Prince Edward Island Provincial Council President
2017 Annual Report
Prince Edward Island Provincial Council had 22 parish councils report through the online reporting system. Here are a few highlights from their reports:
• Councils used various ways to inform the membership including national communiqués, provincial websites or newsletters, and The Canadian League.
• Councils discussed or acted on conscience rights of healthcare providers, palliative care and physician assisted dying . Most councils introduced these topics by setting aside time at the general meeting.
• Some councils meet with their spiritual advisor at least once per month; however, several councils did not appear to meet with them at all. Almost all councils indicated the spiritual advisor as supportive.
• Most indicated the parish council president represented her council in a number of ways including funerals, anniversaries, church functions, World Day of Prayer, provincial meetings and conventions, and workshops, with various funding from councils ranging from all expenses to no expenses paid.
• Presidents indicated experiencing the greatest assistance was received from past or former past presidents, as well as their executive.
• The greatest challenges faced in transitioning into the role of president included keeping members interested, delegating, recruiting and the amount of paperwork.
• Presidents found it beneficial to have a national theme and/or logo.
• Some responses shared, “It is difficult at times to keep up with all the paper work – you may just have to pick and choose”; “pleased with the cooperation of the membership – they are very supporting”; “I learned a lot about myself and boosted my self-esteem”; and “We have very helpful members who work well together – we don’t always follow official procedures but do good work”.
Parish councils focused on the national theme and on palliative care. This was accomplished through retreats, guest speakers, and the sharing of personal experiences. The provincial executive approved 16 subsidies to assist parish councils with costs associated with these activities. In reading follow-up reports, all indicated the success of these events. A number of councils decided to start monthly meetings with mass first, a spiritual and loving way to begin. Other spiritual actions included prayers for deceased members, prayer lines and reciting the rosary before weekday masses or during the months of May and October. Events included mass and prayers on the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and a pilgrimage for St. Anne. Councils participated in Week of Prayer for Christian Unity , World Day of Prayer, Mary’s Way of the Cross during Lent, prayer groups and supported Mass for Shut-ins.
In March, the provincial executive delivered four area meetings. Presenters were three executive members so each had an opportunity to deliver her part of the meeting. These meetings were positive, with great attendance and wonderful comments.
Provincial convention was held in early May and featured a number of guest speakers. It was gratifying to see one of the largest number of registrants. Time was provided time for spiritual enrichment, open discussion, and opportunity to renew friendships and make new ones. As usual, registrants enjoyed the life members’ skit. The mass collection totaled nearly $1,000 which went to Catholic Missions In Canada. There were a number of members who participated in the March for Life, many with council banners. I was invited to be one of the speakers and was honoured to do so.
In August, the provincial council hosted the annual national convention. Every parish council contributed in some way to make this convention one of the best. The organizing co-chairpersons worked with amazing sub-committees to ensure everything was looked after. volunteers felt like this was welcoming family home for vacation and as such ensured meals, events and entertainment were of the highest quality. There were over 750 registered for convention and local members were over 200 in number. In October a wrap up party was held for committees and their members. Thanks you to so many who contributed to the success of the convention.
In September, the provincial executive welcomed Honorary Life Member Danielle McNeil Hessian who came to conduct a workshop on the strategic planning process and allowed members an opportunity to comment on the process to date and next steps. Participants appreciated the opportunity and looked forward to further development of the strategic plan. Also in September, members participated in the pilgrimage for Canadian Martyrs with the Knights of Columbus. The first fall conference was held in September and the second in October, both well attended and with wonderful guest speakers on our theme Inspired by the Spirit, Women Respond to God’s Call.
Members remained active in parish life as well as within the community and further afield. They generously shared financially, giving to local hospitals, hospice/palliative care, food banks, St. Vincent de Paul, PEI Catholic Girls Bursary, Missions In Canada, Development and Peace and Catholic Near East Welfare Association, to name a few. I was pleased to bring greetings to the Knights of Columbus state meeting, United Church Women, Anglican Church Women, and Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Society. It is a wonderful way for all Christians to know they are on similar paths in response to the needs of the church and world.
I want to thank Bishop Grecco (Charlottetown) and provincial spiritual advisor Fr. Brian MacDougall for their prayers and guidance. I also thank the executive and all members for their continued support and friendship. I have certainly experienced sisterhood in the League. May Our Lady of Good Counsel continue to bless members and the League.