Caritas Issues Call to Men and Women

‘Church and Society: Women as Builders of Dialogue’

Call to Men and Women
woman praying outdoors with rosary photo by Vanesa Guerrero

A call to men and women at all levels to work together in cooperation through witness, dialogue, and action, to promote a greater leadership, equality, and participation of women in society. This is the aim of the seminar “Church and Society: Women as builders of dialogue”, organized by Caritas Internationalis and the UK Embassy to the Holy See on March 8, International Women’s Day, from 15:30-17:00 CET, at the Augustinianum Patristic Institute in Rome.

This event, which will be also livestreamed on YouTube, will focus on the importance of women’s contribution in decision-making for integral human development, peace-building, and fraternal cooperation within and beyond Caritas initiatives. Translation into Italian, French and Spanish will be provided.

“Raising the visibility and voices of women enables us to see how society and the Church flourish when the whole of the people of God are able to contribute their gifts and skills to serving the poorest and most vulnerable in society,” says Aloysius John, Secretary-General of Caritas Internationalis.

The British Ambassador to the Holy See Christopher Trott added, “Women’s participation in dialogue, peace-building, and decision-making is essential in the face of the many global challenges we face. Not just for gender equality, which is a critical end in and of itself, but also for ending conflict, tackling poverty, and building resilient economies and stable societies. I commend Caritas Internationalis’ call to promote greater leadership and greater participation of women in the Church and society. I look forward to a rich and fruitful discussion.”

A presentation by Maria Immonen, Director of the Department for World Service of the Lutheran World Federation, will follow.

The event will then give space to female voices of the Caritas Confederation, who will share their experiences:

  • Tetiana Stawnychy, President of Caritas Ukraine
  • Rita Rhayem, Health &HIV Advisor of Caritas Internationalis
  • Susana Raffalli, nutritionist and advisor of Caritas Venezuela

The seminar will conclude, with another authoritative female voice, that of Sister Nathalie Becquart, Under-Secretary of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican.

The event on International Women’s Day will inaugurate an entire month dedicated by Caritas Internationalis to promoting the participation, equality, and leadership of women in the Church and in society. The confederation invites all 162 member organisations, together with communities all around the world, to take part in three further webinars to promote the participation, equality and leadership of women in the Church and in society.

Through this month-long initiative, Caritas Internationalis hopes to inspire ongoing conversations, creativity and collaboration on the inclusion and participation of women in Caritas initiatives and in wider society.

The Caritas Celebrating Women month is an expression of the Caritas Confederation’s ongoing commitment to the promotion of women’s leadership in order that all people can work in fraternal cooperation and solidarity for the integral development of humanity, especially the poor, marginalized and vulnerable, in the post-COVID-19 context.

The other webinars will take place on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, March 15 (15:00-16:30 CET) – “Women as builders of hope: Welcoming and accompanying migrants”
  • Tuesday, March 22 (10:00-11:30 CET) – “Women as builders of solidarity: Caring for the poor and for our common home”
  • Tuesday, March 29 (14:30-16:00 CET) – “Women as builders of future: Walking together for Equality, Encounter and Renewal”

In addition to these events, Caritas Internationalis will provide various resources, including testimonies from around the world and an online photo exhibition. All information and resources are available on Caritas Internationalis’ website

Everyone is encouraged to take part in our Caritas Celebrating Women Month initiative, and to organize and share their own events or initiatives using the hashtags #WomeninDialogue and #CaritasWomen on social media.