October 18, 2012
Hereford—Gwen Johns, a parishioner at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Amarillo, was named the 2012 Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DCCW) Woman of the Year during the organization’s 76th annual Fall Convention at St. Anthony’s Church here.
Johns was one of three nominees for the honor. Also nominated were Juanita Diaz of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Amarillo; and, Debi Hooten of St. Francis of Assisi Church, Amarillo.
“Gwen is a young and talented member of our parish who has distinguished herself in the Respect Life and Pro Life Movement for many years,” said Monsignor Harold Waldow, rector, at St. Mary’s Cathedral. “She is also one of the original founders of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministry here in Amarillo.” (now A Touch of Mercy)
Johns has served St. Mary’s Cathedral as a volunteer with Stephen Ministries. She is active with the Life Teen program and has been a core member of the Edge Middle School program for the past years.
“During that time, she has been a group mentor, presented teachings and helped with students retreats,” said Sheri Friemel, administrative coordinator for Life Teen and Edge at St. Mary’s Cathedral. “Gwen has also served as vice-president of the St. Mary’s Cathedral School Home School Association for two years and she has also taught all levels of Faith Formation.”
Johns organized and is director of A Touch of Mercy, formally known as Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries for the Diocese of Amarillo. She has helped to establish the yearly Respect Life Banquet to help fund retreats for A Touch of Mercy, according to Stephanie Frausto, director of Respect Life Ministries for the Diocese of Amarillo.
“Gwen has traveled throughout Texas to give her testimony and speak about Post-Abortive Healing,” said Frausto. “She is a crusader for the Amarillo Agency for Women and a strong advocate for Pro-Life.”
Johns has served as Pro-Life chair for the DCCW Central Deanery. She has also served on the Pro-Life and Family Concerns committees for the DCCW and is currently serving on the Church Commission.
During the convention, new officers were installed Oct. 6 to serve two-year terms. Jeannie Friddell of St. Mary’s Cathedral, Amarillo, is the new president, succeeding Emily Sanchez of St. Joseph’s Church, Amarillo. Vice president is Debi Hooten of St. Francis of Assisi Church, Amarillo. Other officers are Monica Musick of St. Joseph’s Church, Amarillo, secretary; Sharon Stephens of St. Hyacinth’s Church, Amarillo, treasurer; Wynelle Neusch of St. Theresa’s Church, Panhandle, historian; and, Teresa Sarzynski of St. Mary’s Cathedral, parliamentarian.
The convention also featured a Panel Discussion during the opening evening of the convention, focusing on the event’s theme, Be The Voice of Catholic Women. There were also workshops presented by Legislative, Social Concerns and Rural Concerns committees and presentations by Amber Fischer and Frances Dorsey.
The 77th annual Fall Convention will take place next fall, with the Central Deanery scheduled to host.