes and challenged them to be role models and intentional disciples.
“Look at all you do for the Diocese of Knoxville. In your parishes, in your experiences, in your personal commitments to other people….You know how St. Francis of Assisi would say, ‘Always preach the Gospel and sometimes use words?’ That’s it. That’s intentional discipleship. And that’s what we’re all called to be,” he said.
“For you women who have been around a little bit longer, in your maturity and wisdom, you can be true mentors to younger women, who are facing different situations and challenges than maybe you faced in your generation. For the younger women, as they follow you, the same is true.”
Bishop Stika also encouraged the women to remain committed to their faith and involved in helping the Church.
“Thank God for all of you who make such a difference in every church in East Tennessee, in all your parishes, and in all the things that you do, noticed and unnoticed, because it’s about Jesus, and building his kingdom,” he said.
Music for the Mass was provided by the All Saints Parish choir.
For many, this was the first time visiting the new cathedral. Bishop Stika took time at the end of Mass to point out specific features of the cathedral, including the refurbished Stations of the Cross, the large tabernacle, and the statue of Pope St. John Paul II.
Following Mass, Karen Vacaliuc, president of the KDCCW, presented Bishop Stika with a check totaling 365,244 volunteer hours contributed by the KDCCW to the diocese.