“The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus” (EG 1). This is how I imagine our meeting will be like at the next General Assembly in Assisi, from 14 to 20 May 2023, preceded on 13 May by an audience with Pope Francis in Rome, to which all the women of WUCWO are invited. We are very grateful to the Holy Father!
I think that for the first time in the 112 years of WUCWO’s life, a General Assembly will be “prepared” by the Holy Father himself. Perhaps this will not only be a milestone in the rich history of our organisation, but also in the experience of Catholic women around the world. This possibility given to us is the fruit of God’s tenderness towards us.
As his predecessors did, Pope Francis will address a message to us that we are to listen to personally and then pass on to all Catholic women around the world, so that together we can embody a Church “mother with an open heart” (EG 46-49).
After that, we will have our General Assembly, the time and place where the heart of WUCWO beats the strongest, where the delegates of our organisations will have to show that they are able to meet each other as members of a synodal Church, receiving the Holy Spirit to listen and speak with parrhesia, to pray and reflect together, to discern and make decisions that will guide the future of WUCWO.
All this will be in Assisi, the place where St. Francis was called by Jesus to restore the Church, where he was inspired to write the Canticle of the Creatures and from where he set out for Egypt to dialogue and seek peace with the sultan. All these Franciscan traits are the background to today’s magisterium: Evangelii gaudium, Laudato si’ and Fratelli tutti, which constitute our roadmap, together with Amoris laetitia and Gaudete et exsultate.
Dear friends, I dream that we will allow ourselves to be permeated by the atmosphere of Assisi and that our General Assembly will be like an oasis in our lives, so that, by the grace of God, we will make reality of the motto - I would almost say “prophetically” chosen by the Board around two years ago – “Women of WUCWO, artisans of human fraternity for world peace”.
As for every transcendent event, we must prepare ourselves with hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and hours of reflection in our own organisations. We have 9 months ahead of us, which I place in the spiritual womb of Mary, Queen of Peace, so that she, our Mother, may lead us to give birth to our Assisi General Assembly in 2023.
While saying goodbye to all of you, I express the wish that each one of you may accept in the depths of your heart the words of Jesus: “Peace be with you! As the Father sent me, so am I sending you” (John 20:21).
Please receive my warmest regards,
María Lía Zervino, Servidora
WUCWO President General