By Donella Johnston
THE Office for the Participation of Women was established by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in 2001 as a result of recommendations arising from the Woman and Man: One in Christ Jesus Report on the Participation of Women in the Catholic Church in Australia (1999).
The office’s main role is to promote the participation of women in decision-making, leadership and ministry in the Catholic Church in Australia and to provide a focal point for ongoing dialogue and the integration of ideas pertaining to women and their participation in the Catholic Church in Australia.
The Office for the Participation of Women reports to the Bishops’ Commission for Church Ministry.
The current bishop delegate to the office is Bishop Peter Ingham of Wollongong.
The Council for Australian Catholic Women advises the Bishops’ Commission for Church Ministry on matters relating to the participation of women in the Catholic Church in Australia.
One of the main projects of the office is the Young Catholic Women’s Interfaith Fellowship, a leadership development program for Catholic women.
The program consists of four components: a Graduate Certificate in Theology, personal and spiritual formation, leadership development, and interfaith engagement.
Potential sponsors and donors can contact fellowship co-ordinator Andrea Dean on 0487 388 873 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The office produces a monthly e-newsletter Women Matter that celebrates the achievements of women in the Church.
Please sign up and feel free to send us any news involving women in your agency or organisation.
For updates visit our website, “like” us on Facebook and “follow” us on Twitter.
We also encourage Catholic women to sign up to our skills database.
This is a registry of women with expertise in particular areas and who are prepared to share their gifts with others on boards, panels, as guest speakers, presenters and facilitators.
Please keep it in mind next time you are looking for an appropriate gender balance for an advisory or governing body or for an event.
Donella Johnston is director of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conferenceís Office for the Participation of Women director.