2013 Annual Report – Christian Family Life

National Chairperson of Christian Family Life Margaret Ann Jacobs

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This report reflects the dedication and commitment that members have to furthering Christian family life as reported by all provincial chairpersons, and exemplifies the desire of members to “Go tell everyone … We Have Seen the Lord!

Marriage and family
Councils took an active role in sharing Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) materials, and promoted engaged and marriage preparation and enrichment courses, family days, National Family Week (organized by the Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs), Theology of the Body, World Marriage Day (organized by Worldwide Marriage Encounter) and the role of grandparents. Special events were organized to celebrate marriage and the family such as a “faith ‘n’ fun day,” barbecues, luncheons, wedding anniversaries, sacramental receptions, workshops, family parties, sleigh rides, children’s carnivals, St. Nicholas/Halloween/All Saints parties, movie nights promoting Christian values, concerts, mother-daughter breakfasts, mothers’ morning out events, and “family and balance in family life” retreats. New brides were gifted with memberships. Family prayer was a focus.

Sanctity of life
Members financially supported, volunteered and promoted pro-life conferences, Campaign Life Coalition, Life Canada, 40 Days for Life, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Pregnancy and Family Support Services, natural family planning courses, March for Life, National Week for Life and the Family, regional right to life organizations, Birthright International, Priests for Life Canada, local roses for life events of the Knights of Columbus, Life Chain, Action Life, angel cradles, the Defund Abortion Rally and Project Rachel.

Programs were provided for a respect for life day for youth, the spiritual adoption of unborn children, the It’s a Girl documentary to raise awareness of genocide in Canada and around the world, pro-life essay competitions for youth and baby showers for mothers in need. Presentations were arranged for members, and letters and e-mails were sent and phone calls made to the federal government regarding euthanasia and assisted suicide. A press release informed one community of taxi scripts being offered to carry 18 and 19-year-olds to abortion clinics without parental knowledge. Prayer for the unborn was a constant with stations of the cross, prayers at meetings, and masses for the unborn and those trying to conceive. A grave marker was purchased and blessed to remember the unborn.

Ministry to youth
Members supported, sponsored and hosted activities to involve youth in parish ministry (lectors, hospitality, offertory), youth fairs, the Catholic Girls League, Journey To The Father Catholic youth conference, stations of the cross, Sunday school, an outdoor rosary on school grounds, music festivals, Faith Alive and St. Vincent de Paul summer camps, Street Patrol (youth made and distributed bag lunches to homeless), local shelters and support programs for high risk youth, prayer partners between schools, National Child Day, Catholic Christian Outreach (university youth), Steubenville and other youth leadership conferences, spirit days during March break, Girl Guides of Canada, vocation bible schools, Net Ministries of Canada, missionary work and World Youth Day. Guest speakers educated youth on the church’s teaching on homosexual, bisexual, transsexual and transgender issues, and building healthy relationships. Youth were partnered with seniors for crafts and prayer.

Ministry to disabled
Councils raised awareness of legislation concerning access to services for physically and mentally challenged; provided memberships, transportation and information to disabled parishioners; supported financially, partnered in prayer and remembered disabled persons with cards on special occasions.

Ministry to seniors
Councils hosted seniors’ nights, luncheons, grandparent days, birthday and tea parties, and dinners; programs on palliative care, elder abuse, home care and fraud; and celebrations of life. Members served on boards; visited regularly; brought Eucharist; volunteered at long-term care facilities; hosted meetings and attended mass at seniors residences; provided transportation, shopping assistance, Christmas gifts and treats, and financial support; and sent cards of encouragement, of sympathy, and for special occasions. Faith stories were shared, memberships gifted, adopt-a-grandparent programs initiated and large print missalettes provided.

Ministry to widowed
Prayer and support was offered after the death of loved ones, memorial services and adult retreat weekends were provided, a tree of life was initiated, and prayer shawls and gifts were given to remember special occasions. Support groups were initiated for widowed and divorced members, and they were encouraged to participate in activities. Supplies, transportation and babysitting were offered to widowed mothers.

Ministry to separated and divorced
Prayers, financial and moral support were offered to families in distress. A “new beginnings” program was supported; phone calls and invitations to participate were offered. A support group was initiated for separated and divorced persons. A speaker was invited to speak on divorce and annulment. Members listened nonjudgmentally, and offered fellowship and prayerful support. Access to counseling through Catholic Family Services was offered.

Councils offered and encouraged members to offer masses, rosaries, novenas and prayers for vocations and priests. They promoted the Bishop Bernard Pappin Bursary fund, discernment weekends for youth and the Western Canadian Catholic Stewardship Conference. They hosted vocations fairs, receptions and luncheons for priests, and invited pastors to attend League meetings, brunches and special events, and family dinners. Stoles and chalices were purchased for the clergy, and transportation was provided. Members attended Serra club dinners and supported seminarians with spiritual bouquets, special gifts at ordinations and letters of encouragement and appreciation.

Activities undertaken
The COLF Seminar on Life and Family was attended and a report filed. Complete packages of COLF resource materials were forwarded to provincial counterparts. Personal letters were written in opposition to sex selective termination of pregnancy and euthanasia and assisted suicide.V