This year, the Catholic Women’s League of Australia Inc (CWLA) will take its 49th National Biennial Conference over to the south-west of Western Australia, to reflect on the theme “Behold the Miracle of Creation”.

Scheduled to be held at the Lord Forrest Hotel in Bunbury, conference participants from around the country will gather from 9 to 12 September, beginning with a Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, with Bunbury Bishop Gerard Holohan as celebrant.

According to information provided by CWLA, Director Office for Youth – Australian Catholic Bishops Conference - Consultor to the Vatican Dicastry for Laity, Family and Life Malcom Hart will be keynote speaker for the conference.

The Guest speakers scheduled will include Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) Executive Director Dr Debra Sayce, who will speak on the topic “What are the cultural, spiritual and educational challenges along the road to renewal for our Youth?” and CEWA Co-ordinator Catechist Services Dr Pina Ford will highlight “The Call to Holiness in accordance with Magisterium and in light of Resolution 4 from WUCWO General Assembly 2018 Dakar Senegal”.

Past WA State Chaplain, Father Greg Donovan will lend an insight on some of his work and encounters with refugees in his talk titled “Their road to living peacefully, happily and healthily in Australia”.

Other highlights include a conference dinner and entertainment night, a presentation Mrs Catherine McGrath, the CWLA Board Member to World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO).

Besides praying, learning and expanding networks, the CWLA Conference will also offer the opportunity to engage in discussions, in a Q&A session at the conclusion of Fr Joe Parkinson, who will speak on the recent Care for Life programme, and CWLA Research Officer Sonia di Mezza’s talk that will shed some light on the topics of Family and Domestic Abuse.

Motions to be discussed at the National Council meeting held in conjunction with the National Biennial Conference are wide and varied and include poverty in Australia, mental health of young people, Palliative Care rather than Euthanasia, affordable housing for low-income families, and support for women and their unborn children. 

CWLA National Secretary Maria Parkinson said the executive body for CWLA rotates every two years to one of six Member States and is currently in the hands of Western Australia.

“Four of the five-member executive team reside in the south-west, so Bunbury was an easy choice for the 49th National Biennial Conference.

“We are proud of the magnificent St Patrick’s Cathedral with its Robert Juniper paintings, depicting Biblical stories of the Old and New Testament with an Australian theme.

“Bunbury is also the gateway to our pristine south west corner and many of the conference attendees may stay longer to explore its beauty and enjoy its bounty.

Ms Parkinson encouraged all WA members to attend the conference, adding that the conference only “comes to our own state once every 10 years”.

This article was written by Amanda Murthy and originally appeared in The Record on 8 August 2019