During May forty women gathered to reflect together on their changing role within local communities in the light of the Easter Gospel story. The afternoon of reflection was organised by Margaret McDonald who is the new guardian of the ‘Women’s’ Desk’ for the Archdiocese.
Margaret began by explaining her role as the diocesan representative on the National Board of Catholic Women and gave a short history of the National Board and the work they undertake on behalf of all Catholic women in England and Wales. Margaret herself works through the Pastoral Formation Department based at LACE. There followed a short question and answer session about the current concerns of the National Board, namely domestic abuse and the booklet which they have recently published. Trafficking of women and children throughout the world is also a major concern.
Veronica Murphy, Co-ordinator for Adult Faith Formation, then introduced the reflective part of the afternoon during which the Easter story from Matthew’s Gospel was used in which women experience both fear and joy together. As part of the closing liturgy each person was given two slips of paper, one on which to write a joy and the other one to write a fear.
Among the joys were:
That I can make a difference; sharing with others makes me alive; peace of soul; reaching out to others; my faith in and love of God risen; that our Lord has asked us to lead the way; that most women of today still value and respect their families and finally the sign of the Risen Lord and hope for the future.
Amongst the fears were:
That people will not accept change and we will become a marginalised people as the world is becoming more technical; fear that children will become engulfed by technology and lose the true meaning of Christianity and finally fear for the future of the Church.
What came out of this reflection was that women were the first witnesses to the Risen Lord and they are needed to lead the way in spreading the Good News and to support and strengthen the changing Church. If we keep an open mind and accept the change it will encourage others to follow.
The meeting finished with prayer and each person was given a bookmark to take away with them containing a passage from scripture used in the afternoon’s reflection.
The next event for women will take place during Advent when it is hoped that Sister Camilla Burns SND will be one of the speakers. Details to follow.
Our list of parish contacts is currently being updated so if you are interested in the National Board of Catholic Women and would like to be kept in touch with their work for women in the Church please leave your name and contact details at LACE.
Archdiocesan Women’s Desk