On 21 June 2018, the Parish Pastoral Council, along with our Parish Priest Fr Peter, attended a special consultation session organised by the Council for Australian Catholic Women.
The Council is an advisory group to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and was established to ensure that the dignity of women is honoured and their gifts are given space to flourish for the sake of the Church’s life and mission. The Council supports Leadership for Mission and Catholic Women’s Mentoring, which aim to foster the empowerment of all Australian Catholic women.
The evening started with a prayer by Cecilia Zammit, Director – Confraternity of Christian Doctrine in the Diocese of Parramatta, followed by a presentation by Dr Cristina Gomez, Doctor of Theology, from the Dicoese of Broken Bay. She spoke about the historical role of women from the 4th century right up to the 20th century: women basically undertook the role of a mother or wife and, in Roman times, the role of Vestal Virgins.
In the 14th Century, women joined the monastic life. Some famous women have been recognised as Doctors of the Church, such as St Hildegard of Bingen, St Catherine of Siena and St Therese of Lisieux. We also heard the stories of other Catholic women such as St Mary of the Cross MacKillop and Caroline Chisholm.
Women over the years engaged in prayer to lead others to pray. Vatican II acknowledged this by stating, ‘Let’s go out to the people, let’s enter into dialogue’.
The presentation was followed by a consultation conducted in small groups.
Questions considered included:
What can be done to improve engagement and/or pastoral care for women?
In an ideal parish, what groups or support would you welcome and participate in?
What would engage you?
What would you envision and want the church to be or do for you daughter or the next generation?
What do you hope to see in your lifetime?
Do you have any other comments?
If you would like to continue the conversation and have your say, please complete the survey.
By Louisa Xavier and the Parish Pastoral Council of Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown