The 2nd Catholic Women Convention 2017 was held from the 30th of September to the 3rd of October. Around 2000 delegates from all the parishes of the Archdiocese of Imphal took part with great enthusiasm. The Inaugural Function was graced by Dr. Najma Heptulla, the honorable Governor of Manipur who was the Chief Guest and by the Archbishop Dominic Lumon, the Archbishop of Imphal.
Dr. Najma Heptulla expressed the need for the different religions to respect one another and practice tolerance. She categorically said that no religion is higher than the truth. She appreciated the role of women among the tribes of Manipur and warned against the evil forces such as denial of equal rights, girl child trafficking and abuses that suppress women. She suggested the need for education to empower women and to remove the exploitation against them. She also expressed the urgency to care for the earth and to protect it from destruction.
On the second day Ms. Nemcha Kipgen, Hon’ble Minister of Social Welfare, Govt. of Manipur, was the Chief Guest of the Afternoon Session and Most Rev. Theodore Mascarenhas SFX, the Secretary General CBCI, was the Guest of Honour. The Hon’ble Minister extorted the women folk to be courageous and she cited Mary the mother of Jesus as a powerful model of a strong, committed and faithful mother.
Most Rev. Theodore Mascarenhas SFX explained the manifold difficulties and responsibilities faced by women in comparison to men and pointed out the need to support them to fulfill their role in the family, Church and society. He interpreted the biblical story of the creation of a woman from the rib bone of the first man as a sign of equality in which she was made by God to walk by the side of the man as an equal partner.
On the concluding day Shri Th. Shyamkumar, Hon’ble Minister of Forest and Environment and Urban Development Govt. of Manipur was the Chief Guest of the Closing Function. The Hon’ble Minister is the lone Catholic Minister in the cabinet and his presence was a matter of great joy to the congregation. He encouraged the gathering by giving the testimony of his own dramatic conversion to the Catholic faith. As a young boy he was instigated and offered money by some elders to throw stones at the Mission School in the night. One night the young boy threw the stones and narrow missed the head of the parish priest. This act filled him with great fear and shame and he had disquiet conscience. At night he had a dream and saw a cross which he held firm as it drew near to him. The dream was so real that the following morning he gathered courage to meet the parish priest and confessed his misdeeds. That was his day of conversion. He slowly and steadily learned the Catholic faith and he is now convinced that faith is to be shown by good works rather than by mere verbal profession. He further encouraged the need to prove the truth of our Catholicity by respecting and loving the people of other religions.
Archbishop Dominic Lumon who was the Functional President of the Inaugural and Closing Functions too voiced the need for the Catholic women to grow in faith in order to perform well the God entrusted responsibilities in family, Church and society. The different speakers who were invited for the various sessions dealt with the leadership role of women, the ways to be good mothers and on how Mary served as a model of an empowered women who stood by her son till the end. Finally, all the women expressed their satisfaction over the convention. The mark improvement in organization, involvements and performances were positively commended by the participants. The convention was indeed a mega event whereby the Catholic women of the different tribes celebrated their difference through the unity of one faith.