This past year has been a busy one for WACI. The Core Group have met monthly except in July and August. For members we have had a monthly meeting except in July and August. We have continued to have a speaker at our monthly meeting, this we think has brought attendance up. Last year’s AGM was addressed by Brian Robertson of We are all Church South Africa. Events/meetings during the past year were as follows
September WACI had 3 events in September. We launched Mary T. Malone’s new book Women : The Elephant in the Church in conjunction with Columba Press. This was our best attended event of the year attracting 110 people. We would like to thank Gina Menzies who launched the book.
Later in the month we showed the DVD Pink Smoke over the Vatica at Rialto Pastoral Centre. Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan from U.S. spoke at this event. Four days later we hosted the annual meeting of WOW in An Grianan. Our rep to WOW at the time Maureen Mulvaney and Joe together with Soline Humbert and Colm Holmes put huge work into this meeting, not only looking after the meeting but arranging events for visiting delegates, and providing a goody bag for each delegate. We would like to thank our members who travelled up to An Grianan for the open session on Saturday afternoon.
October Gina spoke at the monthly Milltown meeting on The Synod on the Family on the day the first report (later revised) came out.
November Milltown meeting Dairne Mc Henry talked The Vatican Congregations.
December Advent Liturgy In Manresa, attendance 72. We will be in Manresa again this year on the 1st Sunday of Advent 29th November.
January Brian Glennon spoke on Marriage Equality for Gays and Lesbians.
February Was again a 3 event month. Angela Hanley author of Whose a la Carte Menu spoke on The Synod on the Family. At this Milltown meeting it was agreed that WACI would picket The Nuciature in protest at the image used on the Vatican website of a female torso in bondage. The 15 members who picketed helped to make this a high profile event that was picked up by international media. The picture of the nuncio walking past the picket in running shorts made a photo opportunity seized by Colm. After initial refusals to remove the picture it was quietly taken down. An excellent result for WACI.
Also in February we held a Workshop in The Lantern Centre on The Synod on the Family facilitated by Dairne Mc Henry.
March Colmes Holmes and I represented WACI at the IMWAC 3 day Meeting in Vienna attended by representatives from 12 countries. At this meeting Sigrid Grabmeier of Germany took over as chair of the IMWAC Council. Colm was elected treasurer, Brendan along with Marianne Dudley Bourke of the US will work on English media statements. IMWAC wishes to extend their representation more widely outside of Europe and North America and have appointed people to liaise with different parts of the world. As WACI has already in touch with We are all Church South Africa I will continue this contact. Members of the Core Group plan to meet up with Brian & Fran Robertson during the summer when they will be in Ireland.
Finbarr Quigley spoke on Divorce and Remarriage at our March Milltown meeting.
April Tony Flannery hosted a meeting in Limerick where invited representatives of lay and priest reform groups met over a 3 day period. Brendan Butler and Soline Humbert represented WACI. A widely circulated open letter to Pope Francis was issued at the end of the meeting
WACI has long felt that reform groups working here for basically the same aims should form a network and when possible speak and work together. Colm has worked during the past year to bring such a grouping into being. In April this network was founded and comprises ACI, IMU, VOTFI and of course WACI. ACP do not wish to participate at present. Colm together with the ACI rep drew up the principles agreed by all four participants. The group plan to meet again in September.
In April Clem Brennan and Nichola Murphy, parents of 2 young children spoke on Discrimination in Primary School Admissions. This was the lowest attendance (13, this included the 2 speakers) of the year in Milltown. One of the reasons we suspect is the age profile of our members.
Marriage Equality In February the Core Group issued a press statement in support of marriage equality, Brendan Butler represented the Core Group at the launch of Faith in Marriage Equality (FIME), an ecumenical group supporting a yes vote.
May we showed the film Taking a Chance on God, the story of John Mc Neil an American Jesuit who was expelled from his order for his public coming out as a gay person. Brendan Fay the director of the film attended the showing and took questions afterwards. 51 people attended the showing including several Jesuits. A message of support was sent to John, now 90 years of age from the meeting. On 22 May I was the WACI rep at the FIME Prayer and Witness Service in Parnell Sq.
Media During the past year WACI issued approx 16 press statements. Not all were picked up, the one on the bound female torso went viral. Brendan our Spokesperson has done many interviews for radio, TV and press during the year. Gina has spoken on behalf of WACI, I have done a few radio and TV interviews. What is very clear to us now is that the media are aware of us and will approach us for comment.
Thanks At the end of a very busy year I would like on behalf of the Core Group to extend our grateful thanks to our members who have spoken at our meetings Gina Menzies, Finbarr Quigley, Brian Glennon and Dairne Mc Henry who spoke at our November meeting and also facilitated our Lantern Day in February. We thank everyone who sent in feedback and comment through our website and Facebook page. We appreciate this very much and would like more. We thank the Jesuits in Manresa who provided a beautiful location for our Advent Liturgy without charge. I would like to thank the Prayer Group Soline, Joan, Jo and John for offering us a beautiful prayer space at the beginning and end of our meetings.
Jackie Nelson and Joe Mulvaney are stepping down from the Core Group. We would like to thank them both for their contributions and hope we can continue to call on their wisdom in the future.