25 FEBRUARY 2005
Embargoed until 8.00pm on Friday 25th February 2005
NEW HORIZONS NEW OPPORTUNITIES
THE 28TH CURA ANNUAL CONFERENCE OPENS IN WATERFORD
‘New Horizons New Opportunities’ is the theme of the 28th CURA Annual Conference
which opened earlier this evening in the Tower Hotel, Waterford. More than two
hundred and sixty CURA volunteers from sixteen national centres are in attendance
at the conference which finishes on Sunday 27th February.
Ms Alice Murphy, Coordinator of CURA Waterford was first to address the conference,
saying: “It is a great honour for us to be hosting this year’s conference which is,
as always, the high point of the year for CURA’s volunteers. This is our 2nd conference
in a Waterford venue, the previous one being in 1981.”
Ms Murphy went on to say: “Our centre was established in 1977 with a small team
of volunteers. This number has increased dramatically in the intervening years
and now stands at twenty-four in addition to which we have a new group undergoing
training. We are currently operating from rented accommodation about one hundred
meters up the street from here, for which we are indebted to Frank and Adrienne
Dolphin, but we hope to move to a brand new premises before the end of the year
and our sincere thanks goes to Bishop Lee for that. As usual, our annual conference
affords an opportunity to Cura volunteers from the four corners of Ireland to
meet with each other and exchange views. Hopefully, we will all learn from this
year’s exercise and go home wiser, refreshed and better equipped for the job we
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Most Rev
William Lee said:”In our busy society, I believe it is remarkable that a voluntary
organisation such as Cura continues to be in a position to provide a high quality
service. This is primarily due to the ongoing commitment and dedication of you,
the volunteers throughout the country. For this you deserve our gratitude and
the gratitude of so many people. In Cura we see good, wholesome people such as
yourselves undertaking a very responsible task and fulfilling it without becoming
burdened by it. A Cura worker is conscious of the awesome wonder of parenthood.
She/he is also keenly aware from those who seek help, of the heavy burden of the
unhappy pregnancy. It is the ability of you, the volunteers, to have a deep
awareness of both the sacredness of the life of the unborn and compassion for
people in their distress which makes Cura what it is.”
The keynote address at the opening ceremony was delivered by Dr Joan Power,
Director, Blood Transfusion Services, Munster Area.
CURA’s Annual Report for 2004 was launched by Ms Louise Graham, National
The President of CURA, Dr John Fleming, Bishop of Killala, Ms Sharon Foley,
Director of the Crisis Pregnancy Agency and Monsignor Michael Olden, Vicar
General of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore will address the conference
over the next two days.
Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)
Ms Louise Graham National Co-ordinator CURA (087 2439340)
Noreen Keane PRO CURA (087 2701088)
Charlotte Keery PRO CURA (086 2368380)
NOTES TO EDITORS:
* The complete text of Bishop William Lee’s address follows.
* CURA (Latin for ‘care’) was established by the Irish Bishops’ Conference
in 1977 to provide a caring and compassionate service to women who felt
unable to cope with an unexpected pregnancy.
* CURA provides a range of services supporting women faced with a crisis
pregnancy, including Crisis Pregnancy Counselling, Pregnancy Testing,
Information and Support and Post Abortion Counselling.
* During 2004 CURA received 9,758 phone calls and 3,782 personal callers
visited its 16 centres throughout Ireland.
* The CURA Helpline is: 1850 622 626 (Open from 9.30am-9.00pm Mon-Fri and
10.00am – 5.00pm on Saturday)
Address Most Rev William Lee, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore
at the Opening of the Annual Cura Conference
Waterford, 25th February 2005
In our busy society, I believe it is remarkable that a voluntary organisation
such as Cura continues to be in a position to provide a high quality service.
This is primarily due to the ongoing commitment and dedication of you, the
volunteers throughout the country. For this you deserve our gratitude and
the gratitude of so many people. In Cura we see good, wholesome people such
as yourselves undertaking a very responsible task and fulfilling it without
becoming burdened by it. A Cura worker is conscious of the awesome wonder
of parenthood. She/he is also keenly aware from those who seek help, of
the heavy burden of the unhappy pregnancy. It is the ability of you, the
volunteers, to have a deep awareness of both the sacredness of the life of
the unborn and compassion for people in their distress which makes Cura
what it is.
The figures for the overall uptake on Cura’s services each year are most
impressive. However, to concentrate on figures may not do justice to the
real work of Cura. I know that you try to keep your minds focussed on
individuals rather than numbers waiting at doors. You are not, of course,
happy that many people need to come to you but you are happy that you are
seen by so many as people to whom they can come. The stories that all of
us hear about Cura from time to time give a better feel for the work of
Cura than factual detail could ever provide. The work done by Cura volunteers
is never routine, as every client who approaches you deserves and needs to
be treated as unique and different.
To lift the morale is surely one of the important objectives in holding an
annual conference. You will use the Conference also as an important educational
opportunity. I am delighted that you have chosen Waterford as the venue
for this Conference and I salute the volunteers of the Centre here in Waterford,
not just for their organisation and work around the present weekend, but also,
for their tireless, dedicated and so generous ministry in our Centre here
in Waterford day in day out over many years. You have faithfully answered
telephones, met those who seek the help of Cura and generally stood by
troubled people all the way. Actions speak louder than words, is truly
applicable in a most significant way to Cura Counsellors right through the
country and especially to the counsellors I know best, those here in Waterford.
On behalf of so many people whom you have helped, I say thank you. I know
you are in rented accommodation presently but you will shortly move into our
new purpose built Diocesan Pastoral Centre and I am sure you will welcome
Cura’s work will always be a challenging one. But the rewards will be great
too. You have seen many people move from despair to hope, from rejection to
acceptance of life, from a loss of confidence in themselves to a new self
esteem. Yes, work done by Cura is challenging and often unsung but it is
a noble work and it is a privilege to salute you who do it so faithfully
and so well.
+ William Lee
Bishop of Waterford and Lismore