2014 Annual Report – Prince Edward Island

Louise Doiron
Prince Edward Island Provincial Council President
2014 Annual Report

The 2,121 members were actively engaged in doing many good works “For God and Canada.” It was heartwarming and encouraging to read about the joyful witness of the Gospel that sister members brought to their parishes and their communities.

It was evident that individual and collective spiritual development plays a big role. Meetings began and ended with prayer, inspirational readings provided spiritual leadership, prayers were offered for deceased members at funeral homes, prayer lines were organized in parish councils, the rosary was offered during the months of May and October, and mini retreats were held. Members participated in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, World Day of Prayer, way of the cross during Lent, Divine Mercy Sunday, mass on the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel, prayer vigils to end abortion, rosaries and pilgrimages for Canadian martyrs, and Life Chain. Members belonged to prayer groups and attended the movie The Triumph. Councils supported Mass for Shut-ins, which helps people share in the celebration of the Eucharist during the week. In August, members participated in the Blanket the Island with a prayer initiative against abortion organized by the P.E.I. Right to Life Association. Members took part in sessions discussing Sr. Nuala Kenny’s book Healing the Church: Diagnosing and Treating the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis.

Membership continued to be a challenge. One parish council disbanded this year; others tried hard to get new members. Personal invitation seemed to be the most effective method of recruiting. Members went door to door to collect membership fees. Members participated in CWL Membership Sunday by serving as Eucharistic ministers, lectors, hospitality ushers and singing in the choir. They spoke after mass on what the League is all about and why it is such a great organization. Parish priests were very supportive of the League and acted as spiritual advisors. There was a slight decline in membership although 11 parish councils reported an increase. Having members take on leadership roles still posed a challenge. This year another life member was added, bringing the total to 15. She demonstrated her leadership by maintaining archives. One life member passed away.

Educating members was a key goal of parish councils. Two parish councils hosted fall conferences―All Saints Parish Council (Cardigan) and Sacred Heart Parish Council (Alberton) together with St. Anthony Parish Council (Bloomfield). The program was a provincial focus, Imprisonment in All Its Forms. Members received information on family violence prevention programs, grief, conflict resolution and the role of the Catholic Family Services Bureau. Members attended the provincial convention where they heard about the issues of abortion, pornography, the struggles for basic rights of indigenous people and more about the programs offered by Catholic Family Services Bureau. One Catch the Fire! workshop was held. Four area meetings were held to review Effective Meetings and Discerning a Call to Service taken from the S’Mores handbook. Members, unable to attend meetings, were kept informed of their council’s activities through newsletters or minutes sent by e-mail. Parish councils donated to the Catholic Women’s League Girl’s Bursary.

Members remained active in all areas of parish life. They served on pastoral councils and other committees, and as lectors, Eucharistic ministers, hospitality ministers and gift bearers. They provided assistance for luncheons after funerals, confirmations, first communions and priests’ zone meetings. Gifts were given to first communicants and confirmation candidates. In one parish council, members collected items for a project titled “Underwear for Jesus” in which underwear was collected and given to Anderson House and Bedford MacDonald House on the Island and The Brunswick Street Mission in Halifax, Nova Scotia. One council helped to celebrate high school graduates in their community.

Members demonstrated respect for life from conception until natural death. They supported the P.E.I. Right to Life Association by paying membership dues, taking part in the annual March for Life, participating in the Stay the Course postcard campaign, attending a prayer vigil at St. Dunstan’s Basilica and talking to politicians. Members also supported the Catholic Family Services Bureau by buying lottery tickets and going to its annual meeting. Birthright International was also assisted by League volunteers. Other members belonged to a group which is working to eradicate poverty on the Island.

Members generously shared with the world community. Donations were given to Coady International Institute, Catholic Missions In Canada, Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, Velma’s Dream (Catholic Near East Welfare Association) and to Fr. Roy Shea’s mission in Brazil. Parish councils supported Save a Family Plan, and one sponsored a foster child in Ghana. Locally, parish councils donated to hospitals, the Hospice Palliative Care Association of PEI, Canadian Cancer Society, St. Vincent de Paul Society and many other organizations such as The Caring Cupboard food bank. At Christmas some members prepared and gave fruit trays to the sick, shut-ins, seniors and parish priests. They visit elderly members in manors and gave them spiritual Christmas cards.

The provincial council continued to communicate to its members through three communiqués, two newsletters, personal phone calls to presidents and e-mail.

Even though members worked hard, they also had fun. For example, one parish council arranged for members to learn how to make apple cider when they went on an apple picking venture. Another parish council liked to play games after their meetings. Yet another parish council arranged a different location each year for its annual retreat.