2011 Annual Report – Christian Family Life

Christian Family Life Standing Committee
Peggy Roche, Chairperson
2011 Annual Report

Sub-committee chairpersons: 
Lucy Stoyles – Marriage and family
Life Member Mary Heinzlmeir (Alberta) – Sanctity of life
Life Member Marie Raymond (Newfoundland and Labrador) – Ministry to seniors
Life Member Eleanor Arless (Quebec) – Ministry to separated and divorced

My term as the chairperson of this committee has been a humbling and rewarding experience. I had health issues to deal with but was never alone. I experienced the healing power of prayer from my League sisters; it is miraculous!

Tremendous works and acts of charity were carried out by members at home and in the global community. From the annual reports received, the theme Centred on Faith & Justice was reflected throughout.

Marriage and Family
Members gathered and distributed materials about parenting, family relations and bible studies. Spiritual, personal and financial support was given to single parent families. Family get-togethers were promoted with coffee after mass. World Marriage Day was celebrated with mass and/or a renewal of vows. Members were involved with Couples for Christ, marriage preparation classes and marriage encounter weekend retreats. Newly-married couples were presented with books, cards and house blessing plaques. Grandparents were encouraged to play a positive role in family life.

Sanctity of Life
Members distributed information about end-of-life issues, including euthanasia and assisted suicide. Masses and rosaries were offered for the unborn child, financial support given to right-to-life organizations and pregnancy crisis centres. Pro-life wakes were held. One council purchased a pro-life advertisement for a bus stop bench. Members attended the annual Life Chain, prayed for the unborn and participated in the March for Life. They wrote letters to the members of the Quebec government requesting that euthanasia and assisted suicide not be legalized. Issues that warranted e-mails, petitions, letters and telephone calls to government included the resumption of funding to the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Ministry to Youth
Support was provided to the Catholic Girls’ League, Squires and Squirettes, youth ministry, conferences, camps, World Youth Day, Catholic Christian Outreach and NET Ministries of Canada. Youth were encouraged to lead the rosary, be altar servers, greeters and readers and to help or lead religious education programs.

Ministry to Disabled
Members brought communion to the disabled. Cards were sent and flowers were taken to shut-ins. Members assisted a senior and disabled member, enabling her to move to a smaller apartment. One council assisted in the installation of an elevator and wheelchair accessible washrooms to allow greater access to their church and hall. Financial support was provided to communities for the physically challenged.

Ministry to Seniors
Councils looked to senior members as mentors. Members drove seniors to mass and meetings, donated fruit baskets and made prayer shawls. Information was shared with seniors about elder abuse and members volunteered at           residents for seniors. Senior members were encouraged to take part in the various ministries in the church and to attend keep-fit classes.

Ministry to Widowed
Councils reached out to widows and offered friendship and assistance whenever possible. Members offered transportation to meetings and other parish activities and provided spiritual and emotional support.

Ministry to Separated and Divorced
Members welcomed the separated and divorced and encouraged them to become members. Babysitting services were offered. Financial support was given for separated, divorced and widowed to attend a “new beginnings” retreat.

Vocations
Councils supported parish priests and assisted immigrant priests who were adjusting to life in a new country. Members offered prayers for vocations, and seminarians and retired priests were remembered. Councils participated in a program to “adopt” seminarians, and seminarians were sponsored and supported financially. Funds were donated to a home for priests in need of financial assistance. Financial assistance, prayer and outreach were provided to St. Joseph Seminary and Serra Canada. Members gave recognition to priests on anniversaries, birthdays and different religious holidays.

Challenge
This committee encompasses ministries for all stages of life. The large amount of work involved could be intimidating for councils, especially smaller councils.

National Chairperson’s Highlights
Members were made aware of pro-life issues, including euthanasia and assisted suicide. They united with their League sisters in personal prayers to be instruments of God’s peace and justice. An interactive workshop was adapted and presented on the ministry to seniors. Articles and newsletters were read, Web sites researched and information processed for use in communiqués. Aspects dealing with single parent families and ministry to youth were researched. A picture presentation board portraying all aspects of Christian family life was compiled.