By Alicia Ambrosio, Catholic News Service     8/16/2016

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (CNS) — Women who belong to Catholic organizations give witness to God by the causes they support and the influence they bring to bear on a variety of issues, said Halifax Archbishop Anthony Mancini.

At the opening Mass of the 96th annual national convention of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada and the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations North American Conference, Archbishop Mancini told the women they acted on the word of God as Mary did, even “in a country inclined to hear many words, many voices, which are not always God wants us to hear.”

The archbishop linked the opening of the convention Aug. 14 to the following day’s feast of the Assumption of Mary.

“Mary experienced the real presence of the Word of God every time she went to the temple, but Mary also heard the word of God in her home, spoken by the angel Gabriel,” he said.

Mary “carried the Word of God, gave birth to the Word of God” shared God with the world around her and, in doing so, she shared in his victory, he said.

More than 700 women from across North America were gathered for the Aug. 14-17 convention, which focused on palliative and hospice care.

After the Mass, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil greeted the women in attendance.

“Your voice is important in our national conversations” he said, adding that the members of the organizations should continue to keep government focused on the important issues.

The Catholic Women’s League became a national organization in 1920. In 2016 the organization had nearly 84,000 members in parish councils across Canada. At the local level, members have carried out service projects aimed at improving the lives of people in the community. Nationally, the league has met with government officials to try to shape legislation.

The World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations was founded in 1910 and represents 100 Catholics women’s organizations in 66 countries.