2008 Annual Report – Christian Family Life

2008 Annual Report of 
National Chairperson of Christian Family Life
Pearl Bridgwater

Sub-committees chairpersons
Life Member Ann Doucet – ministry to youth
Life Member Marie Raymond – ministry to seniors
Life Member Ethel Gravelle – vocations

Marriage and Family
Programs sponsored or supported by members included marriage preparation courses, family retreats, Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign to promote family prayer, Catholicism 101 for young families, Couples for Christ, “Families at risk” project to assist high risk families and “Be an angel” program, giving clothing plus a gift for children in need. Speakers on related topics were arranged and workshops held.

Members undertook letter writing and sent petitions to different levels of government requesting the preservation of the sanctity of marriage and protesting same-sex unions. Members assisted and reached out to families by presenting crucifixes for newly married couples. They supported local Serena branches and the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF). Special memorial services were held for families that experienced the death of a spouse or child.

Sanctity of Life
Members and councils supported pregnancy distress agencies, Priests for Life, Fund for Life, Project Rachael, Birthright International, Right to Life, League for Life, Elizabeth House, Island Pregnancy Centre, Villa Rosa, Home of the Guardian Angel, The Back Porch, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, and “adopt a spiritual baby” programs in conjunction with the Knights of Columbus. Meetings began with a prayer for unborn babies.

Members participated in the 40 Days for Life Vigil, Walk and Hike for Life, Life Chain and Rosary for Life, and knitted hats, booties and mittens for the newborn. Members attended conferences on euthanasia and assisted suicide and other pro-life matters, sponsored a workshop on assisted suicide and euthanasia, and spoke on living wills and the power of attorney. Members viewed the video Turning the Tide.

Letters were written and petitions signed to members of parliament on issues related to abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and protesting the awarding of the Order of Canada to Dr. Henry Morgentaler. Members also undertook a letter writing campaign and sent petitions denouncing the funding of $18 million to Planned Parenthood in the United States .

Educational support was offered on the topics of euthanasia and when life begins. A research paper was presented on the meaning of life. In a special memorial service, a yellow rose was placed on the altar in memory of all unborn babies. The unborn were prayed for during their gestation and baby showers were held.

Ministry to Youth
Parish councils supported and encouraged the youth of their community. Financial assistance was given to help youth attend World Youth Day in Australia, the Western Canadian Association of Catholic Youth Ministers conference for the training of youth leaders, Big Brothers Big Sisters chapters, parish youth ministries and Global Young Leaders Conference; and recruit and train young people for ministries. Also supported was The Navy League of Canada, National Evangelization Team Ministries, Catholic Girls’ League, Girl Guides of Canada, Life Teen, 4-H clubs, and Face II Face.

Ministry to Seniors
Members encouraged the participation of the elderly in prayer services, recited the rosary at nursing homes, assisted with the mass at seniors’ residences, wrote cards and took communion to sick, drove seniors to mass and other parish activities, provided prayer shawls, lap covers and handmade rosaries, and sat and prayed with the elderly. Donations were made to seniors’ homes. They took seniors shopping, to doctor’s appointments, and meetings and functions. Bingo, birthday, anniversary, Mothers’ day, Christmas and card parties were organized.

Workshops were held on elder care and one province promoted books by Fr. Egbert Stang,o.m.i. Guest speakers and workshops were held to educate members on the signs and symptoms of elder abuse. Seniors were encouraged to share their talents by doing crafts, making prayer shawls and baking, and were invited to tell their stories at membership teas. Intergenerational buddies programs were launched, including a prayer partner system for seniors. ?Adopt a Grandma? week was organized to do something special with a senior in the parish.

Ministry to Disabled
Donations were made to L’Arche communities, Telemiracle and various mental health groups. Healing masses and cooking classes were hosted and transportation provided to mass, shopping and medical appointments. One provincial council encouraged members to become involved in a project to purchase, remodel and furnish a house. One council bought a chair lift for use to go to the basement, one gave financial help for a new ramp for wheelchair access, one funded the installation of hearing devices to be used during mass for the hearing impaired, and one organized a social afternoon to give laughter and song and help to meet with persons with special needs. Donations were also made to purchase a handi-van.

Ministry to Widowed, Separated, and Divorced
Dinners were hosted for widowed, separated and divorced persons. Widowed, separated or divorced were encouraged to join support groups. The widowed were supported by the offering of masses, sending of sympathy cards and preparing of meals. For those separated due to abusive relationships, members found places for the abused to stay and prayed for them. Attendance at meetings was encouraged and free memberships were offered.

Vocations
Prayers were offered for vocations at meetings and mass. A workshop was attended on stewardship, a retreat held for vocations, and a Serra Club dinner for clergy and religious attended. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was held once a month for vocations. Vocations were promoted with a statue and a chalice that travelled among homes, where prayers were said for an increase in vocations. Vocations cross were exchanged monthly and nighttime vigils held.

Financially supported were St Patrick’s Mission Circle , local priests and religious, The Shepherds’ Trust, diocesan retired priests benefit fund and seminarians. Some parish councils “adopted” seminarians, providing gifts and monetary donations. Other councils collected “Pennies for Seminarians” to help cover the cost of education programs. Appreciation was shown to clergy by inviting them for home made meals and giving gifts on special occasions. One council reported providing vestments for a newly ordained deacon and one contributed to the purchase a laptop computer to help with a deacon’s studies in Rome.