2008 Annual Report – International Relations

2008 Annual Report of 
National Chairperson of International Relations
Danielle McNeil-Hessian

The World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations (WUCWO) North American Regional Conference was held in Winnipeg from August 8-10, 2008. The conference was organized under the direction of Agnes Bedard , past national president of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada and the North American vice-president of WUCWO. The year long lead up to the conference with magazine articles and involvement at the parish level resulted in over 300 women attending the conference.

The conference began with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom at Blessed Virgin Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Catholic Church. The concelebrants were Archbishop Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, Archbishop Richard Smith, National Catholic Women’s League’s Spiritual Advisor and Archbishop Martin Currie from St. John’s and Grand Falls.

WUCWO President-General Karen Hurley was presented with a blessed icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv.

Members of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada (CWL) were dressed in ethnic clothing of the sister organizations of WUWCO. This emphasized the fact that the North American Region is part of a much larger international organization from the five continents of the world.

On the second day voices and faces of the women from the continents of Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Latin America were present along with the women from North America in a very moving ceremony that included pictures and life stories.

The theme of the Conference was Women as Peacemakers. Keynote speaker Archbishop Smith spoke to the delegates on Peace and Love, Gifts to be Shared. He reminded those in attendance that “Peace is a state of full communion with God, humanity and nature, all fulfilled in the person of Jesus”. Other speakers included Barbara Dowding, past president of B.C. & Yukon Provincial Council, and Vice Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Vancouver on the 20th anniversary conference of Mulieris Dignitatem and Nazanin Afshin-Jam a human rights activist spoke on Justice and Peace in Our World.

President-General Karen Hurley spoke on the theme and shared with the delegates Pope Benedict XVI’s appreciation for their work and faith as they go about striving to do the will of the Lord.

It was a privilege to host the WUCWO conference in conjunction with the annual convention of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada. Members present had the opportunity to experience the joy of belonging to WUCWO as well as to participate in excellent liturgies and prayer services. The conference will not be held again in Canada for another eight to ten years.