Catholic Charities of Orange County (CCOC) serves the poorest of the poor who live among us, but when CCOC needs help, they are call upon the best of the best – the ladies of the CCOC Women’s Auxiliary. Every year these women step up to help as volunteers and with their financial support. And every year, they hold an event to support their efforts and recognize a woman among them who has shown the face of Christ to others in ways that inspire and motivate.
Earlier this year, more than 400 people gathered at the Costa Mesa Hilton to celebrate 30 honorees who live Catholicity both as an act of faith and as a universal mission. Every day these women open their hearts to others and do the work of Christ: ministering, healing and transforming the community we share.
The highlight of the luncheon is the announcement by Bishop Vann of the winner of the Catholic Woman of the Year and the presentation of a medallion. Christy Frank was nominated by the Mater Dei High School Parents Association Council, where she serves as president. Orchestrating a cadre of volunteers to manage a full calendar of events, the student store and fundraisers would be enough to merit an award, but Frank’s contribution to the community is much broader and stretches across the country.
Years ago she founded a nonprofit Magical Builders (magicalbuilders.org) based on the vision that “we can greatly improve our communities and ourselves by working together for a common good.” Magical Builders builds or renovates nonprofit buildings across the country—especially those places that serve children. Several of their projects were done in cooperation with Major League Baseball Teams in their home communities including the Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks, Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. Closer to home, Magical Builder’s partnership with Angels Baseball resulted in construction of the All-Star Complex at Pioneer Park in Anaheim, a softball field in Placentia and renovation of the Santa Ana Boy’s and Girl’s Club.
But wait—there’s more. Giving and volunteerism is a family pursuit for the Franks. In the course of their efforts for Magical Builders, Frank’s two daughters learned that many children in foster care have few clothes and no warm pajamas to wear at night. To encourage sweet dreams for the most vulnerable children, Jamma Jingles was born. Magical Kids hold an annual Christmas drive to provide new cozy pajamas for needy children. Angels Baseball also partners on this event that benefits children in California and Arizona.
“As a family we hold our faith dear, and put great importance on volunteerism and giving back,” says Frank. “We believe that when you see a problem that needs fixing—you need to do something—even a little thing—to make a difference. It’s what we are all called to do.”
Frank grew up in Arizona in a very devout Catholic family. About 8 years ago, she and her husband and three daughters moved to Orange County. It didn’t take long for the Arizona transplants to embrace their new community and become involved in numerous philanthropies. They are active members Our Lady Queen of Angels parish in Newport Beach.
Kate McGregor, president of the Women’s Auxiliary of CCOC notes that this year’s 30 honorees all represent the “hands and feet of Jesus on earth.” Cumulatively the honorees have volunteered more than 100,000 hours doing everything from making burial clothes for infants to church ministries, and all manner of corporal works of mercy. This year the Woman of the Year event raised $34,000 to support CCOC. In 2017 the Women’s Auxiliary raised $80,000.
CCOC is part of one of the country’s largest charitable organizations – Catholic Charities USA. The nonprofit has been part of Orange County for nearly 100 years giving life-sustaining services, help for the displaced or marginalized and both spiritual and emotional support. You will find CCOC volunteers working in detention centers, operating the Doris Cantlay food distribution center, assisting the immigrant and caring for poor senior citizens. Catholic Charities is there to help families and individuals that have hit bottom – with nowhere else to go, find food, shelter and clothing. They are in the business of new beginnings, whether it is help finding a job, counseling support for troubled hearts or immigration and citizenship assistance. CCOC also runs and trains volunteers for the New Hope Counseling hotline at Christ Cathedral and provides a variety of outreach services to local parishes.
In short – to be a Woman of the Year for CCOC Women’s Auxiliary means that you are also a woman of worth. “Far beyond jewels is her value.” (Prov. 31:10). She sees what needs to be done and does it and we are so blessed to call her our own.