Mary Ellen Good, a 50-plus year member of the Council of Catholic Women, was presented with the inaugural Our Lady of Good Counsel Award on August 8 at her parish, St. Vincent de Paul in Hanover.
The inaugural award was given by the Harrisburg Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (HDCCW). It recognizes a woman in the Diocese who has made a significant contribution at any level of council and served as an outstanding role model of service to others.
Bishop Ronald Gainer and Alycia Laureti, President of the HDCCW, presented the award to Good at the conclusion of Mass.
Good is the first-ever recipient of the award, the council noted, because “she has demonstrated much generosity and support by serving in many capacities of leadership. As a council member, she has contributed to many projects of council by sharing her time and talents wherever needed. According to her council sisters, she is a joy to work with because of her amazingly positive attitude and eagerness to assist. She is an all-around member who loves council and brings to it dynamics that attract others.”
A member of the Parish Council of Catholic Women for more than 50 years, Good said she starting serving with the organization when she was a teenager and her mother was active with the council at St. Aloysius Parish in Littlestown.
“The ladies would have banquets and fundraisers, and they’d call on us as teens to help serve at the events,” Good said. “When I turned 18, I joined the council as a member.”
She has served in various leadership capacities for the Council of Catholic Women at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, and is currently vice president of the Conewago District CCW.
“We’ve always worked to do things beneficial to us women, and to the community at large,” Good said of the activities at the parish council level. These have included financial and material support of pro-life pregnancy centers, meals and gift cards for those with food insecurity, participation the “Coups for Troops” and “Boxes of Joy” programs, and support of the migrant ministry and African missions.
“We’ve always worked to include the parish more in our activities, so that we can be more visible and gain more support for our ministries,” she said.
Good said she was overwhelmed when she was notified as being the recipient of the first ever Our Lady of Good Counsel Award.
“I couldn’t understand why someone would honor me in such a way,” she said. “There are many women who have done many more things than I have. Getting this award is a tribute to the Council of Catholic Women. It’s not just for me, it’s for everyone in the Council of Catholic Women, especially the women I work with now.”
“I don’t do big things; I do little things that add up to big things,” Good remarked. “I’ve always enjoyed being in council, and with the ladies of the council. There is a great grace in that, and I feel very blessed because of it.”
For more information about the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, its programs and membership, visit https://hdccw.webs.com. Councils at the parish, district and diocesan levels support, empower and educate all Catholic women in spirituality, leadership and service. Membership is open to all women.
(Photos by Robert J. Chadderdon, freelance photographer for The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness