2013 Annual Report – Ontario

Ontario Provincial President Betty Colaneri

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One of the most powerful themes of Pope Francis’ pontificate has been the importance of working for social justice. In response to this call, I asked each diocesan council, as well as the provincial council through standing committee chairpersons, to initiate a project to put this call into action. The diocesan councils and standing committees have responded with great enthusiasm. For some, they increased the number of causes they were working on. For others, they established new projects such as the fight against poverty, human trafficking or euthanasia, or support for hospices and women’s shelters. The provincial focus was on mental health issues.

Members rejoiced as Resolution ON.12.02 Prohibit The Use of Indoor Tanning Equipment by Youth became law with the passing of Bill 30, Skin Cancer Prevention Act (Tanning Beds), 2013. The Pornography Hurts campaign that began in the Diocese of Hamilton became a national project.

In communities, members preached the gospel by participating in the work of organizations that care for those in need. Study sessions and women’s forums on various subjects were some of the vehicles utilized to meet the needs of members and to address social justice issues at home and abroad. Members worked for social and economic justice by:
• Providing humanitarian aid to refugees, assisting immigrant workers and newcomers, and continuing to reach out to Aboriginal peoples.
• Uniting in solidarity with people of the global south and developing countries.
• Providing for schools, rosary groups, breakfast clubs and youth programs.
• Offering bursaries and donations for learning materials.
• Making bandages for those with leprosy.
• Donating sleepwear and toiletries to crisis centres and children’s pajamas to local Goodfellows clubs.
• Assisting orphanages in Haiti and flood victims in the Philippines.
• Supporting CCODP, St. Vincent de Paul Society, lunch kitchens, food banks, CMIC and Sisters in the Spirit.
• Holding a workshop on human trafficking.
• Volunteering for Meals on Wheels and at seniors’ residences, breast screening clinics, women’s shelters and pregnancy support groups.
• Visiting seniors, the sick and shut-ins on a regular basis.
• Writing letters to government officials and learning more about various resolutions, educational programs and social justice issues.

Members experienced days of development to learn practical skills, grow in faith, foster League friendships and share stories, ideas and ways to promote the League. In doing so, members acquired new confidence to take on executive positions and leadership roles.

As part of spiritual enrichment and League development, members:
• Assisted with sacramental preparations and in parishes in music and Eucharistic ministries.
• Participated in evenings of reflection, prayer buddy programs and as guest speakers.
• Provided information through directives.
• Joined ecumenical events such as Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, World Day of Prayer, choirs and pro-life week activities such as Life Chain.
• Supported the Annual Celebrity Walk and Breakfast fundraiser for a children’s treatment centre for abused children and their families.
• Formed honour guards and prepared funeral luncheons to honour deceased members.
• Formed a Catholic Girl’s League.
• Rejoiced as councils and members celebrated milestone anniversaries.
• Provided spiritual growth through retreats, group pilgrimages, days of reflection, liturgies, hours of devotion and speakers.
• Participated in resolutions, elections, orientation, legislation and affirmation workshops and study sessions.
• Benefited from workshops and sharing sessions facilitated by life members at winter and fall executive meetings.
• Promoted an environment of sisterhood and a sense of community.
• Created bulletin boards, ads in parish bulletins and regular newsletters.
• Sponsored masses and church events while wearing CWL scarves, aprons and pins.
• Promoted programming on Salt + Light TV.
• Celebrated at a vocations mass with the Knights of Columbus and Serra International where an Our Lady of Good Counsel Bursary was presented to seminarians.
• Read and meditated on the papal encyclicals Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith) and Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel).

One parish council was the first lay group to be introduced to the papal document Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization. Reported as the first time in history, one parish council joined with an auxiliary to form a new parish council.

The provincial council continued to support seminarians with the Bishop Bernard Pappin Bursary, funded solely through donations from members. Catch the Fire! sessions fanned the flames of League development sparking inspiration in newcomers and reigniting passion for the League in seasoned members. There were 176 presentations with a total of 1,093 members attending. A real boost for membership was to hear of a parish council that reactivated after over 40 years of inactivity.

As provincial president, I have had the pleasure of:
• Contributing to the Trillium News and Views newsletter.
• Contributing reports for provincial and national meetings and conventions.
• Contributing monthly postings of “Betty’s Blog” for the ON-Line Newsletter.
• Attending an executive meeting of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario.
• Attending the plenary meeting of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario to give a report on the League as well as give a video presentation regarding the League.
• Presenting a newly created certificate at several anniversaries.
• Being interviewed by the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association for YouTube, promoting the importance of Catholic education.

The provincial Facebook page increased in popularity and the ON-Line Newsletter continued to receive rave reviews. Members proclaimed, We Have Seen the Lord! They showed it in their dedication, commitment and enthusiasm in all their activities for the League. “Good Things ‘Glow’ in Ontario!”