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Around the Diocese
Written by Jane Lepeska Grinde, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

MIDDLETON -- At its quarterly board meeting at St. Bernard Church here this month, the Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (MDCCW) honored the late Fr. Lorin “Larry” Bowens, who had served as its priest co-moderator with Msgr. Duane Moellenberndt, Sun Prairie, for over 20 years until his death on December 30, 2015.

Father Larry, as he was known, died unexpectedly after a short illness at the age of 68, while serving as pastor of Holy Family Parish, La Valle; St. Boniface, Lime Ridge; and St. Patrick, Loreto.

Monsignor Moellenberndt said of his brother priest, “He was so committed to the Council of Catholic Women and furthering the work of our organization. Father Larry was more than ready to go the extra mile.”

Coincidentally, Sacred Hearts Parish in Sun Prairie, which Monsignor Moellenberndt serves as pastor, was Father Larry’s home parish.

Priest’s memorials

Rosa Ropers, Waunakee, who was MDCCW president when Father Larry passed away, said parish CCWs had donated $1,225 for the priest’s memorial.

The board approved her recommendation to donate $500 to Olbrich Gardens, $500 to The Beacon homeless resource center, and the remainder to pay for two Masses at each at his three parishes and $105 for the memory garden at his La Valle parish.

The designated memorials are in consideration of Father Larry’s love of gardening. Monsignor Moellenberndt noted that Father Larry planted two trees at Sacred Hearts in Sun Prairie after his first Mass there, and the trees are still growing.

Ropers described Father Larry as “a very devoted and thoughtful person who would always be there to encourage and support one when they needed it the most.”

Ropers said the board appreciated Father Larry’s patience and advice. “He respected the board and its members. When he was the homilist for a liturgy at a vicariate meeting, he connected the entire meeting to the readings of the day that encouraged the group’s faith in our actions and validated why we belonged to the Council of Catholic Women.”

Check to The Beacon

Later during the meeting, MDCCW Co-Presidents Suzanne Koch, Berlin, and Ellen Martin, Westfield, welcomed Jackson Fonder, president and CEO of Catholic Charities, and presented him the check in memory of Father Larry to be used for The Beacon.

Fonder talked about the work of The Beacon. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., it is a comprehensive day resource center for people experiencing homelessness in Dane County.

More than 150 people use the center for basic services as well as to access resources to help them overcome their challenges. Fifteen to 20 volunteers help each day. Volunteers can sign up to help online at

Carol Strmiska and Barbara Unger from the Madison Catholic Woman’s Club participated in the meeting. MDCCW has joined with the Catholic Woman’s Club for an every-other-year day of renewal, and the two groups will work together on hosting the reception for priests’ ordination on June 29. They talked about continuing their dialogue and working together.

As in the past, the MDCCW welcomes all Catholic women to its annual convention scheduled this year for June 13 at the Sinsinawa Mound and hosted by the Grant Vicariate CCW. More information will be available soon.

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