“Racism and sexism are both serious issues in our day that affect both women and men but also often underlie the violence against women.” Angela referred the group to a discussion Fr Thabo had held on discrimination with catechists at a formation session. They were quite a culturally mixed parish so it was interesting to hear their opinions. “Deep down inside ourselves how do we look at men and women of different races and cultures? Do we respect a German woman differently from a Nigerian woman? Do we take a Chinese man or a Zulu more seriously? What is our attitude towards people but also towards them as “gendered” people? I think that in the last twenty years we have been becoming more accepting and tolerant of one another. Jesus lived in a racist society too, where Canaanites were not acceptable to the Jews and for a Canaanite woman to approach him for her sick daughter might even have been a shock. Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” The Canaanite woman replied, “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table. Then Jesus answered her, “O woman great is your faith! Let it be done as you desire.” Read Matt 15:21-28. The equal dignity of men and women makes us rejoice to see old forms of discrimination disappear. AL 54
The groups had decided to hold an interfaith church service to commemorate Women’s Day. “We don’t want to forget the importance of God in our lives. We thank God for his role in all our liberation, as women and men but right now in our country we pray for an end to violence in particular against women and children. We pray for victims but also for perpetrators that they may recognise the evil they have committed and experience a conversion of heart. We pray for healing for every family that has been effected.”
PRAYER FOR THE WOMEN OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
You are father and mother to us, your children.
We thank you for the particular and special gifts you have given to women, the gift of nurturing life, of sustaining and supporting life, the qualities of compassion, commitment, generosity and a willingness to share.
As they progress towards their rightful place in society we request your blessing on all women that they may continue also to hold their rightful place in the family. that women and men together may build a society which will bring about the Kingdom You have promised us.
We call on Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who nurtured and cared for her son and now reigns with Him in heaven to inspire the women of South Africa, to pray with them in their joys and in their struggles, and to intercede for them with her Son.
Mary, Queen assumed into heaven, patroness of South Africa, pray for us.