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Shirley McCracken Gets Catholics Award

May 08, 1996|ANN CONWAY

Shirley McCracken of Anaheim was named Catholic Woman of the Year on Monday when Catholic Charities Auxiliary sponsored its 20th anniversary luncheon.

More than 600 women attended the event at the Irvine Marriott on behalf of Catholic Charities of Orange County, an organization providing community services. Programs sponsored by the agency include housing for seniors, an advocacy center for the deaf, a shelter for the homeless, a family support center and immigration and citizenship services.

And the Winner Is

After introducing 49 nominees to guests, Bishop Michael P. Driscoll named McCracken winner of the Gold Medallion. Norman F. McFarland, bishop of the Diocese of Orange, placed the prize around her neck.

She didn't win the award alone, McCracken--a master catechist and the president of the Anaheim Arts Council--told the crowd. "My husband never complained . . ." about her activism on behalf of her community and her church, San Antonio de Padua in Anaheim, she said.

"And my children have helped fold newsletters, distribute candy . . . they were there with me and for me."

With a nod at her fellow nominees, she added: "Any one of them could be up here; they, too, have been there for others."

Later, McCracken spoke of her volunteerism, which has included the organization of religious workshops in Orange and Los Angeles counties and volunteer coordinator for last year's Anaheim Children's Festival.

"I've been given talents and gifts, and I believe I have to use them," she said. "If I don't, I won't be fulfilled."

McFarland praised the honorees, saying they "reflect so many thousands of women throughout our diocese who are the strength of our church.

"I extend my congratulations and gratitude to all of the women here and throughout our parishes. . . . You are not only the heart, but, to a great degree, the hands, of the mystical body of Christ as it is formed in the Diocese of Orange."

Making It Happen

Gerry Monahan was luncheon chairwoman. Peter Muth, Marge Yorba and Sherry Van Meter were judges. Underwriters included Gail and Gordy Lee, Mary and Peter Muth, Wilma Burnett, Mariam Gocke, Bernice Heffernan, Carolyn Pryor, Nathan Blau and Rita and Gene Deiss. Helen Anderson helped stage a tea for nominees at the Emerald Bay home of Al and Deeann Baldwin.

Other committee members were Mary Hayes, auxiliary president, and Frances Gionet, Carmen Martinez, Helen Carey, Virginia Shields, Noelle Blau, Wilma Burnett and Mary Ufier.

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