Women of the Year honored at convention banquet

Friday, Sep. 17, 2021
Women of the Year honored at convention banquet Photo 1 of 2
Following the Sept. 11 banquet, many of those recognized as the 2020 Women of the Year by the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women pose with Bishop Oscar A. Solis (left) and Fr. Ariel Durian, DCCW spiritual advisor.
By Marie Mischel
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — At the Sept. 11 Diocesan Council of Catholic Women banquet, 27 women from parishes throughout the Diocese of Salt Lake City were honored for their service.

The banquet is held in conjunction with the annual DCCW convention. Because the convention was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the women honored at this year’s banquet were those who had been chosen for the 2020 award by their parish.

Each woman offers unique contributions to their parish and community. Their ministries are many and varied: volunteering at parish fundraising events, ministering to the homebound, teaching religious education. A glimpse of their contributions is given below in summaries of the nominations of five of these women.

Ann Reaves, t. Mary Parish, West Haven

Reaves has been a member of St. Mary Parish for more than 45 years. She is the mother of nine children and has 40 grandchildren and 43 great-grandchildren. She is a “mother” of a bowling league for underprivileged special needs adults. Reaves helps with parish funeral luncheons and makes jams, jellies, salsa, scones and other baked goods for the pastor, deacon, office staff and neighbors. She is a member of the collection counting teams, where she helps regularly. She also volunteers at the Hill Air Force Base Thrift Shop three hours each week. Reaves is one of those people who is always willing to help wherever she can.

Mary Skomal, t. George Parish, St. George

Skomal and her husband retired to St. George in 2002 and immediately joined St. George Parish. Both became involved with the St. George Catholic Thrift Store, working three to four days a week. Skomal has been a member of the women’s group since it was formed and has actively been involved with organizing funeral dinners, First Communion, Confirmation and other celebration dinners. Under her leadership as president of the parish’s women’s group the group had multiple accomplishments: annual diaper drives to benefit the local Hope Pregnancy Care Center, annual Christmas drives to benefit the San Palo Mission. Money raised through bake sales is donated to a local shelter for homeless teens and to help support the parish’s seminarian. For the past two years Skomal has spearheaded the Angel Christmas Giving Tree, which helps many families that otherwise would not be able to get gifts for their children. Skomal has been selfless in giving her time to the parish and the community of St. George.

Jacqueline Tapoof, St. Helen Parish, Roosevelt

Tapoof is a member of the Northern Utah Tribe. She has been a member of St. Helen Parish since the 1970s. She was baptized in 1978 and confirmed in 1980, when Father James Garvey was the pastor.  Sister Liam Glenae was her godmother and sponsor. Tapoof served as an Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharist and taught CCD at St. Helen’s. While living in Parkland, Wash., she served as a Eucharistic minister for five years at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish. When she moved to Utah, she continued attending church with her family, whom she supports. She also continues to contribute to St. Helen’s Council of Catholic Women. Tapoof traveled with Sister Margaret Liam to attend the pilgrimage to Kateri Tekakwitha’s birthplace and other places Kateri had traveled in New York. Tapoof is a good, hard-working woman who is currently helping her daughter Pam with the Catholic mission in Fort Duchesne.  

Maria Guadalupe Valle, St. Ann Parish, Salt Lake City

Valle has been an active member of St. Ann Parish since 2014. She first volunteered to teach the Spanish religious education Confirmation class. She collects the offerings during the Friday prayer service and serves as an usher each Sunday. She chooses the teenagers to assist with the collection along with the family that brings the gifts to the priest. Valle helps cook for the Posada each Christmas as well as for other events, fundraisers and Bingo. She continues to assist during Sunday Masses and teaches First Communion classes.

Jan Cundey Vande Veegaete, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Sandy

Vande Veegaete has been active in the Council of Catholic Women for 24 years. She has held the position of vice president and treasurer. She currently serves as recorder for the parish council and is a member of the information/welcoming committee and a V Encuentro minister. Vande Veegaete has volunteered her time with the Christmas boutique, garage sale, Mother’s Day project, coffee and donuts, the youth group, parish bulletin and numerous CCW projects. In the community, Vande Veegaete has volunteered with the Literacy Action Center, teaching English-speaking adults to read. She has helped at Red Butte Gardens and the Carmelite Fair and has led a Consecration to Mary retreat. Within or outside her parish, Vande Veegaete is happy to volunteer her time, talent and treasure.

Two of those honored as the 2020 Woman of the Year for their parish died before the Sept. 11 banquet. They are recognized below with a summary of their nomination.

Sylvia Orosco Burciaga, St. Joseph Parish, Ogden

Burciaga has been described as a woman who was deeply passionate in her faith. She was tiny but mighty, and she was a go-getter. Serving as the Northern Deanery president, she did a great job. At St. Joseph Parish, she was active in the parish’s faith formation efforts, where she strived to keep her students active in the Church and to nurture their minds and spirits. She participated at Mass as an Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharist and as a lector, where she took the upmost care to deliver the Word of God. She had great drive and devotion to her family, friends and fellow parishioners. Through her faith she brought them closer to God.

Janice Folsom, St. Olaf Parish, Bountiful

Folsom was a silent worker who served monthly at the St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen. She managed the parish’s weekly coffee-and-donuts events and was the chairperson for the annual luncheon raffle basket project. She was never too busy to help others and often prepared meals for parish members and for events. Folsom truly practiced her Catholic faith, working tirelessly and never expecting recognition. She was humble and generous and served as an example of love and caring for all.


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