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World Day of Prayer Women's Fellowship announcement

The Australian Bishops' Commission for Australian Catholic Women has chosen today's World Day of Prayer to officially announce the establishment of Young Catholic Women's Interfaith Fellowship, which will identify and train key individuals to take a leadership role in promoting interfaith relations.

The Young Catholic Women's Interfaith Fellowship program will equip ten young Catholic women withi academic and skills training in Interfaith Relations in 2006 to equip them for leadership in Interfaith Relations. The value of each Fellowship is $12,000.

Mrs Geraldine Hawkes, Chair of the Commission for Australian Catholic Women said: "The gifts of young Catholic women are necessary for the Church in Australia to come to a more profound understanding of itself and its role in contemporary Australia."

The Commission is seeking women who are especially gifted in forming and nurturing relationships with people from a variety of life experiences.

Last month, each of the State Premiers and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer congratulated the Commission on its initiative to seek funding for the Fellowship, which was approved by the Bishops at their November Plenary meeting in Sydney.

"CACW wishes to ensure that these gifts are encouraged and nourished and that young women be supported in leading the work of building religious understanding and peaceful coexistence in our church and in our world," said Mrs Hawkes.

The Fellowship is comprised of:

an academic course of study resulting in a Graduate Certificate in Interfaith Relations delivered through Australian Catholic University, Canberra campus;
skills development in interfaith dialogue as well as media relations
ongoing engagement in Interfaith Relations
personal and group reflection and processing of course content, skilling and engagement

Recruitment for the Fellowships will be through advertisements in the Catholic press, the Australian Catholic Universitiy, the University of Notre Dame Australia, and nomination by Diocesan offices, Catholic Education Offices, and Ecumenical and Interfaith Commissions.

The World Day of Prayer (logo pictured) is a global ecumenical movement of informed prayer and prayerful action. It was first observed in Australia in 1927 as the Women's World Day of Prayer. Liturgical services are held around the world. Last year, the number of Orders of Service printed for the 2004 Service totalled 104,516 and 1777 Services were held in six Australian States. Today's service - which takes the theme 'Let Our Light Shine' - was created in Poland. Its message is: 'A city built on a hill cannot be hidden'.

Media Release (Commission for Australian Catholic Women 3/3/05)

Commission for Australian Catholic Women
World Day of Prayer Australia
World Day of Prayer
Interfaith fellowships for young Catholic women (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference - Bishops' Plenary Meeting, November 2004 - News Briefs - 6/12/04)

Premiers, Downer pleased with Catholic Women interfaith plan (CathNews 24/2/05)
Women's Commission looks to future lay leadership (CathNews 18/11/04)

4 Mar 2005