Evangelising ministry of CWL
|Members of the Parramatta Diocesan Executive Committee – Catholic Women’s League (from left): Sheila Devine, Enid Mulcare, Colleen Fuller, Gladys Meaney-Budd, Irene O’Grady, Patricia Castellan, absent – Moira Devine. Photo: Virginia Knight|
The Catholic Women’s League was founded in England in 1906 by Margaret Fletcher. It was established as an organisation inclusive of all classes of lay women, to be active in the secular world, to evangelise and work for human development.
Established in 1913, Catholic Women’s League Australia (CWLA) operates today as a non-profit, non-government body with approximately 6200 members Australia-wide.
It is a member of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) working together with 5 million women in 60 countries to promote the presence and participation of Catholic women in society.
Through education and encouraging this participation in social and public life, CWLA promotes the spiritual, social, cultural and intellectual formation of women.
One of its primary aims is to address social justice, moral and ethical questions, and to seek to influence government legislative bodies on issues affecting family life, in particular those of women and children.
CWLA supports national campaigns such as White and Pink Ribbon Days and works in local communities to assist with food, shelter, health and education for women and children. It also seeks to promote ecumenism and interfaith dialogue.
Catholic Women’s League operates in every state of Australia and the ACT, with each member organisation being autonomous. Each member organisation is, in turn, made up of local branches and it is the many individual women working at this level within our parishes that enables the League to carry out its work.
CWL Diocese of Parramatta Inc (CWLP) has nine branches currently operating in Baulkham Hills, Baulkham Hills South, Kingswood, Parramatta, Parramatta North, Rydalmere, Springwood, Toongabbie and Wentworthville parishes.
The Parramatta Branch celebrated its 50th anniversary this year and the CWLP will celebrate its 25th anniversary on 5 October 2011, concurrent with the Silver Jubilee Year of the Diocese of Parramatta, which was established in 1986.
Branches are established with the approval of the parish priest and operate within the parish to organise local events such as Mass offerings for parishioners, prayer or devotional gatherings and social functions; and are active in special ministries, parish councils and parish committees.
Through organised activities and outreach care, the members support the aged, families and people with disabilities. CWLP takes a particular interest in reaching out to the senior members of our community, organising outings and visits to aged care facilities to bring interest and entertainment into the lives of residents. “Many people do not realise what a ‘jewel’ of an organisation they have in their midst,” said Enid Mulcare, President of the Rydalmere branch.
Fundraising in order to support its many community projects is another part of CWLP’s work. Annual events such as fashion parades and raffles are always well attended and supported.
Irene O’Grady, CWLP President, said parishioners were generous with their support.
“As we go about our everyday activities, from the support we get it is obvious that the work of the CWL is held in high esteem,” agrees Patricia Castellan, Treasurer.
Each year the CWLP supports a Project of the Year. This year it is Catherine Villa, an accommodation facility for young single mothers and their children. The CWLP also supports Maubara Orphanage in East Timor through direct personal monetary contributions by individual members.
Every year local branch members can participate in the statewide Family Fast on 1 November, whereby members donate the cost of a family meal to the nominated charity. This year it is the Caritas Indigenous Women’s Program.
The CWLP also operates Chisholm Cottage at Westmead offering low-cost, short-term accommodation for patients or their family members consulting at local hospital complexes, outpatient clinics and other medical facilities.
Set up in March 1996, it is a registered charity (with deductible Gift Recipient status) and is run on a daily basis by volunteers who provide a relaxed and supportive atmosphere for guests.
This year WUCWO celebrated the centenary of its formation with a general assembly in Jerusalem in October. Two members from CWLP, Nola Buck and Gladys Meaney-Budd, participated in the assembly.
Earlier this year CWLP hosted the WUCWO conference in St Patrick’s Cathedral Hall. With guest speaker Janet Mills from Initiatives of Change (a global interfaith network for peace) speaking about the art of listening and the creation of peace within ourselves and our community all members present were renewed and re-energised in their CWL mission.
“The reason that we belong is the friendship and the care for the older members,” said Gladys Meaney-Budd, Chair of Chisholm Cottage. “We provide companionship for the members of the League, fun and friendship.” For more information about Chisholm Cottage and its services tel (02) 9633 4228. If you would like to join the CWLP tel (02) 9890 2082.
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