Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Council President
2017 Annual Report
The presidents of the diocesan councils in Alberta Mackenzie were: Janet MacPhee, Calgary; Cheryl Boom, Edmonton; Irene Brassard, Grouard-McLennan; Gerda Hazenberg, Mackenzie; and Celine Berlinguette, St. Paul.
Approximately 61% of parish council presidents completed the online annual reports. This equated to 104 of 159 parish councils that reported. The membership for the provincial council as of December 31, 2017 was 9,312 members.
Councils embraced the national theme, Inspired by the Spirit, Women Respond to God’s Call and used it as inspiration for meetings, retreats, workshops and spiritual programs.
Parish council presidents indicated the following priorities were introduced, discussed or acted upon by members:
• physician assisted dying
• palliative care
• limiting access to pornography
• refugee crisis
• conscience rights of healthcare providers
• home care
• youth mental health
• warning labels on food and drug products
• Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide
• rights of Indigenous offenders
Several parish councils reported being grateful for support received from spiritual advisors. Some reported not receiving the support they needed, whether it be spiritual advisors too busy with the parish workload or those without an understanding of the League’s work. Some reported not having a spiritual advisor.
Presidents indicated using the following resources:
• Constitution & Bylaws
• council policy and procedure books
• National Manual of Policy and Procedure
• Executive Handbook
• diocesan/provincial/national website, communiques and newsletters
• Robert’s Rules of Order
• The Canadian League
• Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops communications
Parish council presidents represented their members at the following events:
• diocesan/regional/provincial/national meetings and conventions
• anniversaries, church functions and special masses
• meetings with politicians
• events such as World Day of Prayer, chrism mass, pro-life walks and Remembrance Day services
• retreats, sacramental events, workshops, school ceremonies, funerals and fundraising dinners
• archdiocesan youth rallies, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (prayer for youth)
The majority of parish council presidents had their expenses paid to attend diocesan conventions. Several indicated expenses for presidents attending provincial or national conventions, conferences or workshops were not covered.
Ninety percent of presidents indicated having read and used the Executive Handbook. They reported annual summaries were shared with the membership either by e-mail, written/oral reports, newsletters or parish bulletins. Most of them reported having council policies and keeping them updated; however, it was noted some councils do not have policies.
Separate from standing committees, 47% of parish council presidents indicated having committees for the following:
• annual teas, bazaars, funeral lunches, meals on wheels and prayer breakfasts
• fundraising, catering, letter writing and newsletters
• parade float and refugee committees
• prayer shawl and card ministries, and parish council representatives
• nominations and education scholarship committees
Members indicated the role of parish council president was challenging but also rewarding. Many indicated receiving support from immediate past presidents, life members, current executive members and spiritual advisors. Some challenges faced were:
• not having a full slate of officers
• finding the time
• keeping members interested
• the amount of paperwork
• feeling undertrained and inexperienced in recruiting and technology
• limited membership in the small councils and an aging membership
Members continued to serve the League in many capacities, supporting parishes and communities to the best of their abilities. From the reports I read, members were committed to helping those in need because they had been inspired by the Spirit and they had responded to God’s call.