The Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DCCW), Mangaluru, held a seminar on issues and concerns regarding women and children of Catholic community on February 7, 2016 at St. Aloysius College auditorium. The chief guest, Ms Lovely Yeldose, Regional Secretary, Karnataka Region , Catholic Bishops Conference of India’s Council for Women, in her inaugural speech set in perspectives the issues slated for discussion at the seminar.
Ms Yeldose noted that Pope Francis has declared the current year as the Year of Mercy and it is only apt that mercy is shown to women and children who are under relentless attack in various forms. The offences against women and children in India are widespread and noted that attacks on these were occurring every 26 minutes, violence every43 minutes, rape every 54 minutes and dowry incidents every 102 minutes. She emphasised that all women and children have equal rights and called for abolition of dowry malpractices. She appealed to parents of husbands to treat their daughters-in –law as daughters and conversely they should treat their in-laws as mothers and fathers and look after them tenderly in their old age and sickness. She said girls should be encouraged to equip themselves for gainful employment through proper education.
Captain John Prasad Menezes, President, Catholic Association of South Kanara (CASK) presented a case study of victimisation of women in various ways by a religious institution. Speaking on the same theme, Ms Mabel Sequeira, of Urwa parish, exhorted the audience to show fortitude and never to give up the fight for rights and justice.
Sr. Dulcine Crasta, of the Order of Ursuline Franciscan Sisters, spoke on the protection of children from sexual offences. Addressing the seminar on gender equality and sensitivity, Dr. Derek Lobo, Immediate Past President of CASK, spoke on emerging trends on the subject while D. Ronald Fernandes, President of Press Club, narrated a number of ‘eye openers’ on the issues under discussion.
Ms Hilda Alva, President DCCW, welcomed the resource persons and the participants. The proceedings were marked by lively interchange between the resource persons and the audience. The vote of thanks was proposed by Ms Leena Rego.