Inspired by the desire of Pope Francis “to broaden the space within the Church for a more incisive feminine presence”, Voices of Faith (VoF) will celebrate International Women’s Day at the Vatican Cinema.
The event, which will be streamed live on 8 March 2014 via the VoF website, will feature the voices of 11 women from six countries, each of whom will give witness of how their Catholic faith influenced their lives and work.
The aim of the event, said VoF project manager Chantal Götz in an interview with ZENIT, is “to act as a vehicle to provide a public communications platform from which to share their incredible experiences with a broader audience.”
“Women are critical to the upholding of family values,” she said, “and are even more so to the greater social good as they raise their children to become contributing members of future societies.”
“This showcase is intended to demonstrate women’s unique ability to contribute and improve world issues all for the better.”
Although the accomplishments of those taking part do not necessarily involve the Catholic Church directly, Götz explained, the organizers are nonetheless “looking to provide a way in which Catholic women can share with a much broader audience, how their unique compassion and strength of spirit helped them overcome incredible obstacles which in turn led them to become amazing contributors to society.”
VoF, which is sponsored by the Fidel Götz Foundation (FGF), is an initiative which promotes activities “that focus in particular on the Catholic Church and its successful evolution in the 21st century.”
It’s goal, Götz said “is to encourage and inspire further integration and participation of Catholic women’s thoughts, ideas, and methods into Catholic institutions; namely, administrative and decision making roles within Catholic Institutions in an effort to impact positive change.”
One of the driving forces behind this initiative is to “somehow encourage more diversity and inclusion of women in the Church,” according to Pope Francis’ vision, while “not obstructing the values and commitments to the family.”
“Books and films about this topic have been making best seller lists and headlines in the last few years,” she continued, “because the opportunity cost of not including women and their talents at the world level has become a noted challenge that is now being dealt with.”
The organizers chose to host the upcoming event at the Vatican Cinema, she said, because “the cinema is a symbol for communication. It is also the heart of the Vatican, and these are stories from the heart.”
“We are interpreting the message literally by leveraging the Vatican Cinema as a unique venue for this ground breaking event,” she said.
She said that one of the potential aims of this initiative is to “have more women considered for roles of influence within the church”.
However, Götz acknowledged that the primary aim is to “share the amazing experiences and power of a woman’s faith and all that she can accomplish staying committed to her cause.”