Day 2 of the WUCWO general assembly began with mass organized by the Asia Pacific region. The second panel of three speakers then introduced their topics for consideration by the assembly.
1. Evangeliui gaudium and Amoris Laeitia were the topics of discussion for Dr. Linda Ghisoni, undersecretary for the Laity at the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life. Fran Lucas noted, “Dr. Ghisoni shared with us concerns and torments that have been entrusted to us as women of the world. In reflecting on the theme – “carriers of living water to a world which thirsts for peace”, Dr. Ghisoni found herself thinking about our societies and wondering if the world really is thirsty for peace. So frequently are we among indifferent people who are not thirsty at all. We are always busy, often discouraged, lacking in trust, feeling nothing will change. (EG #83).
So to whom should we be bringing living water? Relationships need to be established to awaken our desire to fulfill the thirst. An example is the story of the Samaritan woman at the well and how Jesus formed a relationship (getting to know who she was and telling her what He knew about her.)
Relationships can take time to happen. Women have different life realities that allow or not our encounter with our neighbor to awaken our thirst. We are called to awaken our thirst of the living water even though there are difficulties. Through our baptism we have become evangelizing agents, making each Christian a missionary disciple. We all must awaken our thirst.
In Amoris Laeitia (#54) there is attention paid to women raising children alone and the many risks faced. We must improve our situation and make a contribution to the world. If not we end up with cruel societies.
2. Laudato Si was the topic for Dr. Maria Teresa Conte Grau, coordinator of the master’s degree in social doctrine on the church (pontifical university of Salamanc, Spain)
3. Gaudete et exsultate was the focus for Dr. Donna Orsuto, founder and director of the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas, USA. Anne shared, “In our world many are thirsting even though they are unaware of what. Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on the call to holiness asks us not to be afraid of it. We will receive new energy. The Lord asks everything of us, but offers happiness for which we were created. We are asked to open our eyes and see the holiness in all people, i.e. everyday holiness to which we are called. It is a gift, an experience of Jesus, unfolding in the mystery of His life, death and resurrection. It’s about living ordinary lives with extraordinary love.”
Dr. Orsuto focused particularly on chapters two, three, four and five. In chapter two Pope Francis, discussed the two subtle enemies of holiness – Gnosticism and Pelagianism. The former manifests itself when we have limited knowledge and impose it on others. In Pelagianism, we rely on ourselves to reach God. In such instances, people lack a deep humility and must admit limits for divine grace. We are called to be vigilant and listen to the Holy Spirit, and be open to the gifts of the Spirit. We must ask ourselves if we are heading to Jesus as we move towards holiness in the discernment process.
Following the panel presentations the delegates broke into 11 working groups to discuss what the six panel members had offered for reflection, using the methodology described in Day 1. After two full sessions, the groups came back together and shared their recommendation for a priority for WUCWO for the 2018-2022 term. Many topics were shared, offering a truly global perspective of the challenges faced by such a diverse group of women from their respective geographic locations and cultures. Topics under consideration include family, youth, respect for creation and the environment, formation of women, sacramental responsibility, the transformational role of women, education of youth in the ways of the church, and establishing a youth committee for WUCWO.
The day ended with a moving ecumenical service prepared by the women of Senegal. It marked the end of study days. The statutory assembly begins on Thursday, October 18th.