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Brief History of Catholic Women’s Council, Gizo


Celebrating 25th Years Silver Jubilee

Theme: “Catholic Women Council of the Diocese of Gizo Lived and Experienced Good Christian and Culture Values like Mary as our Model”

Background
The Diocese of Gizo is one of the 3 dioceses in the Solomon Islands and was formed from the vicariates of the Northern and Southern Solomons in the early 1960s.
In 1956 the first group of Australian Dominican priests, brothers, sisters and laity arrived to shoulder responsibility under the Diocese of Gizo which was established on the 15th of November 1956.

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The first Bishop who served in the diocese of Gizo was Bishop Eusebius Crawford OP. He was appointed as a bishop on the 1st of March 1960 and retired on the 3rd February 1995.

In that period too, he was working alongside with his other 2 colleague bishops serving in the Solomon Islands (Auki and Honiara) it was here too, they saw the need for women to be motivated, developed, and raised both spiritually and physically. They saw their formation was crucial in the family circle in order to raise and nurture their children to live good Christian values and live in a healthy and happy environment. The church then continued to encourage women by ways of organizing and conducting educational programs especially for women and young girls.

On the 18th to 20th April, 1991 Mrs. Georgina Sogote from the Archdiocese of Honiara facilitated the first formation workshop for the women here in the diocese of Gizo. Participants were selected from Gizo, Shortland Islands and from Moli Choiseul Province.

On the 27th April to the 1st of May, 3 reps from the Gizo diocese attended the workshop held in Auki. The workshop mainly focused on the role of Woman and its ministry in the church.

It was after this workshop that the women in the diocese of Gizo became motivated and aware of the purpose for establishing the organization for the first time.

Objectives for the Catholic Women’s organization:

  • To teach Catholic mothers to take Mary Mother of God to be their Model
  • To help these mothers to develop their spiritual growth in the home, so that the family unity will be strengthened
  • To help mothers to understand their role as mother
  • To educate mothers to improve family living in a healthy environment
  • To help mothers to acquire basic sewing, cooking and other domestic skills necessary for family life
  • To educate mothers with the knowledge of ecumenical.
Vision and Statement

Under the guardian of Mary, the Mother of God We Catholic Women’s Council to live our Christian value and Reaffirm our Unity as a Church Body.

Mission Statement

Catholic Women’s Council is committed to Prayer and Promote Holiness as a way forward to strengthen Unity and Love in our families, communities and will continue to Teach and Respect Good Traditional and Cultures.

Setting up CWC in the Diocese of Gizo

In 1992 the Family Life Apostolate office was established under Bishop Eusebius Crawford op; with the help of Fr. Christopher Cardone op; who served a number of years as a priest in the diocese of Gizo. At that time too, the women’s office was formally established and it was headed by Janet Herosolo as the Diocesan women’s coordinator for the Diocese of Gizo. This was its initial stage of setup and formation for the Catholic Women’s group here in Gizo.

On 3rd of February, 1995 Fr. Cyril O’Grady op; was appointed as the second bishop for the Diocese of Gizo. Under his leadership then was Ms. Rebecca Magata, was appointed as a coordinator for the Women’s Council for Choiseul province.

Six years after, on the 27th of March 2001, Fr. Christopher Cardone op; was appointed Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Gizo. On the 12th December 2004, Bishop Chris Cardone op took up his new duties as bishop of Malaita, diocese of Auki replacing Bishop Gerry Loft sm who retired from his post as bishop for the Malaita province.

Under Bishop Gerry’s leadership, with the help of a doctor’s wife from New Zealand who came to serve in our main hospitals in the provinces, his wife, Mrs. Sheila McBride , seriously trained the women from these 3 dioceses of Solomon Islands on the Catholic Women’s Council, thus the Catholic Women’s Council was formally Organized.

On 21st October 2007, Bishop Luciano Capelli sdb; was ordained as a bishop for the Diocese of Gizo and he also continued to support the Catholic Women’s Council.

Today in our Diocese and parish we see our women play these roles :

  • Helping and caring for their own families and homes, teaching their children to become obedience and respectfully
  • Praying and taking part in the Church liturgy, and involved in cleaning up surrounding of the church building and provide decoration in the church building
  • Visiting the sick, and the dying, aging and disables, comforting and helping each other in family needs
  • Acquiring knowledge’s and skills to improvelivings
  • Attending meetings and involves in decission making, include in other workshops in and outside community.
  • Heading in planning programs for feast days and other special programs for the church.
In the Gizo Diocesan level 2 big rallies were held for the Catholic Women Council. One in 2003, at Nila Catholic mission station, and the other one was held at Vanga RTC in 2009. During these 2 rallies women shared their talents skills and gained other relevant information which helped them with their Spiritual, Physical and cultural growth.

Acknowledgement

To our missionaries, past and present from both overseas and in Solomon Islands for the heart of love and compassion in serving to raise up women of the diocese of Gizo
To our Government both National and Provincial, other Agencies and NGO’s for investing in development, economic and social services enhancing the livelihoods of our communities in the diocese of Gizo.
To past and present laities both oversea and Solomon Islands who work tirelessly in setting up our organization to where we are, for the passion to assisting our women to progress the prosper.
To all fathers of our homes for the supporting in enabling women to take part in other community life activities and involving women in making decisions that positively affects our community, parish, diocese and the country Solomon Island.
To our children and grandchildren to understand and being obedience in responding to the call of mothers involving and engaging in family and community chores.
To all women in the diocesan women’s council in past and currently leading our communities in zones, parishes for your commitment and sacrifices made voluntarily leading the way forward.

Conclusion:
All women groups in the Gizo Diocese had called for their 25th Anniversary celebration and had fulfilled it
“Wishing all Women from all parishes under the Diocese of Gizo A very Joyful Silver Jubilee Celebration! ”

CONGRATULATIONS! Happy Anniversary on our twenty five years of existence!

Sr. Rita Pitavavini op;

Tags: Brief women's history,

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