Sandakan : International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8th every year. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievement. It is also an occasion to look back on past struggles and to look ahead for opportunities for the betterment of future generations of women. With this recognition, we as women should be aware that the presence and our existence as women is needed for all aspects of life.
The Catholic Women's Apostolate (CWA) in close collaboration with the Good Shepherd Welfare Centre (PKGS) conducted a half-day talk, themed "Catholic Women : Precious and Beloved" at St. Mary's Parish Hall on March 16, 2014. Some 150 women and teenagers attended the event.
Sr Barbara in her introductory session touched on the background to International Women's Day, recognized by the United Nations in 1975, and celebrated on March 8th every year.
In the creation story, Gen.1:26-27, it speaks of our relationship with God our Creator, with others, and with creation. God is present in every person, regardless of race, gender, economic status and others. She touched on the life and dignity of a human person ~ sacred and to be respected. We have a fundamental right to life and the right to the things that contribute to a more decent life.
The presence of women in the domestic environment appears to be an essential part for the transmission of faith and good moral values. Women not only strive to build peace and harmony in the family, but for all of humanity. Women must play greater role in society and the church without sacrificing significant attention and contribution to the family.
In the context of the church, women are precious and loved. Quoting Pope Francis (January 25, 2014), during the National Congress sponsored by the Italian Women's Centre, encouraged increased partcipation of women in the church. Women are to emulate the role of Mother Mary as a woman and mother in society with full faith in the Lord Jesus and His mission in this world.
In winding up the session, she said that woman and man are one in Christ. We are parts of the Body called to contribute to the life and mission of the church. The session ended with a song, titled 'You are the Queen, Mother of my heart' presented by the youth.