2014 Annual Report – Communications

Fran Lucas
National 2nd Vice-President and Chairperson of Communications
2014 Annual Report

Sub-committee Chairperson
Pornography: Life Member Rosanne Sogan

The following is a summary of the reports of 11 provincial chairpersons of communications whose mandate is “to announce and communicate by words and actions, the good news of the gospel.” Some councils happily reported an increase over last year of the number of reports received.

The Canadian League magazine
Councils reported members derived great joy and learning from reading The Canadian League as it kept them informed of League activities across Canada. In some cases, members shared their copies with non-members; others left their copies in church ministries resource racks for others to pick up. Many welcome kits included a magazine, and some of the articles contained therein were used as discussion items at meetings, mostly as educational opportunities. One honorary life member sent copies to her World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations friends in other parts of the world. Members were proud to see their comments published about magazine content. The personal profiles of provincial presidents were invaluable for members to learn more about those beginning their service at the national level. Members who were no longer able to attend meetings were kept informed through the magazine. The resolutions and action plans adopted at the annual national convention were appreciated and used for future reference. Many councils sent letters to national office commenting on the usefulness of the magazine.

Media for evangelization
Evangelization was promoted and actively carried out by members. They encouraged subscription to or the watching of Salt + Light TV, Vision TV and Eternal Word Television Network; displayed posters for World Day of Prayer celebrations; advertised the League sponsored mass on Vision TV celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel; accessed Catholic newspapers; shared information on Facebook and Twitter; and visited the National Catholic Broadcasting Council and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ websites. The program “Mass for Shut Ins” received financial support from some councils. Letters and e-mails were sent to members of parliament regarding the removal of Vision TV from regular programming.

Media to promote the League
Members continued to use a variety of options to promote the League. Councils posted their newsletters on parish bulletin boards and in parish bulletins with positive results in attracting new members. One council gave its newsletter to all women in the parish and advertised conventions and other League activities. Local media was used to publicize League events, many times with a reporter and photographer attending. Facebook and Twitter were popular advertising tools.

The League was promoted through local radio, community calendars, poster boards, school newsletters, and parish, diocesan and provincial websites. Promotional material was distributed at parish events and was made available at church entrances. Advertisements were placed at high schools and universities. Announcements were made at church. Increasingly councils created websites and promoted the League on them. One council identified having a budget for publicity. On membership Sundays, brief talks were given before all masses by members.

Media: evaluation and promotion of good content
Members were encouraged to be aware of and promote good television, movie and magazine content and to write letters of appreciation to television stations and newspapers when this was observed. Conversely, they wrote letters when the opposite was happening. Some members shared their letters regarding content with federally and provincially elected politicians as well as with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Safe Internet usage was high on the agenda of members and speakers were engaged to help with this growing challenge. At some council meetings videos were reviewed and, at others, movies, books and television programs were discussed.

Media: newsletters and bulletins
The Be League electronic newsletter was a favourite among members. Each month a new issue shared exciting and creative activities from councils leading to new ideas for others. Printing copies and sharing them at council meetings or posting them on church bulletin boards was common. Councils were especially proud to see articles published that they submitted or the inclusion of their service pin recipients.

Parish, diocesan and provincial levels published their own newsletters monthly, quarterly or annually. Many councils included their newsletter in the parish bulletin. Parish bulletins were identified as the primary tool to advertise monthly meetings and events.

Media relations
Councils at all levels prepared news release kits for local media to announce special events. Cards and thank you letters were sent to local media that attended and covered events hosted by members. One provincial council had members work at local media outlets which provided for an excellent working relationship with the newspaper editors.

All provincial councils participated in the Pornography Hurts postcard campaign. An emphasis was placed on including on the postcard the member’s name and address, and a question to encourage a response. Members monitored and addressed concerns on the issues of pornography by reading newspapers and watching and listening to news reports. Some councils collected monies to support local campaigns such as White Ribbon Against Pornography and encouraged parishioners to voice their objection to pornography. They wrote letters to government officials at all levels outlining the effect of pornography on the family.

Pornography Hurts postcards were taken to schools for parents and teachers and to doctors’ offices. The Lutheran church in one community used the cards as well, and many councils supplied cards to their members throughout the year. Several councils created displays for awareness of pornography for use in their parishes, and another sent a press release to the media during its campaign.

Initiatives undertaken
Various new contests were included in Be League. In response to members’ requests for a chat room, a members-only online forum was launched in December. More emphasis was placed on the frequency of press releases, including after national executive meetings. An article was written for the magazine on a trip to the Philippines, sponsored by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. Research on pornography was conducted. Personal letters were written to government. A project to tape testimonials of members from across Canada was planned. A conversation began with Salt + Light TV to provide coverage of the 2015 annual national convention.

Communication was identified as something that could be improved upon at every level. The reading of Be League was emphasized and increased readership was anticipated. Members were fortunate that, in one way or another, the national website facilitated all the communication categories addressed above and that the vast array of resources available on the website assisted every standing committee. Some of the councils in the Military Ordinariate came up with creative initiatives to reduce their environmental footprint by going paperless. With more and more members having access to computers, tablets and smart phones, they were receptive and appreciative when training to use these devices was offered.