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CWL Conference held in Mackay

19 June, 2023

Bishop Michael joined with members of the Diocesan Catholic Women’s League (CWL) to celebrate their 64th Annual AGM/Conference in Mackay on 3rd June, 2023. The conference opened in St Mary’s Church, Mackay, with Bishop Michael celebrating Mass with Father Matthias Ogwo from the Southern Cluster and  Fathers Andrew Hogan and Stephen Hanley from North Mackay. The theme chosen for the conference was “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Delegates and friends from St Mary’s, St Joseph’s, St Francis Xavier, Farleigh, Marian, Calen and Bundaberg branches gathered together to pray, learn, socialise and reflect on how the Word dwells in us.

Following the Mass, Bishop Michael joined us for morning tea at the Tennis Association’s meeting room before the start of the AGM. Members and guests were greeted with prayer and welcome. Bishop Michael gave an informative address outlining the work being undertaken in the Diocese, including the Pastoral Plan launch, and the many activities being undertaken by our Clergy.  The CWL donation towards the Priest’s Bursary was presented to the Bishop.

This was followed by the Guest Speaker, Dr Jessica McLaren who spoke about her work with “Hope’s Dream”, a local organisation which provides practical support and advice to women who may need help before, during and after pregnancy. A successful raffle was able to provide proceeds which were then donated to “Hope’s Dream”.

Reports were presented by delegates outlining the work of CWL at the local branch, Diocesan and State levels.  Activities included supporting parish activities and events, fundraising, providing opportunities to gather together in prayer and social events where support is offered to all members new and aging. The funds are all donated to various organisations, including the Priest’s Bursary, St Vincent de Paul, mental health groups, domestic violence support, aged care facilities as well as flood or drought relief and other causes as needed. Information on current social issues affecting Australian Catholics were also reported on as well as action that CWL has taken to address these issues, such as writing submissions to parliamentarians and signing petitions. The Treasurer’s report revealed a healthy balance which will be used to assist with the expenses of hosting the next State Conference in Mackay next August.

Di Ahmat presenting flowers to incoming diocesan President Cathy Leitenberger

The links that CWL has with State, National and International levels of CWL were also highlighted. Of great interest was the recent Papal audience in Rome where the Pope heard about the activities of Catholic Women’s organisations throughout the world. This was followed by a General Assembly in Assisi where two of our State representatives joined with over 800 women from throughout the World to discuss issues affecting women and children all over the world and to work out resolutions to address these issues.  Our Diocese contributed by being part of the 1964 Masses which were offered by State CWL members for the success of the Audience and Assembly.

A recommendation was passed that all CWL members become informed on the Church’s teachings on the Voice. All delegates were given copies from Cathnews and the Bishop’s newsletter as well as an article written by Father Frank Brennan on the need to keep all interactions respectful.

Finally the election of Officers was held followed by the Closing Prayer, Thanks and Blessing and Grace before all joined in a delicious lunch.

Cathy Leitenberger (Incoming President )

Sheryl Cuttriss (Regional) and Maria Curtin (diocesan) presenting cheque to bishop for Priest’s Bursary,
Dr. Jessica McLaren, presentation speech re: Hope’s Dream and  Sheryl Cuttriss presenting cheque to Dr McLaren.