“A lot of organizations talk a great deal about investing in our future. The WCU in Quincy and across the country do more than talk-they invest and they are committed to the tenets and beliefs of the Catholic Church.” Those are the words of Quincy Notre Dame High School principal Ray Heilmann in his keynote address to the delegates of the 56th quadrennial WCU National Convention in 2008.
Delegates from each WCU branch gathered at the Microtel Inn & Suites in Quincy, IL to hear reports on the status of the organization. “Our Society is continuing the pattern of growth that began ten years ago,” Mark Wiewel, WCU President/CEO, said. Western Catholic Union now has close to 25,000 members who live in each of the 50 states. “Steady annuity and life insurance sales are generating the necessary cash flow to help us grow and survive. We have seen assets increase from $72 million to start 2004 to $339 million as of June 30th of this year.”
Today’s volatile financial world is a concern for everybody, including WCU members. The convention allowed the delegates to gather and get up-to-date information from the organization’s officers. Recent fallen securities pose a threat to many other organizations across the country, and world. “These securities compose less than three percent of our total assets and as our assets grow this percentage grows smaller every day,” Wiewel said. “What will eventually happen with these securities is unknown. We are monitoring developments in the market and are developing contingency plans for various scenarios. By maintaining our financially conservative approach to investing, we are doing everything possible to keep your money safe,” he told the delegates.
In the past few years, charitable efforts by WCU members have grown significantly. “Throughout the WCU, members give their time to raise money for food pantries, help the homeless, battle disease and support pro-life,” Wiewel said. “And that’s just a few of the hundreds of causes you have taken on.”
These volunteer efforts make the Western Catholic Union significant in our members’ communities. These words were echoed by keynote speaker Ray Heilmann. “The WCU supports families, supports religion, supports charity, supports the teachings of Jesus Christ,” Heilmann said. “Do not allow criticism to destroy your mission. If the criticisms are just, make the necessary changes and move forward with zeal, passion, and a strong sense of righteousness. You have a hero, use Him. Follow Him. Generate energy and resolve from Him.”
“You as individuals have the calling to affect 1, 2, 3, 500 young people in the most subtle and effective ways possible,” Heilmann said. “Seek out that person you see struggling with faith and morality. Find something good in that person. Give that person hope. Give that person a reason to find out how much God loves him or her. Look to your hero when you question how important the WCU is to our world. The answer is there.”