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Prayer : International Women’s Day 2023

“DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”

A gender-responsive approach to innovation, technology and digital education can increase the awareness of women and girls regarding their rights and civic engagement. Advancements in digital technology offer immense opportunities to address development and humanitarian challenges, and to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Unfortunately, the opportunities of the digital revolution also present a risk of perpetuating existing patterns of gender inequality. Growing inequalities are becoming increasingly evident in the context of digital skills and access to technologies, with women being left behind as the result of this digital gender divide. The need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education is therefore crucial for a sustainable future.

Genesis 2 : 18, 21-25

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was staken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Midrash* Rabba on the book of Genesis :

When God made the woman, he reflected… I am going to take her from a particularly intimate place: her rib. I don’t pull her from the front so she doesn’t think she’s superior to a man. I do not pull her from behind so that she does not think that she must always be submissive to the man. I take it aside so they know they are called to be united together.

Following several women quoted in the Bible and who have become witnesses to the faith, let us pray for the Church and the world today.

R/: Lord, let your love be upon us.

Abram and Sarah responded to the call of the Lord (Genesis 12:4-5): they left their country and they trusted in the God of the Covenant. For the families, women, men and children, who have had to leave their native land and look elsewhere for a safe home, let us pray. R/

A poor widow walked into the Temple and put in two small coins; his gesture, unnoticed by the public, was recognized by Jesus (Mark 12, 42). For all the women who discreetly, if not invisibly, give themselves generously to the service of their brothers and sisters, let us pray. R/

A woman from Samaria, seeking anonymity, met Jesus; she became an ardent messenger of the presence of the Messiah (John 4, 1-42). For all women who, despite obstacles and prejudices, work for life in an attractive way in all sectors of society, let us pray. R/

A pagan from the Phoenician region, a Canaanite, obtained from Jesus what she asked for in faith, despite her initial resistance (Matthew 15:21-28). For all the women who, despite silence, indifference or opposition, persevere in their social or ecclesial commitment in order to obtain equality, let us pray. R/

When everything seems to be over, a woman, Mary Magdalene, rises and announces the beginning of a new era (John 20, 11-18). For all the women who, despite the headwinds facing our Church, continue to share the gospel as Good News for all, let us pray. R/

With Mary, we thank you Lord for the examples of these women who demonstrate all the possibilities of intelligence, courage, tenderness, of women. They invite women today to fulfill their vocation, where they are, with all the contradictions that represent both their intelligence and their integration into family and professional life.

Song : Be with us Mary

Final prayer: may the Lord fill with joy the hearts of women who collaborate closely in the coming of a Kingdom of justice and peace in the world.