The Growing in Grace Women’s Conference journeyed to the Holy Trinity RC Church, Arouca Parish Hall on Sunday, September 8, for the fourth annual Conference with the theme Baptised and Sent.
The host parish priest and spiritual director of the Arouca Parish Women of Grace study programme, Fr Gregory Mc Lawrence CSSp gave examples of women in mission in the Church and encouraged all women present to be women of faith and grace in answering their call to mission.
The role of women in the Church and society is a subject of constant human and Christian reflection. Bernadette Patrick, conference coordinator invited all women to ponder on the Church’s documents on women, namely, the closing addresses of the Second Vatican Council, (December 8,1965) and Pope St John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter On the Dignity and Vocation of Women (Mulieris Dignitatem), (June 29,1995).
All women were invited to proclaim the closing message of the second Vatican Council “The Hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do much to aid humanity in not failing.”
The attendees also reflected on the Apostolic Letter to women, Mulieris Dignitatem: “If you knew the gift of God—John 4:10, Jesus says to the Samaritan woman during one of those remarkable conversations which show his great esteem for the dignity of women and for the vocation which enables them to share in his messianic mission. This is an event without precedent: that a woman and what more a ‘sinful woman,’ becomes a ‘disciple’ of Christ. Indeed, once taught, she proclaims Christ to the inhabitants of Samaria, so that they too receive him with faith (cf Jn 4:39-42).”
We see in this reflection by Pope St John Paul II, that the Samaritan woman becomes a disciple and proclaims the gospel she heard, leaving her water jar behind like the first disciples who left their fishing boats to follow Jesus.
Pope Francis’ invitation to the Church, to embark on the journey of missionary discipleship, echoes Jesus’ call and the response of the Samaritan woman and the disciples. For Jesus’ command and the response in faith transformed them into fearless and zealous missionary disciples.
Jesus’ invitation to missionary discipleship is extended to each one of us as well. The Lord’s call echoes in the ordinary moments of our life, in the places of our daily work, just as He encountered the Samaritan woman, He is waiting to encounter you. Pope Francis in his Apostolic letter Evangelii Gaudium ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ invites “all Christians, everywhere, at this moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ or at least an openness to letting him encounter them,” like the Samaritan woman.
Fr Ian Taylor, Spiritual Director of the Tunapuna Parish Women of Grace study programme ended the Conference by giving women an opportunity to renew their missionary mandate through testimony, prayer and commissioning.
The testimony shared touched the hearts of all women present and women responded with a lively faith, filled with great love and joy as Fr Taylor ministered and commissioned all women to be missionary disciples.
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