Catholic Daughters Day heralds the installation of court’s new members

Back left, Jessica Tryban, Rachel Zetts, Kayla Garchar, Frankie Gonzales, Lynda LaPaz and Selena LaPaz. Front left, Julia West, Elinore Muhonen, Zepphra Gallegos and Norah West. Enlargephoto

Courtesy photo

Back left, Jessica Tryban, Rachel Zetts, Kayla Garchar, Frankie Gonzales, Lynda LaPaz and Selena LaPaz. Front left, Julia West, Elinore Muhonen, Zepphra Gallegos and Norah West.

Recently the mayor of Cortez, Dan Porter, recognized the only existing Junior Catholic Daughters Court in Colorado for their ongoing community outreach and service to the Church. At an installation Mass held for the new members and elected officers, Porter proclaimed Feb. 16 as National Junior Catholic Daughters Day in Cortez.

The Catholic Daughters of the Americas is one of the oldest and largest organizations of Catholic women in the Americas. It was founded in 1903 under the motto of “Unity and Charity” and today has 1,250 courts in 45 states across the country, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

The junior court in Cortez was founded in 2008 under the advisement of the Catholic Daughters as Junior Catholic Daughters Sacred Heart Court No. 1606. Members of the group include Catholic girls from 6 to 18n years of age. It is currently standing as the only existing Junior Catholic Daughters court in the state of Colorado.

Installations are held annually to initiate any new members and re-elected officers into the court. An installation Mass was held this year on Feb. 16, which Porter attended. Officiating the Mass was the Rev. Pat Valdez, and Rev. Salvador Cisneros. Presiding the initiation was Catholic Daughters Regent, Mary Sparks and State Representative, Mary Helen Ganir.

Before the installation, officers paused to consider what it meant to be elected officers of the Junior Catholic Daughters Court. Then, they pledged their love, work and thoughts to God, promising to do good for all of the court. According to the principles of the JCDA bylaws, true members “will strive to be good Christians and citizens.” This includes a willingness to cooperate and do her part in the community, accepting her responsibility to serve others generously, and making sacrifices to preserve Christian ideals.

Over the past six years, the members have been working not only within the Montelores Catholic community, including Catholic parishes from Cortez, Mancos, Dolores, Dove Creek and Rico, but have also been serving the city of Cortez.

“It is our mission to be able to help others and impact the community,” stated Co-president Rachel Zetts. “I think Blessed Mother Teresa described it best when she said, ‘We can do no great things, only small things with great love.’”

JCDA members began reaching out to the community in 2008 with a program called “Backpacks for Kids.” This involved filling backpacks with nonperishable foods and distributing them to students in the surrounding school systems who otherwise wouldn’t have access to food over the weekends. Recently they have conducted parish wide food drives during the holidays. The donations are made into baskets which are given to families in the four corners area who otherwise would not be able to prepare a meal for the holiday. The Junior Catholic Daughters have also begun visiting the Vista Grande nursing home once a month; painting residents’ nails, helping them hand out Halloween candy, assisting them in filling out Christmas cards to loved ones and connecting with them in many other ways.

“It’s encouraging to see founding members now transiting off to college while new elementary-age members are becoming actively involved,” parishioner Lucita Zetts said while reflecting on how the group has grown in the past six years. “I am very grateful to see a group of young ladies like this. They do wonderful work in the community, especially in the nursing home. They are an inspiration to everyone, young and old, and give us hope for the future of the Church.”