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State President
Mrs Catherine McGrath

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CWLA-NSW Conference September 19 - 21: click here for details































































































































Catholic Women’s League-NSW Inc was very involved in what has been a most exciting and wonderful event.   CWLA Inc had a booth at the WYD Vocations Expo at Darling Harbour titled “CWLA’s National Bouquet” representing each National State and Canberra/Goulburn using colourful floral emblems, National and Member Organisation signs and other CWLA promotional material.   The booth was staffed by volunteers from CWLA membership and had many visitors stop to look and ask questions.

Because of its close proximity to this event CWLA-NSW Inc was particularly involved especially Catherine McGrath State President and Moya Potts who was CWLA WYD Representative.   CWLA was asked to undertake the task of sewing a number of the Altar Linens required for this occasion and the eight dioceses in the State responded generously to this request.  Sydney Archdiocese, being in the centre of WYD08, undertook the final aspect of this effort such as handling, folding and making ready the Linens and Altar cloths for delivery to the many catechises sites across NSW where they were used in liturgical celebrations during the five day event.   Some dioceses undertook the knitting of scarves and beanies for thousands of international pilgrims who came from hot climates.   Members from all over the State were also involved in various activities such as Homestay Programs, Days In The Dioceses, Pilgrim Partnership and others.


An invitation was extended to CWLA to attend at Government House for the Ceremonial Welcome to His Holiness Pope Benedict XV1 and with much excitement National President Karyn Kammann, State President Catherine McGrath, Sydney Vice -President Loretta Chester and Sydney Council Members were honoured to attend.   What a wonderful day it was with the sun shining, blue skies above and our beautiful Sydney harbour looking its very best.   On their arrival at Government House our happy group of CWLA members joined a small number of guests in the very magnificent grounds. 

A splendid army and navy parade  took place and the official welcome.   His Holiness Pope Benedict XV1 then arrived to a twenty one gun salute.    His Holiness then addressed the audience with that wonderful smile, charm and graciousness he showed during his visit.   He spoke wonderful words of our youth and of his warm welcome to Australia.   His presence and the   close proximity of our ladies to His Holiness as he waved, smiled and acknowledged the guests was a truly moving experience for them and it was a day which our CWLA ladies will long remember.


CWLA had been extended an invitation by the WYD08 organising team to be aboard the Papal boat the Sydney 2000 and Moya Potts was awarded this honour.   The following are extracts from a report by Moya.

“I was most fortunate to join representatives from other catholic agencies and organisations as we arrived at the Opera House for final accreditation and security check.   Young pilgrims from all over the world had been chosen to board the boat and they filled the open top deck getting into the spirit of the day with singing, chanting and flag waving before leaving the dock.   Cardinals and Bishops  in their flowing scarlet and purple robes, together with the clergy, processed on board for this memorable event.

After all the appropriate security checks were complete – I was on the boat!    The catering staff had prepared a lovely buffet which we enjoyed as we relaxed and chatted.   The police presence on the water shadowed the Sydney 2000 as we departed Man O’ War steps for our journey up the harbour to Rose Bay to meet the Papal entourage and for His Holiness to board the vessel.   All along the route we could see many hundreds of people waiting to  catch a glimpse of the Pontiff.   At last he was here!   Alighting from his car His Holiness, accompanied by Cardinal Pell and many Bishops,  was greeted with a traditional welcome by the Aboriginal community and elders.   On his boarding the Sydney 2000 a cheer went up and the young Pilgrims on the top deck chanted “Benedicto!” “ Benedicto!”   As we departed Rose Bay the many boats nearby sounded their horns acknowledging the presence of His Holiness.  

On the outer deck the Pope waved to the many people on the waterways and the sight of him sent the crowds wild with cheers and chanting.   Proceeding up the harbour a select few of the young representatives from around the world met the Holy Father and you could see the love in their eyes as His Holiness warmly greeted them.   As we went under the harbour bridge I looked up and saw the bridge climbers atop the bridge waving enthusiastically.  

Finally approaching Barangaroo, the sights, the sounds, and the energy were palpable.   On board we were all caught up in the excitement of the pilgrims waiting for His Holiness to alight from the boat as our part of the journey with him was now coming to an end.   As he departed the boat I caught my final glimpse of His Holiness and felt very humble to have been near his presence.   This is a day I will never forget.”


Armidale Branch   Following a request from Bishop Matthys that members encourage the Filipino parishioners  in CWL activities, these ladies were personally invited to join members in morning tea in the Ursuline Convent following the WUCWO Mass.  Several of the Filipino ladies were happy to accept the invitation and a happy morning was enjoyed by all.

Tamworth Branch   A very successful day was held in Tamworth Botanical Gardens  when this branch hosted the Southern Region Conference.   The atmosphere was picnic rather than formal for the Conference which was held in an open courtyard on a lovely sunny day.   Everyone was in a happy mood following quizzes and word games which eventuated after the formal activities were completed.   The Guest Speaker was Anne Jacob who told of the work her young godson was doing in Kisumu in Kenya in educating the children and supporting families by encouraging their artistic abilities.   Anne showed some of this work and members were very  impressed with the colours and beautiful work in the scarves,  dresses and beautiful jewellery which had been done by people who lived under very harsh conditions.

Asquith Branch   A visit to St.Edmunds School at Wahroonga from this branch, together with many other members from Broken Bay Diocese was a very special outing.   St Edmunds is a Co-educational Special Secondary School for years 7 to 12 for students with vision impairment and other special needs.  Members toured the school meeting staff and students at work.   Members were entertained to a musical item from “Grease” by the students and they had our ladies toe tapping and hand clapping along with them.   Members were delighted to meet such happy beautiful young people and see the wonderful work staff are doing at the school.   Diocesan President Maureen presented a cheque for the continuation of a Student Scholarship which the Broken Bay Diocese has provided for many years and all were pleased to meet Steve, the young boy who will be the recipient of the Scholarship.

Grafton Branch  is hosting twenty young people from Korea and thirty from Tonga, pilgrims for WYD08, and members have been  very busy collecting scarves and beanies for these young people who will feel the chill of our winter while in Sydney .   Vinnies has joined in the quest and is stockpiling warm track suits and jumpers to help with the cold.
Port Macquarie Branch .   Diocesan President Ann and Secretary  Wendii attended a meeting of this branch and encouraged members to give serious thought to ideas to keep the branch afloat as they were having some difficulty in filling executive positions.    Five members “answered the call” and did some serious thinking and formed a Committee to fill the position of President and so continue the good work of this branch.   Their Annual Book Stall was such a great success that they raised enough money to fulfil their projects for the year.
Bellingen Branch.   This branch held a Street Stall which was such a success that they were able to make a generous donation to Cord Blood – the Diocesan Project.  
An anointing Mass was held for ladies in the parish who were over 80 years of age and their oldest member Ella Maxwell, who is over 90 years, was  present..
This branch members raised $3,000 to enable young people from the Solomon Islands to attend WYD08.

Maitland / Newcastle hosted the fourth Workshop of the Catholic Women’s Leadership  Development Project (CWLD) held in the Toohy Room at Hamilton recently.   State President Catherine McGrath welcomed approx. 65  women, including members of the State Executive, to this Workshop.   Jane Woolford was the Presenter, with the topic “Women Leading International Development”.   Jane is the Communications Officer for Caritas, the Catholic Agency for International Aid and Development.   She spent two years in East Timor working for Caritas’ Emergency Relief Reconstruction and Rehabilitation, following the post referendum violence in 1999.   Jane impressed her audience speaking of the work she had done with women who, in very difficult situations, became leaders in their own communities.   CWLA members were very diligent  in hosting this Workshop, setting up the room and providing and offering refreshments and lots of goodies for the group.   Several of the young women attending were very interested in applying for a Scholarship.    This Workshop completes the Pilot Program for the CWLD Project.

Baulkham Hills Branch  visited St.Thomas’ Chaldean Church at Bossley Park and were warmly welcomed.   The Chaldean population goes back to Babylon times, many years before Christ, and they settled along the Persian Gulf.  Their mass is celebrated like ours but spoken in their own language, Aramaic, which was spoken by Jesus.   After viewing their beautiful church and listening to a talk by Fr. Maher we adjoined to their spacious hall and were greeted by many parishioners and treated to a delicious morning tea including some of their speciality dishes.   Members enjoyed the companionship of such a generous group of people.
Parramatta Branch.    Congratulations to all members on celebrating their 48th birthday.

Parramatta Diocese are still very busy organising the State Conference.   Keep up the good work ladies.

Two members, Audrey Stewart, Enfield Branch and Mary Sharp, Campsie Branch, were among the 43 ladies, now in their 90s, who were honoured for their work for the betterment of women and their communities, at the 16th Jean Arnot Memorial Luncheon at Parliament House recently.   Both ladies continue to be involved in CWL and community activities.   This luncheon was organised by The National Council of Women NSW Inc. and Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women Inc.

After 19 years as Chaplain to CWL in the Wollongong Diocese, Father Sarkis asked to be relieved of this position due to the amount of work involved in running his own large parish, Our Lady Help of Christians at Rosemeadow.   Members were very grateful to Father for his guidance and availability at all times over these years.   At his final meeting a presentation was made to Father with many good wishes for his future work.   Father Sean Cullen has accepted the position of Diocesan Chaplain.
Kiama Branch.  Congratulations to Kiama Branch who celebrated its 30th birthday,  Nowra Branch who celebrated its first birthday and Albion Park Branch who recently re-formed after 12 women met and decided to re-form the branch.    Good wishes to these three branches.

19TH,  20TH,  21ST SEPTEMBER, 2008

 On Friday 19th September, 2008 at 6pm the Opening Mass for the State Conference of the Catholic Women’s League-NSW Inc. will be celebrated in St. Patrick’s Cathedral Parramatta.    Prior to the last blessing at Mass the Conference will be officially opened.    A Cocktail Party will then be held at The Sebel Hotel, Church Street, Parramatta,  just across the park from the Cathedral, and the venue for the Conference for the next two days, Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st September.

Excellent speakers have been chosen covering a variety of subjects and all members are assured of an informative and happy few days. Dr. Peter Spitzer, “The Clown Doctor”, is one of the speakers and should provide us with an interesting and amusing talk.   Other speakers include Khristina Keneally, Minister for the Department of Ageing, Kimberley Davis CEO of Council of Australian Catholic Women  and Fr.Chris Riley has been invited.

There will be the usual Trading Table and daily raffles.   The main raffle has wonderful prizes so lets make a special effort with this and sell lots of tickets which should be in your hands now, together with Registration Forms and accommodation details for the Conference.

We hope you are excited about the Conference and getting yourselves organised to attend in good numbers to come along and join together for lots of faith, fun and friendship and learn more about the wonderful organisation we belong to.

For more information:  
Email:  [email protected]

Doreen Ford – Communications Officer
Catholic Women’s League – NSW Inc.