Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Council President
The presidents of the diocesan councils were: Janet MacPhee, Calgary; Cheryl Boom, Edmonton; Irene Brassard, Grouard-McLennan; Gerda Hazenberg, Mackenzie; and Celine Berlinguette, St. Paul.
Approximately 69% of parish council presidents completed the online annual reports. The membership for the provincial council as of December 31, 2018 was 9,134 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 discussed or acted upon by members:
- excluding medical assistance in palliative care/hospice facilities
- removing Canada Summer Jobs program attestation
- requiring age verification mechanisms for adult pornographic websites
- protecting the conscience rights of healthcare professionals
- establishing standards of testing and labelling for products deemed as “flushable”
- showing Over 18 documentary in parishes and at conventions
Several parish councils reported being grateful for support received from spiritual advisors. Some indicated there was a rise in support from the spiritual advisor. Other councils reported not receiving the support needed. Several councils felt spiritual advisors were too busy with the parish workload.
Presidents indicated the following resources were used, with the first five cited as top resources:
- Constitution & Bylaws
- council policy and procedure books
- National Manual of Policy and Procedure
- Robert’s Rules of Order Revised
- Executive Handbook
- diocesan/ provincial/ national website communiqués and newsletters
- The Canadian League
- Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops communications
Parish council presidents represented councils at the following events:
- diocesan/regional/provincial/national meetings and conventions
- anniversaries, church functions and special masses
- 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 indicated their expenses were paid to attend diocesan conventions. Several councils indicated expenses for presidents attending provincial or national conventions, conferences or workshops were not covered.
Presidents read and used the Executive Handbook. They reported annual summaries were shared with members either by e-mail, written/oral reports, newsletters or parish bulletins. Most reported having council policies and keeping them updated; however, it was noted some councils did not have policies, but felt this would be beneficial.
A large percentage of presidents reported committees separate from standing committees, including:
- social events
The role of parish council president could be challenging but also rewarding. Some challenges faced were:
- not having a full slate of officers
- feeling overwhelmed
- finding time
- keeping members interested
- the amount of paperwork
- feeling undertrained and inexperienced
- recruiting and technology
- limited membership in small councils and an aging membership
Support for Presidents
Many presidents received the strongest support from immediate and former past presidents, secretaries and other executive members.
- “The teamwork in our council is amazing. The members support each other without complaining. It is through this teamwork that we have been able to accomplish so much, no matter how small or how large the council is.”
- “The willingness of so many members to volunteer shows their dedication and hard work for the League.”
- “The opportunity for personal growth has been wonderful.”
- “Gratefulness for the support and encouragement of our long serving members, who love the League and never hesitate to care and give guidance.”
- “The vast number of members that serve in the various liturgical and pastoral ministries in their parishes is inspiring.”
Members of the Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Council were an awesome and inspiring group of women that continued to work “For God and Canada.”