The Roman Catholic Parish of Lady, Star of the Sea, Weymouth, Dorset, UK
Catholic Women’s League
Margaret Fletcher set up the Catholic Women’s League in 1906 for the education of women. The League still offers members the opportunities to develop and learn new skills, and use them for the benefit of the church and especially their local parish. Belonging to CWL is a journey of prayer, faith and friendship.
Our Patron is St Margaret Clitherow, Martyred at York on 25th March 1586, canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970.
Whether it is providing coffee and biscuits after Mass, helping with catering at other parish events, fundraising for national and local community charities, our parish CWL members show unity in prayer and action.
Interested in joining us? Speak with committee members Monica Garlick (Chairperson) or June Rust (Secretary). You will be welcome!
The December meeting welcomed Jean Churchill. Her presentation focused on the Season of Advent and included readings from two inspirational poems by John Betjeman. Jean then led us in carols, accompanying us on the piano. The first carol kept to the poetic theme as it was the beautiful poem of Christina Rossetti, “In the Bleak Midwinter”. Many of the Weymouth section declared that they were no singers, so we were all grateful for the welcome addition of Dorchester CWL members who made good the deficit!
A donation was handed to Jean for her charity Biblelands, PO Box 50, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP15 7QU. This charity supports local Christian groups in the Holy Land providing health and educational services for children there. Two of these are the Helen Keller School in Jerusalem for blind children and the Rehabilitation Centre in Bethlehem helping disabled children and those from poor and broken homes. !
The meeting also remembered member Vicky Webb who celebrated her 90th birthday recently. Vicky had been thrilled by the card and flowers from her fellow CWL members. The meeting also remembered in prayer sick members, especially Gillian Bettle. !
At the recent Branch meeting, held in Branksome earlier this month, Weymouth CWL manned the Bring and Buy Stall; it was an outstanding success. At our recent parish Christmas Fayre they manned the Bric-a-Brac Stall which was equally successful. There's obviously retail talent as well as catering talent in our section!
At the November meeting the spiritual reading was delivered by Myra Rich. The focus was on positivism in order to help meet “the tremendous need in the world”. It spoke of “surrounding ourselves with beautiful people” and the beautiful people at this CWL meeting were happy to welcome Margaret Naine, who showed them how to make equally beautiful Christmas cards.
The Healing Mass, organised by the CWL, was a huge success yet again this year. The meeting also decided on this year’s community charities which they support: Samaritans, Soul Food, Weymouth and District LIFE Group and Mary’s Meals. It was decided to give £100 to the Philippine Relief Fund, where there is “tremendous need”.
A decision was made to invite a speaker from the Purple Teardrop Campaign to give a presentation at one of the 2014 meetings. A prayer was said for all those caught up in trafficking.
On a lighter note, the ladies were invited to suggest a venue for their January meal out; this will be finalised in December.
September’s meeting had to be cancelled; a rare occurrence.
However, in September the CWL members had manned a Carnival stall, selling programmes and raffle tickets on behalf of Weymouth Carnival and Events Club. A letter of thanks from the Club was read out at the October Meeting. The CWL Stall had been particularly lively and successful!
The October Meeting got down to the serious planning of the Healing Mass which will take place on Saturday 9th November at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish at Stavordale Road. Volunteers were sought for the making of casseroles and apple pies, for shoppers, servers and welcomers.
The Carnival had been CWL outreach to the local community and the Healing Mass is in-reach for the benefit of the Parish community. The CWL Prayer at all meetings highlights such "charity, work and loyalty" .
In the final prayers of the afternoon the members remembered those missing in conflict and those missing from domestic environments; there was prayer for them and for their families. In this context the Purple Teardrop Campaign was mentioned
Usually this day of remembrance for the disappeared is the 30th August, the feast day of St Margaret Clitheroe.
At a recent Weymouth meeting members took on hard copies of a document entitled "10 steps to keeping your child safer on the internet". They were to pass them on to family in the hope of protecting grandchildren and, in some cases, great grandchildren. This very useful document can be downloaded at www.safetynet.org.uk. Further copies were handed out to parents after Sunday Mass, spreading the safety net even wider.
In contrast on August 13th twenty one members with guests had lunch in the café at Gould’s Garden Centre, Littlemoor. This summer lunch out is always enjoyable with good food and good company.
The Lulworth CWL Branch Picnic was a great success. The Mass was said by Father Richard, Branch Spiritual Advisor. The weather was kind this year too.
The CWL Table Top Sale held at Stavordale Road was a success, as was the CreamTea to which ladies from other churches had been invited. The feedback from them was very positive; it's good to gather together in fellowship.
The July CWL Weymouth Section Meeting had a presentation by Father Stephen on Spirituality:
We are a spiritual people made up of body and soul. The soul is implanted at animation, at conception. So the soul is the essence of our being. The soul is a spiritual force within us even in the womb. The soul is in God's image and is His gift.
Human beings need to know. We search for the Who? Why? What? We seek a purpose; an intrinsic search for truth. This spiritual search is a function of the soul. We have free will to make choices. In our search we need wisdom to make mature choices. Choices are made for and against God.
Through revelation Christianity has the most advanced concept of the Trinitarian Nature of God. Prayer helps in our spiritual development towards a personal relationship with God.
There are three types of prayer: oral prayer, meditation and contemplation. We should seek a daily time for prayer; make it a habit.
Monica Garlick thanked Father Stephen, who is our Spiritual Advisor. The meeting ended, as always, in prayer.; a CWL habit.
Monthly CWL meetings are held at Stavordale Road. Members gather at 2pm on the second Tuesday of each month. Such gatherings are often graced by guest speakers.
In April Margaret Naine, a parishioner who is a member of the One World Group and a stalwart of local Fairtrade, revealed her other talent by showing members how to make greetings cards!
As a result of members’ hands-on efforts, Confirmation cards were sent to the parish teenagers, bridging the generation gap. Margaret ensured that extra cards were available for the Dorchester candidates, who were confirmed by Bishop Christopher with our own teenagers at the parish of Our Lady Star of the Sea.
May found Sally Newman as guest at the CWL meeting; another parishioner who is a catechist with the Junior Children’s Liturgy. Sally gave a presentation on Calligraphy. There was an inspirational display of her own artistic work and that of former pupils; Sally was an art teacher.
Slides were shown illustrating the history of writing from that on Sumerian clay tablets to the simple but elegant form of Roman inscriptions carved in stone. Then we progressed via manuscript-writing in the Middle Ages to the German Gothic of the early printing presses.
The elegant and romantic quill gave way to the functional metal nib in the 19th century when machines churned them out in large numbers.
William Morris of Arts and Crafts Movement fame reintroduced calligraphy, which is used today in graphic design; the shadow-pen is fun creating more than one line at a time. The computer can produce good effects but Sally still espouses the hands-on art of the calligrapher; the Queen still has an official calligrapher.
The June meeting was the annual Cream Tea Event when ladies groups from other churches in Weymouth were invited along. There wasn't a speaker this time; the little grey cells had to work hard at a very taxing quiz. The winning team, with a score of 14 out of 30, were given a stick of Weymouth rock each!
On Saturday, June 22nd, at 10.30am, the CWL are holding a Table Top Sale at the Parish Hall, Stavordale Road. Everybody is welcome to come along for a little retail therapy.
The spring edition of the CWL News was available at this month's Weymouth Section meeting. Its front page features the recent Annual Officers' Meeting in Derbyshire. Eighty CWL Branch officers were present from all over the country.
The weekend focused on The Way Forward, a document which showed the results of a CWL self-evaluation survey reflecting the concerns of 122 sections from all 20 branches. Weymouth Section had responded to the survey with their offerings being forwarded to Branch and from there to National.
Some of the main results of the survey showed that friendship and care for one another were at the core of the League.
There was concern that the League needed to attract younger members to ensure survival. This was seen as a major challenge and one that should be at the top of each section's agenda.
There was a recommendation that officers should stand down when their term of office came to an end so as to ensure an input of new ideas and strategies. There was a concern about administrative overload; measures will be put in place to reduce this.
Another concern was that the League seemed not to have strategies beyond the valuable works of charity already being carried out nationwide.
Finally there was a call for Branches and Sections to embrace technology as a way to reduce costs and disseminate information. There was even a move towards re-branding with a promise of a new-look CWL News!>
Weymouth Section members at their own monthly meeting responded to National's call to write in defence of marriage to members of the House of Lords. Lists of Conservative Peers were available at the meeting. Members will write their own personal letter to a peer of their choice.
April was the month for the CWL Dorset Branch AGM, held this year at the Parish Centre, Dorchester.
Father Rice celebrated Mass and in his homily praised the work of the CWL in his parish of Holy Trinity, Dorchester. He wished all CWL members well and deceased members were prayed for.
The guest speaker at this event was Mrs Bernie Townsend from the CWL Services Committee. Today families in the Services are helped practically and financially.
She spoke of the origins of this initiative in France in the First World War, where a hut was opened to provide food and entertainment for the troops. Similar huts were opened in England during the Second World War: the first one was sited next to Westminster Cathedral, where the book shop now stands. Finally the huts were closed when they became too costly to run.
Leaflets were available on the National Memorial Arboretum in the Midlands where a CWL-funded bench is located on Millennium Avenue in front of the RAF Benevolent Fund Memorial, close to the Visitor Centre.
After the election of officers and the closing prayers the meeting was followed in the traditional manner by tea, cake and a raffle draw!
Weymouth Section's AGM was well attended, lively and successful. A report of the section's achievements, based on the parish website CWL monthly updates, was given. It focused on the group's many practical activities throughout the year. The chairperson's report and the secretary's report supplemented this with a sharp focus on the spiritual life of the CWL.
The two aspects dovetail perfectly during this Lenten season. The Section has been involved in providing the popular Friday Lenten Lunches. In addition it had the task of organising the many parish groups in covering the Friday morning Stations of the Cross. This further unites the parish in prayer.
Also the CWL welcomes parishioners to share in the Passover Meal. This takes place on 25th March and entrance is by ticket only. These are available from Secretary June Rust 781958.
Father Stephen attended the AGM and urged the CWL to continue to inform the parish of what they achieve, as this should bring in even more people to swell the section's membership. He valued highly the work done within the parish by the CWL. The Branch chairperson also praised the Weymouth Section and especially the leadership of the retiring chairperson, Janet Newington. She welcomed warmly the incoming chairperson, Monica Garlick.
The AGM had started and ended in prayer, as do all CWL meetings. This was food for the soul, but there was food for the body too with cake, biscuits, tea and coffee afterwards!
On Saturday morning, 23rd February, Weymouth CWL Section hosted the Dorset Branch meeting at the Parish Hall at Stavordale Road. Officers of Branksome / Parkstone Section, Wareham / Wool Section, Dorchester Section and Weymouth Section were present. Two Bridport observers were welcomed warmly to the meeting. Father Richard from Bridport is the Dorset Branch's spiritual adviser; he is keen to have a CWL Section in his own Bridport parish.
Trying to cut down on travel expenditure, Dorset Branch Officers have decided to attend Section meetings rather than Section members travelling to Dorset Branch meetings. They also reported on the success of Dorset Branch social events. Friendship is a hallmark of CWL.
The officers stressed how important it was for members to keep up the pressure in defence of marriage, both pro-actively by writing in support and also through prayer. Prayers were asked too for our retiring Pope Benedict and for the Cardinals as they meet to elect the new Pope.
On the local scene Weymouth CWL members have been very pleased with the positive response to the Lenten Lunches in the Parish.
They have been very impressed too by parish teenagers from the Diocesan Youth Pilgrimage Team, who have been helping with the washing up after Sunday refreshments. They have done this totally unsolicited. Weymouth CWL Section has decided to reward them with a donation to their fund. This will help to ensure that no young person from the parish will be excluded from the pilgrimage because they cannot achieve the full cost. Yvonne Claridge who is in charge of the Youth Team says “This is a trip, that once taken, will never be forgotten”.
On Tuesday 15th January seventeen members and guests met at the Spa Hotel on Dorchester Road for the first of their 2013 meals together.
Father Stephen said grace before the meal. There was a great deal of laughter, but there were moments of sadness as we realised that some members could not make it, either through their own illness or that of family members.
The generous portions of the Spa's "Lite Bites" were commented on and people wondered at the possible size of the "Heavy Bites"!
All agreed that a pleasant afternoon had been enjoyed by everyone. Mary, who now finds herself house-bound, expressed her delight at being brought along to the meal. She commented that being house-bound was not too bad as so many people popped in to see her.
CWL members do give generously of their time in visiting others. An invitation is extended to any lady in the parish who feels lonely to come along and join our friendly CWL Section.
We note that a recent WRVS report stated that 10% of older people live more than 40 miles from their nearest family members . Come along and join the CWL family.
To go to our National Website click here