faith | service | social justice

2017 Annual Report – Nova Scotia

Sep 25, 2018 | Uncategorized

Peggy MacNeil
Nova Scotia Provincial Council President
2017 Annual Report

Inspired by the Spirit, members in Nova Scotia responded to God’s call as they came together committed to pray, support, serve, share and celebrate their work “For God and Canada”. Their faith and love for each other and for the League gave them the strength they needed to carry on their work.

Parish councils contributed to the spiritual growth of members by hosting workshops, prayer services and retreats, and inviting guest speakers to develop the theme. They referred to resources on the national website and debeloped and provided their own prayer services. Liturgies and spiritual programs were developed by members using the League’s Ceremonies BookletCWL Prays booklet, Alpha course and the Cursillo Movement’s Challenge and Ultreya programs. Some familiarized themselves with the church’s protocol for cremation with the assistance of their spiritual advisors. Some in the Diocese of Antigonish reported studyings Laudato Si’. Funeral honour guards were held for the 54 deceased members.

Members participated in World Day of Prayer, stations of the cross, Our Lady of Good Counsel Feast Day, rosary, reflection, adoration of the blessed sacrament, women in scriptures studies, pilgrimages, crowning of Mary, candlelight vigils, litanies, novenas and prayer breakfasts. Members were very active in lay ministry, served in parish leadership roles, and on parish and diocesan committees. They supported the Knights of Columbus and Catholic missions, and reached out to other faith denominations by inviting women to various events. They financially supported and participated in Mass for Shut-Ins and were involved with activities in nursing homes, group homes and hospitals, in keeping with the ministry of compassion and caring.

Members demonstrated faith with a genuine desire to affect positive change in the world. Religious education was delivered at the parish level. Parish councils supported Steubenville, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and baptismal and marriage preparation programs. they encouraged and monetarily supported the educational and spiritual growth of high school, university and postgraduate students through scholarship and bursaries offered annually. the provincial Marion Hepditch Littlepage Award was raised to $500.00. Parish councils reported an awareness and financial support for the National Bursary Fund, Coady International Institute, NET Ministries of Canada and Catholic Christian Outreach.

Prominent among issues affecting members was concern for ensuring timely access to mental health professionals and follow-up programs, particularly for young adults. Another issue of concern was palliative care and hospice. Prayer shawls were provided to the sick and elderly. Senior safety sessions were facilitated by local police departments. All parish councils remained active in outreach with organizations such as The Arthritis Society, Canadian Cancer Society, Autism Canada, Canadian Diabetes Association, Heart & Stroke Foundation, Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, CNIB, transition houses, youth clubs, soup kitchens, MaterCare International Inc., Project Rachel and Birthright International. They also shared a common interest in protecting the environment.

Fifty percent of parish councils participated in completing annual reports. Smaller councils reported facing challenges in leadership development, recruiting and maintaining members. Councils reported attracting members through activities such as presentations, fairs, social media, parish bulletins, presentations, displays, gift memberships, celebration dinners, new member kits and mentoring. Recruitment required energy, sincerity and compassion for the League. Membership recognition was also an important focus. Pins, certificates, awards and thank you cards were presented. Encouragement and a welcoming approach with good mentorship and involvement were strategies used. Online membership, telephone calls and e-mails were used by many councils. Parish councils availed themselves of League materials, and life members served as mentors and facilitators, providing guidance on issues of concern. Members attended conventions when possible. Eighty members attended the annual national convention in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and family websites were used for information and resource material. Parish councils promoted encounter weekends for engaged couples, marriage encounter weekends, parenting courses, anniversary milestone celebrations, programs to support life from natural life to natural death, pro-life walks and masses, March for Life, Life Chain, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and travelling chalice/crucifix programs. One council completed and presented 18 lap blankets for palliative care. Youth were supported through shelters and programs for at risk students, summer camps, Sunday school and World Youth Day. the young were encouraged to share their gifts in ministry. Members reached out to the disabled and seniors by providing programs to enrich their lives. They were prayed with, visited, called and sent cards. One council celebrated mass once per month at the nursing home in its parish. Priests were invited and included in events. Spiritual bouquets and priestly retirement fund were also supported by members.

Past presidents embraced the opportunity to share knowledge, wisdom, support and encouragement to councils. They chaired nominations committees and kept involved through various forms of fundraising and events. Challenges were cited as lack of active past presidents and the need to serve as president for multiple terms due to an inability to recruit. The transition to technology in reporting was problematic for some. past presidents remained focused on preserving history through various norms such as filing cabinets, CDs, scrapbooks, albums and memory sticks. National website resources and The Canadian League articles proved helpful for many. parish councils used a record retention template as a resource and guide for future past presidents. many had their own policy manual supplement to guide council decisions.

Parish councils reported increased knowledge in laws and efforts in the fight against human trafficking. They supported minority groups and contributed time and money for those suffering from bullying, domestic violence, homelessness, poverty and racism. Some supported Dignity for All; The Campaign for a Poverty Free Canada, local foodbanks, St. Vincent de Paul, shelters, Hope Cottage, Canadian Red Cross, Chalice, breakfast programs, quilts for seniors and refugee families. Financial assistance was offered to immigrants and refugees for food and rent, as well as to Development and Peace. There was an increase in awareness of the conditions faced by child labourers and economic conditions in developing countries. Organizations supported in developing countries include Operation Christmas Child, Holy Childhood Association and Samaritan’s Purse. Once council made 140 dresses for children in Africa. members attended workshops related to social and economic justice.

Parish councils responded favourably to the Canadian League. Members acknowledged favourite articles, especially on palliative care. Most councils subscribed to Catholic periodicals, newspapers and/or magazines. it was heartening to note some members watched the 2017 annual national convention speakers on livestream. Using Facebook, websites, e-mails, newspapers and bulletins remained favourable in promoting League events. Some councils viewed Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation’s Woman on a Mission and the League’s testimonial video. Newsletters were a great way to keep members informed. Pornography Hurts postcards were distributed and forwarded by councils. The provincial website was kept up to date with all relevant information.

In both dioceses parish councils discussed and studied the topics of palliative care, medications, food labeling, pornography, cannabis and metal health. Actions were taken through petitions, e-mails, telephone calls and letter writing on resolutions adopted at the 2017 annual national convention. one parish council from the Diocese of Halifax-Yarmouth authored a resolution to ban the marketing of foods and beverages to children. While not adopted nationally, the council was informed that if insufficient action was not taken by the federal government the resolution would be reconsidered. A resolutions workshop was presented in the Diocese of Antigonish.

To keep up to date on current bills, parish councils reported accessing Hansard. Councils monitored issues associated with various federal bills, signed petitions and strove to keep members informed. many were in touch with government representatives at all levels. Councils wrote letters to the prime minister and attorney general supporting the national president’s letter regarding Cill C-16 An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. Councils monitored provincial legislation concerning cyber-bullying, the abortion pill being available at no cost, sentencing for violent offences against Indigenous women, assisted suicide and issues surrounding the legalization of marijuana.

I thank God for the pleasure of serving for the past two years with my sisters in the League.