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Byron Shire
January 22, 2022

Praying for Vanuatu in Ballina

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This Friday, communities from every faith tradition will gather together in peace and goodwill at St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Ballina for the World Day Of Prayer.

The country of focus this year is Vanuatu, which is still battered by the effects of Cyclone Pam.

Sue Hetherington is one of the organisers of Ballina’s World Day of Prayer event. Photo supplied.

In Ballina, a young man who served as a volunteer in Vanuatu, and experienced the cyclone first-hand, will speak about the challenges faced by the survivors.

His young daughter will speak about growing up in the multi-island nation.

The service has been prepared by the women of Vanuatu. This year’s theme is hope, with a focus is on gender-based sexual assault of women.

Beginning in Samoa, the same prayer, in different languages, will be said over a 24 hour period in many communities, in 170 countries around the world.

The service will begin at St Francis Xavier Catholic Church (on the corner of Cherry and Crane Streets, in Ballina) at 9am on Friday 5 March.

World Day Of Prayer events will be held across the Northern Rivers – check with your local church for times and locations.

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  1. I bet the women in Vanuatu are confused, at why the good Catholic Women of Ballina are praying for an end to gender based sexual assault, when that same church advocates against those women having the right to control their own fertility and deal with the unwanted consequences of such violence.

    Having worked in many of these countries to try and find sustainable solutions to poverty, my experience is that one of the biggest causes of inter-generational poverty is the misogyny of churches that seek to control women by denying them their basic human rights over their own bodies.

    On International Womens Day – maybe the women of St Francis might be better sending the prayers to their all-male leadership, and sending contraception and family planning to Vanuatu.


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