History of the Catholic Women of Zion Ministry
The Catholic Women of Zion (CWOZ) ministry for women began on February 11, 1989. It all began when Mary Ann Ferrugia-Collett and Fr. John Campoli were ministering together at the monthly Healing Masses "His Love Ministries" at Holy Trinity Church, Long Branch, NJ. Mary Ann felt called to provide a ministry to women and Fr. John agreed and together they met and worked totally under and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The CWOZ Ministry received approval of the Bishops of the Diocese of Trenton and an Apostolic Blessing from the late Pope John Paul II to begin Chapter I in 1989. The CWOZ Ministry was invited to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on Sunday March 19, 1995 by the late Cardinal O'Connor. During his homily, the Cardinal mentioned: "The Catholic Women of Zion are an extraordinary group of women who faithfully follow the traditional teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. They are also actively engaged in pro-life causes."
Following Mass, the Cardinal wanted to meet each one of us and he extended a Blessing on us and on our ministry. (There are certain moments in life that are indelibly marked in one's heart. This was one of those moments).
CWOZ currently has three evangelizing chapters that meet to reach out to the needs of today's women. They meet at two different parishes in the Diocese of Trenton and one in the Archdiocese of Newark.
Chapter 1 meets nine times a year, including our Annual Rally on a Saturday at St. William the Abbot R.C. Church in Howell NJ (In 2020 Chapter I celebrated 31 years in ministry).
Chapter 2 began in February, 1997 and meets four times a year, on a Saturday, at the Church of Pope Pius X in Forked River, NJ. (In 2020 Chapter II celebrated 23 years in ministry).
Chapter 3 began in 2019 and is celebrating its first anniversary in 2020. Chapter 3 meets several times a year at St. Andrew's Church in Westwood NJ.
In response to requests, Chapter I has begun an Outreach Ministry that provides retreats at other parishes in the Monmouth/Ocean County area. Details on all retreats are located in the Meetings & Events section of the CWOZ website.
The motto of the group is taken from Psalm 128: "May the Lord bless you from Zion; May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life."
The purpose and aim of CWOZ is to provide a forum for personal and spiritual growth, one that offers fellowship and emotional support. The ministry has established a number of ministries within the ministry to provide an overall support network. These ministries include: networking, a prayer chain, both electronically and by phone to share the physical and emotional needs of friends and family members, and the service of a psychologist and a social worker when they are available to address practical solutions that are needed.
CWOZ is dedicated to the Eucharist and to helping women deepen their personal commitment to Jesus and understand the reality of the Holy Spirit working in their lives. The organization's patroness is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the traditional model for women in the Catholic Church.
Women come from all aspects of life and all ages, from Rosary Altar Societies and the Legion of Mary to Charismatics and others. Our main concern is to offer support to women dealing with family issues and to help them to grow personally in mind, body and spirit.