The Roman Catholic Parish of Lady, Star of the Sea, Weymouth, Dorset, UK

Catholic Women’s League

About the 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.

Generally ...

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 Frances Woodward (Chairperson) or June Rust (Secretary). You will be welcome!


News December 2016

Our December Social was very enjoyable, though illness had decimated the ranks. We started with our home-grown entertainment extravaganza on a Christmas theme. This was followed by Christmas raffle (Christmas goodies kindly donated by Monica Garlick), sweet and savoury buffet with wine and taxing quiz; a great relaxing end to a very busy CWL year.

Theresa from the local drugs and alcohol agency, EDP, joined us to collect the Christmas gift bags provided by our members for their clients; they will receive them later in the week at the EDP Christmas Meal. Theresa was quite taken aback at the generosity of our members.

The last event of our CWL year involves the provision and serving of mulled wine and mince-pies after the parish Advent Carol Service. Then it all starts again in the New Year. At this month's meeting Members received copies of our Section's 2017 Calendar; busy, busy, busy!

Tuesday 3rd January is our Winter Meal Out. This is followed by the General Meeting on Tuesday 10th January, when the speaker is Joyce Fannon giving a talk on Catholic Women of the Reformation.

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News November 2016

November and December are very busy months for the Weymouth Section. There will be representatives attending the Dorchester Section's Ecumenical meeting at the end of this month and attending the Founder's Day Meeting at Branksome on 1st December.

The parish Healing Mass follows on Saturday 3rd December at 11am. Members will be providing the usual warm meal after the Mass. The Section's Social follows on Tuesday 13th December with home spun entertainment, a buffet and a seasonal raffle.

Once the date of the parish Carol Service has been finalised our members will be providing the mulled wine and mince pies in the hall afterwards.

Also hands went up, volunteering to help our Vice-chairperson Suzanne Newson and Anthea Spearing with the Christmas Bazaar. All in all a very busy two month's work!

Our speaker this month was Elizabeth Wood of the Church of England Mother's Union. She traced the history of the MU for us with its emphasis on the core value of helping families. She felt that there were similarities with the work of the Catholic Women's League, However we discovered that there were differences. She left copies of the MU Magazine Families First for us to peruse and be inspired by. In the wake of the Vatican Synod of the Family, 2014, CWL Sections have been asked to have a family-focus in the next twelve months.


News October 2016

Tuesday 11th October at 1pm saw Section members having a very short meeting prior to Weymouth Section acting as hostesses to the other Dorset Sections. We were gathering in the church at 2pm for the annual Half Day of Recollection.

At the short Section Meeting it was agreed that 10 Christmas gift bags for EDP clients would be put together to be handed out at EDP's Christmas meal in December. This practical means of caring and sharing resulted from the drug and alcohol abuse agency presentation to members back in September.

In his introduction to the Half Day of Recollection at 2pm, Father Richard Meyer from Bridport described the CWL as, “A reservoir of faithfulness”. “The reckless generosity of God” was his thought-provoking spiritual focus for the afternoon.

Later there was a Branch meeting in the Hall with tea/coffee and cakes on offer with the ubiquitous raffle. Branch officers reported on the Recent CWL AGM held in Southport. The main item concerned the proposed constitutional changes which were not voted on as planned. It was felt by many delegates that voting should be truly democratic; one member, one vote.

The next Weymouth Section Meeting is on Tuesday November 8th at our winter time of 1pm. Our speaker at 2pm is Elizabeth Wood and her topic is “The history of the Mothers' Union”. It will be interesting to compare and contrast this with the history of the CWL.

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News September 2016

At the meeting this month members were looking forward to and planning for the Half Day of Recollection to take place at St Joseph’s on Tuesday 11th October. Father Richard Meyer will lead all our Dorset Sections in the Church. Afterwards there will be refreshments in the hall and the inevitable raffle! It is an opportunity for us all to get together in a spiritual and social environment.

This month members will be supporting the Macmillan Coffee Morning on Thursday 22nd September in the hall after morning Mass. They will provide teas/coffees and home-made cakes. There will be a Macmillan donation box available. Father Stephen particularly asked for this to take place, as on his home visits he became aware of the wonderful work Macmillan nurses did; it needs to be recognised in this practical way.

Members’ charities that will receive grants this year are the Columban Missionaries, Sion Mission, Christian Aid, Shelter, Barnardos and the National Deaf Children’s Society. It was decided at the meeting to add CLIC to the list. £200 will be sent to each charity by our treasurer.

In addition, our CWL Prolife Stall has realised £200 to support the mums and babies in Bath LIFE House. They are delighted! They need new beds and mattresses, so this was a windfall.

Our speaker this month was Theresa Oliveira Meneses from the drug agency, EDP. She outlined the inspirational work that was being done in Dorset, despite threatened cuts in monetary support. A donation was given to help in their work. Theresa will keep in touch as we pursue practical ways of helping. .

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News July 2016

This is a busy spiritual and social month with 5 members going up to Westminster Cathedral for the annual CWL Pilgrimage on 16th July. A group of our ladies are off to the Dorchester Section Cream Tea on 26th July. Our Weymouth Section Annual Meal Out is to Gould’s Java Café on 9th August at noon.

At our meeting on 12th July it was decided to give a donation of £200 to Aid to the Church in Need. The money is earmarked to help Christian refugees in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. At the local level, a donation of £200 will be sent to the new chapel fund at St Augustine's School. Many of our members' children had been at the school over the years and so members were pleased to support it in this way.

Our speaker this month was our Spiritual Director, Father Stephen. In a relaxed social atmosphere of tea/coffee and home-made cakes, Father Stephen, on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, addressed the serious question of The History of Northern Ireland. From the early realities of Hibernia, the Celtic Church and on through the centuries, right up to the realities of the 20th and 21st centuries, Father traced the movement of peoples out of and into Ireland. These migrations and invasions inevitably had religious, social and political repercussions. It was a most interesting and informative talk and Chairperson Fran Woodward thanked Father Stephen most sincerely for this insightful presentation.

Our next General Meeting is on Tuesday September 13th at 2pm. At 3pm our speaker is Theresa Oliveira Meneses from the local drug agency, EDP. We welcome any ladies interested in our general CWL work to come along to join us at 2pm and parishioners are always welcome to join us at 3pm to hear our speaker. There’s tea/coffee and home-made cakes on offer, FREE. Be warned, you will be hit to purchase a raffle ticket! .

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News June 2016

The Ecumenical Cream Tea on the 14th June was a huge success with some 70 ladies attending. Many represented local Christian denominations; also present were CWL Dorchester Section members.

The ladies were entertained to a Vaudeville entertainment by “talented” Weymouth Section members. Community singing with guitar accompaniment, a play, recitations and stand up comedy acts were all on offer.

There was a serious note introduced to the afternoon by Chairperson Fran Woodward, speaking about trafficking as modern slavery and asking those present to sign the Purple Teardrop Campaign appeal to ban “sex for sale” advertising. In the context of slavery, she mentioned also the Thomas Fowell Buxton Society Piano Recital that was raising funds for the Buxton Monument.

This was followed by plates heaped with scones, jam and clotted cream; waistlines widened!

Our next meeting is Tuesday 12th July at 2pm in the Hall and at 3pm Father Stephen will give a presentation. Father Stephen is our Spiritual Director. Parishioners are welcome to come along to the presentation at 3pm.

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News May 2016

The recent CWL Awareness Weekend raised £193.00 for Section funds through the very successful Tabletop Sale.

On Friday 13th May members will be joining in prayer with WUCWO women globally in this Year of Mercy. The World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations has 101 affiliated organisations of which CWL is but one. The theme for this day of prayer is “Mercy through the Eyes of Women”.

Plans were put in place at our meeting for next month’s Ecumenical Cream Tea on Tuesday 14th June when we host ladies from other Christian groups in Weymouth. We will be providing home-grown entertainment as well as a delicious cream tea. There will be a rehearsal on Monday 13th June at 2pm for our thespians. Our June Meeting, to discuss business, will be held at the early time of midday on the 14th. Items on the agenda will include the forthcoming Lulworth Mass and Pilgrimage and the Parish Fete. The Cream Tea bonanza follows at 2pm.

Our May meeting ended with a most informative presentation by Mark Kemmis-Betty on the Catenians and the Apostleship of the Sea. Both organisations play a part in our parish life. A donation was given in support of the important local work of the Apostleship.

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News April 2016

At the April section meeting plans were afoot for the forthcoming CWL Awareness Weekend. This includes a Tabletop Sale in the parish hall at 10.30am on Saturday April 23rd. Stalls will include gifts, bric a brac, books and a tombola. Food on offer comprises bacon baps and a multitude of homemade cakes; a potential CWL Brunch! Entrance fee is 50p which includes a free tea or coffee. The next morning, Sunday 24th April there will be a Coffee Morning and Left-over Sale in the hall after the 8am and 10am Masses. We are hoping that parishioners will come along and find out all about the work we do in the parish and beyond.

Some members will be attending the Branch AGM at Dorchester on Saturday 16th April. It is hoped that Bishop Mark will be there. It is an opportunity to meet up with friends from other Dorset Sections.

Once business is finished at our monthly meetings we often have speakers at 3pm. Our speaker for April was Rachel Carr from the charity The YOU Trust. They have a programme in Dorset, YOU First, with a focus on providing support, advocacy, help and guidance for victims of domestic abuse. This can be physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological. It can be a single incident or a number of incidents, occurring between people aged 16 or over who are or have been in a relationship or are family members. Our Section members were impressed with Rachel's own wholehearted commitment to help in delivering this programme. A donation to the scheme, earmarked for the Women's Refuge in Dorchester, was handed to Rachel at the end of her presentation.

Our next meeting is Tuesday 10th May at 2pm to discuss future plans and events, followed by a talk at 3pm on the charitable work of the local Catenians and the work of the Apostleship of the Sea. We welcome Mark Kemmis-Betty as our speaker.

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Myra Rich R.I.P.

Myra Rich

Myra Rich, a stalwart member of CWL died on 1st March aged 96. She was a vital member of our Parish.

Myra was a prominent member of St Augustine's Catholic Women's League (CWL) Section, Weymouth, for many years. Back in 1974 she was appointed Dorset Area International Liaison Officer. She attended the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations (WUCWO) study weekends and every year she organised the WUCWO Service for her Section. The concept that Catholic women had the opportunity of a global voice through WUCWO was so important to her.

Myra took an active part in CWL events attending National AGMs and in the South West was a regular at the Lulworth Mass and Picnic, the annual Buckfast Abbey Pilgrimage and she visited other Sections in Dorset on many occasions to catch up with other members that she knew well.

She was an avid fundraiser and not only for CWL. She was instrumental in the setting up of the Parish Group at St Augustine's which initially supported welfare work in Peru, and then became the Third World Group, then the One World Group.

Myra was always there for Jumble Sales, Coffee Mornings, Seaside Stalls and other fund raising events. For many years she ran a jewellery stall to raise funds for Sao Paulo street children in the care of Father Eddy, a St Patrick's Missionary. She was a keen member of the parish sewing group that made liturgical banners for the church. A patchwork quilt made by the group was raffled and made £1,300 for our local hospice.

Myra was also involved in the beginnings of the Family Fast Days for CAFOD. She showed continuing interest in the work of CAFOD attending seminars and Deanery CAFOD Days whenever possible.

With the closure of St Augustine's Church in 2012 the St Augustine's CWL Section was amalgamated with the one at St Joseph's to form the present Weymouth Section. Myra made the transition successfully and was an inspiration to all. Myra retired from CWL in 2015 in her mid-90's. Until then she attended monthly Section meetings regularly and always had a contribution to make. She died on March 1st, 2016; much loved and much missed, having given many years of service to CWL in Charity, Work and Loyalty.

Myra kept up with the modern age and was a great fan of social media. Until recently she texted, emailed, checked up on Face Book and used Skype.

Her funeral took place on Friday 18th March with a Requiem Mass at 11 am. After the Service parishioners joined the family in the Church Hall for memories and light refreshments. The Cremation Service followed later in the afternoon.


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News March 2016

Weymouth Section CWL welcomed Sheila Watkins and Teresa Foot from Branch as our guests at our Annual General Meeting in March. The section had accomplished a very successful and full year of events in 2015 and retiring chairperson, Joyce Fannon, thanked everyone, both officers and members, for their unstinting commitment.

Officers elected for 2016 include Frances Woodward (Chairperson); Suzanne Newson (Vice Chairperson); Monica Garlick (Treasurer); June Rust (Secretary) and Joyce Fannon (Liaison Officer). Committee members are Marguerite Mauger, Janet Newington and Margaret Martin. This means that almost one half of our membership is involved in administration in this way. Our membership has been steadily falling over the past few years for various reasons and numbers 18 at present.

Sheila Watkins spoke about the recent Officers Annual Meeting at Swanwick in February, when further discussions were held on proposed CWL Constitutional changes. There will be little change for local Sections but the Treasurer role will be far simpler; this is a blessing. The changes will not come in until 2017 at the earliest. Father Stephen, our Spiritual Director, thanked the Section for all the hard work they did in the parish.

Sunday March 13th is the Precious Memories Gathering, remembering babies and children we have lost. This is held at St Mary's Church, Weymouth, at 2pm. With the closure of Weymouth and District LIFE Group in 2015, the financial lead for the event this year has been taken by the C of E Mothers' Union with help from Weymouth Section Catholic Women's League. League members have been involved in the organisation of the Gathering and will be readers on the day.

Monday 21st March at 7pm in St Joseph's Hall the annual Seder or Passover Meal will be held. This is organised by our Section and parishioners are advised to apply early for tickets to June Rust (Secretary) .

Lenten Lunches continue on Friday mornings after the Stations of the Cross. The Section chose Parkinson's UK as the charity to benefit this year with Father Stephen’s approval.

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News February 2016

At the February General Meeting Weymouth Section members were given the Calendar of Events for 2016; it is a very full programme and a challenge, as our numbers have dropped from 20 in 2015 to 17.

Our first commitment to Lenten Lunches in the parish starts Friday 12th February and lasts for 6 weeks. In addition, Janet Newington has organised the Stations of the Cross during Lent, involving various parish groups.

Diane Thorn will represent us and be a reader at the ecumenical Women's World Day of Prayer at Holy Trinity Church, Weymouth, on March 4th at 10.30am. Unfortunately this event clashes with Lenten Lunches in our parish, so fewer CWL members will be able to go along this year.

At our meeting it was decided not to offer to sell Carnival programmes and raffle tickets down on the seafront later in the year. This is part of our “thinning down” process, as we match membership numbers and available energy levels to our annual programme. Also members began to explore what exactly they wanted from CWL; this varies, depending on individual needs. This enquiry will continue over the next few months.

Our Section’s Annual General Meeting is on Tuesday March 8th at 2pm. It is hoped that a Branch Officer might be present and also our Spiritual Advisor, Father Stephen. Liz Grant and Joyce Fannon will be providing home-made cakes for the afternoon.

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News January 2016

At our January meeting members were reminded of the very full programme of events they had covered in 2015. However, as our numbers decline each year, the chairperson asked that members consider if our Section was “punching above its weight”. It was decided not to have our January meal out this year as our December Social had acted as our Christmas treat. Other further slimming down measures might have to be adopted this year; a better match of skills and energies with the demands on us.

As Easter is early this year, we had to face organising our first 2016 parish commitment with Lenten Lunches. The first Friday of this will be 12th February. CWL members will cover this first week, catering for 30 people, serving in the kitchen, providing the soup and other provisions, Parishioners will be encouraged to help with the subsequent weeks, as they have done in previous years. A charity will be chosen to receive the profits, in consultation with Father Stephen. Two possible charities put forward were CWL Relief and Refugee Fund and Parkinson's UK.

Member, Janet Newington, will organise the Stations of the Cross during Lent, as she has done successfully for some years. She will be contacting various parish organisations soon to take their turn.

Even further ahead, numbers were requested by Bridport Section for seats on the coach to the CWL National Pilgrimage to Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 16th July. Six Weymouth members hope to represent our Section.

Our next General Meeting is Tuesday 9th February at 1pm. The committee meets earlier at 12.30pm. Mary Moore and Greta Watkins are our bakers for the meeting, ensuring that we socialise with coffee/tea and delicious home-made cakes! Father Stephen, our Spiritual Director, is our speaker.

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