2009 Annual Report – Education and Health

Education and Health Standing Committee
Cecile Miller, Chairperson
2009 Annual Report

Catholic Education
Parish councils supported Catholic education in various ways. Where there were Catholic schools in the community, help was provided by volunteering, fundraising and assisting in youth ministry. Members held office on school councils and boards and taught in Catholic schools. Parish councils monitored and reported changes made by the departments of education and their effect on Catholic curriculum. Parish councils in one diocese placed notices in church bulletins and local papers stating the importance of attending Catholic schools and identifying the availability of bus transportation. Councils in one province were encouraged to write letters to the editors in defense of the Catholic school system.

Members were active in Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults. They provided bibles to children as they prepared for their first communion, reconciliation or confirmation. Prayer partners were assigned to pray for catechumens and their parents.

Members encouraged leadership development through assisting youth to attend the Global Young Leaders Conference. One provincial council supported a student attending a course in faith and justice in the Dominican Republic.

Literacy and Continuing Education
Members purchased books for and donated funds to school and parish libraries, assisted adult learners, promoted the Christopher Leadership Course and International Literacy Day, sponsored spell-a-thons and public speaking contests, and encouraged members to use the parish library. One council reported using the workshop “Illiteracy” from the CWL Day of Peace & Hope Activities Kit.

Scholarships and Bursaries
One provincial council gave its first life members’ scholarship for study in the area of arts and culture. Members donated to bursary and scholarship funds at all levels. Many took advantage of the National Bursary Fund to further the study of their faith. One provincial council reported that some parish councils suspended giving bursaries due to the nondenominational status of schools.

The League gratefully acknowledged member and council donations that were designated to augment the National Bursary Fund.

Annunciation Parish Council, Prince Rupert, British Columbia $10.00
Our Lady of Loretto Parish Council, Thunder Bay, Ontario $50.00
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Council, Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador $50.00
St. Columba Parish Council, East Point, Prince Edward Island $25.00
St. Dunstan Parish Council, Scarborough, Ontario $100.00
St. Patrick Parish Council, N.E. Margaree, Nova Scotia $15.00

Wellness and Sickness/Disease
Congratulations to the members across Canada who have been such good stewards of their own health and the health of members of their communities. All reports have shown how seriously members heeded the call to become aware of health issues and develop healthy lifestyles. Members responded to resolutions and articles in The Canadian League by inviting guest speakers, providing information and developing awareness.

Members were in the forefront dealing with the threat of the Influenza A virus (H1N1 flu). They organized presentations, raised awareness and volunteered at influenza clinics, hospitals and blood donor clinics.

Members checked their local medical facilities to see what palliative care programs were in place. One council hosted an open meeting to discuss Fr. Mark Miller’s DVD entitled Ethics for the Journey. Parish councils took part in hospice programs.

Members took part in the Atlantic Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health project which “aims to study how the health of 30,000 people, currently aged 35-69, from Atlantic Canada is affected by their lifestyle, environment and genes. The primary purpose of this major project is to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and to promote health throughout society.”

One council organized a free wellness day for the community providing information on how to reduce the risk of common chronic diseases and make healthy lifestyle choices. Members took part in a monthly healing mass in honour of St. Peregrine. Councils supported youth with financial assistance to aid in attendance at camps for children with cancer.

Members were encouraged to and took up the challenge to “Go Green”. They not only used cloth bags, washable cups, glasses and dishes but encouraged other organizations and groups in their parishes to do likewise. They held presentations on how to use common household products for cleaning and simple cures. A $50.00 rebate in one province encouraged members to switch to low-flush toilets. Members also carpooled to meetings and conventions.

Members used a variety of sources to learn more about genetics: videos, brochures from the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, presentations, guest speakers and bioethics workshops. One council wrote to national charities and asked them to state their policy on the use of embryonic stem cells in their research.

Donations were made to two national voluntary funds: MaterCare International and the Coady International Institute.

Letters were written on a variety of topics both to voice concern and to commend the government.

Activities Undertaken By National Chairperson
In 2009 I prepared three communiqués and met via teleconference with the National Bursary Committee to review 29 applications. I submitted the following articles for The Canadian League: “Coady Bursary Recipients Respond” written by Coady graduates and “Awareness, Prevention and Treatment of Depression”. I attended the winter national executive meeting, annual national convention and pre- and post-convention national executive meetings, participated in the Coady study tour to India and Nepal and collated the responses to the survey on palliative care.