2012 Annual Report – Communications

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2012 Annual Report
National Chairperson of Communications
Cecile Miller

 “A chairperson provides leadership, but it is the responsibility of every member to recognize the importance of her participation in communications. Every word and action of members communicates a message to others who may hear the word or see the action.” – Prince Edward Island Provincial Chairperson of Communications Alma Rix

The Canadian League
The Canadian League remained a popular source of information, direction, inspiration and news from standing committees. It was used at meetings, in new member kits and on display on church bulletin boards. The Spring 2012 issue was used as a springboard for fundraising activities for Velma’s Dream. Members were encouraged to make submissions and always appreciated having their pictures and articles accepted for publication. One council summarized an article for the parish bulletin. The magazine was important as a source of information prior to the annual national convention and afterward for reports, pictures and stories.

Media for evangelization
Members provided Catholic leaflets and publications at the entrance of churches; promoted programming on Salt & Light TV, Eternal Word Television Network and other Catholic and Christian television networks; made CDs and DVDs available; publicized faith-oriented programs available in the dioceses; and discussed topics from television, radio, video and newspapers. One executive member was a member of a community team which presented information on social justice in the local media.

Media to promote the League
There was extensive use of e-mails and the Internet. Social media, especially Facebook, gained popularity. Local and diocesan papers were used to promote League activities and upcoming events for member recruitment and for recognizing councils for excellent service and accomplishments. One provincial council placed advertisements in a newspaper to bring greetings/messages for liturgical seasons, congratulatory messages on appointments of clergy to higher levels, and messages of sympathy to the families and friends of deceased League sisters.

The use of parish, diocesan, provincial and national websites was encouraged and promoted. One provincial council promoted “Website Wednesday”, a day when members were encouraged to visit the provincial website and then link to other important sites. Television and radio were used as well as electronic billboards. Councils promoted Catch the Fire! One parish council conducted an interview with the Catholic Girls’ League.

Display boards were used, and invitation cards were sent to parishioners. Large posters, ministry fairs, pulpit talks, membership Sunday and parish ministry weekends were all used to promote the League. Non-members were invited to hear a guest speaker before a meeting and then were invited to stay for the meeting. One council prepared an eye-catching insert for the parish bulletin (which was featured also in Be League).

Media evaluation and promotion of good content
Members were urged to monitor the appropriateness of media messages. They were encouraged to exercise caution in the distribution of junk and chain mail. Internet, television, newspaper, radio and video content were discussed. Families were encouraged to supervise children’s viewing choices, use of the Internet and cell phone and were made aware of good programs.

Letters were written to local media to express pleasure and appreciation or displeasure with the content of programs and to voice concern over inappropriate content in programming to government agencies, media outlets, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, local politicians and members of parliament. A booklet with information regarding the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council was compiled and handed out to members.

Newsletters and bulletins
Newsletters, published at all levels of the League, and the e-zine Be League were used to update members and provide a calendar of events and League activities. Be League was reported as a  popular resource.  Many councils promoted Be League by printing  and sharing it and some posted it on the parish bulletin board. Articles and pictures were submitted to Be League. It was reported that Be League’s articles featuring actions of “Women against Poverty” inspired councils to act on the issue. One council produced an annual newsletter which was distributed to shut-ins. Another worked with the Knights of Columbus to prepare a newsletter.

Once again, the most used communication tool was the parish bulletin. One council prepared a monthly CWL news bulletin. Some parish bulletins had a “CWL Corner” to highlight activities and accomplishments. A monthly prayer calendar was prepared by some with each day identified as someone’s birthday, anniversary, a special event, a saint’s day, etc.

Media relations
Local media were invited to attend events and for some press kits press kits were prepared. One provincial chairperson commented that parishes in small communities had a good relationship with local media. One council donated $500.00 to a Catholic television network.

Pornography
Many councils reported participating in the White Ribbon Against Pornography campaign in October without the valuable support of C.A.S.E. (Canadians Against Sexual Exploitation) before it was learned that C.A.S.E. would be ceasing operations. Hamilton diocesan members funded a “Pornography Hurts” campaign with posters in buses, roadside advertisements and electronic billboards, and shared this project with other organizations.

The fight against pornography took many forms including letters to the editor and members of government at all levels. Councils prepared petitions and bulletin board displays and held presentations at general meetings. Members were informed with articles from newspapers. There was involvement in a coalition against pornography. One council showed Theology of the Body, a key part of which acknowledges the dangers and destructiveness to those circulating and viewing pornography.

Overall conclusion
As the quote at the beginning shows, communication can be accomplished in many ways, and councils are doing this well across Canada.

Activities undertaken
A national committee met in October to update promotional materials and decided that a survey would be conducted to determine what improvements should be made to the national website and the e-zine. The survey included the use of social media.

I worked with National Chairperson of Community Life Fran Lucas and sub-committee chairperson Rosanne Sogan to develop a strategy to counteract pornography.

Three issues of The Canadian League were edited and included three articles relating to communications. Ten issues of Be League were edited and each of which included an editorial. Four communiqués were issued in 2012.