2009 Annual Report – Christian Family Life

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Christian Family Life Standing Committee
Pearl Bridgwater, Chairperson
2009 Annual Report

Marriage and Family
Programs sponsored or supported by members included marriage preparation courses, family retreats, and special anniversary masses where vows were renewed and couples shared their memories and milestones. Families were presented with the book Called to Cana and invited to League functions. Mother's Day and Father's Day were celebrated. Dinners were hosted for widowed, separated and divorced persons. Members organized cooking classes for members and parishioners, provided baby clothes for needy mothers and Christmas gifts for needy children.

Members from one parish council attended a new marriage preparation workshop “For Better and Forever”. One parish council gave a one-year League membership to new brides. One parish council prepared and distributed “The Blessing of Your Home” kits.

Sanctity of Life
Members supported and/or donated to the League for Life in Manitoba Inc., Project Rachael, Birthright International, Priests for Life, Serena Canada, Catholic Organization for Life and Family, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, The Back Porch, Emma Maternity House Society and many other organizations.

Councils continued to support services for pregnant women. Members participated in the walks and hikes for life, Life Chain, and Rosaries for Life. They sponsored pro-life masses and donated quilts and layettes to pregnant teen programs.

Members attended conferences and sponsored workshops dealing with euthanasia and assisted suicide, the theology of the body and teen pregnancy. They wrote letters and signed petitions to members of parliament on issues related to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

One parish council provided pictures of the nine-month gestation period to a Grade six class at a local school. One council purchased three sets of fetal models for a local elementary school and sponsored a monthly pro-life mass. Another council placed a red rose before the statue of the Blessed Mother on the first Sunday of every month to honour the right to life. An archdiocesan council purchased the DVD Turning the Tide for all parish councils.

Ministry to Youth
Councils supported and encouraged parish youth ministries. Support was also provided for NET Ministries of Canada, the Western Canadian Association of Catholic Youth Ministers for the training of youth leaders, and many more worthy projects. Parish councils provided gifts of prayer books, bibles, mass booklets, rosaries, medals, and pins for baptism, hosted graduation masses and organized a program connecting seniors and students.

One diocesan council had a program that taught chastity as a way of life. One parish council ordered books for youth called How Far Can We Go?: A Catholic Guide to Sex and Dating. Kits were made for children who were going into foster care.

Ministry to Seniors and Disabled
Members encouraged the participation of the elderly in prayer services, assisted with the mass at seniors' residences, took Holy Communion to the sick, drove seniors to mass and other parish activities, provided lap covers, sat with them and prayed with them. Shut-ins were visited and presented with flowers, baked goods and small gifts. Councils arranged a “keeping in touch” phone program for shut-ins and mailed copies of meeting minutes and parish newsletters.

Members examined “aging in place” and senior friendly communities. They took seniors shopping; to doctors' appointments, meetings and functions; gave care packages to special care homes; encouraged seniors to share their stories and talents; and held information sessions and workshops on signs and symptoms of aging.

Parish councils donated to mass for shut-ins and a home for mentally disabled adults, and purchased a chairlift and wheelchair for the disabled. In one parish council, members coordinated a parish senior friendship group that offered monthly luncheons and afternoon tea with an open door policy.

Multi-generational Mothers' Day parties extended invitations to mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers and great-great-grandmothers. One parish council gave a small gift to all parishioners over 80 years of age. Once council proposed a resolution “Make Dementia a National Health Care Priority”. Another council prepared and served a full dinner to veterans every week. Members of one parish council encouraged the disabled to participate in parish life, asking that they be greeters and choir members.

Ministry to Widowed, Separated, Divorced and Single
Members offered masses to the widowed. Sympathy cards were sent, and deceased members were remembered at memorial services. Members took part in a Blue Christmas service of hope for those coping with loss.

Members assisted with liturgy arrangements, held prayers and/or said rosaries at wakes, organized receptions after funerals, and encouraged the widowed, separated or divorced to join support groups. Babysitting services were offered to single or separated mothers.

Some parish councils had a bereavement committee in place. Attendance at League meetings was encouraged and one council paid for the membership of divorcees, widows and separated persons. Transportation was provided for the widowed to attend special events.

One parish council presented guidelines for online safety to widowed members and the larger community.

Vocations
Prayers were offered for vocations at meetings and mass, anniversaries were acknowledged for members of the clergy, seminarians were written to, and dinner and meeting invitations were extended to priests. Support was given to women in religious life. A retreat was held for vocations, and a Serra club dinner for clergy and religious was attended. Members offered prayers for priests. Guest speakers were invited to parish council meetings and spoke on the value of priests.

Financial support was given to local priests, The Shepherds' Trust, and the diocesan retired priests benefit fund. Some councils adopted seminarians and gave gift packages and monetary donations, while others collected “Pennies for Seminarians” to help cover the cost of education programs. One provincial council established a bursary to aid candidates with a calling to religious life.

A spring housecleaning bee was held for a pastor. Vocations were supported in the Year for Priestswith a 50/50 draw at each meeting.