faith | service | social justice

2018 Annual Report – National Chairperson of Communications

May 31, 2019 | Annual Reports, National

Doreen Gowans
National 2nd Vice-President and Chairperson of Communications

One-hundred per cent of provincial chairpersons reported—a big improvement from 2017.

The Canadian League Magazine
The Canadian League continued to be popular with members, especially those unable to attend meetings regularly. The Canadian League was the primary source for spirituality, advocacy, actions, education, new ideas and promotion of the League. The magazine provided members with an up to date source of the vision of the League. Articles in the winter edition widely used as a resource among members were “President’s Message”, “What’s A Human Worth? Human Trafficking Price Tag”, “Separated or Divorced Women – You Have A Place Among Us”, “Mental Illness and Legislation”, “Being Present and Responding To God’s Call” and “The Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation – Empowering Catholic Women.” In the spring issue, “Christ’s Presence in the Eucharist”, “There is no ‘I’ in ‘Team’: Every One in the Council is Vital for Success”, “Sanctity of Life at all Ages and Stages!” and “Council Finances – Everyone’s Business” were cited as most popular.

a. Evangelization:

Most councils made use of media in various forms, some to promote faith-oriented programs such as Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, women’s ecumenical services, World Day of Prayer, masses, conventions, rosaries, sacramental preparation and sharing of personal faith journeys. World Communications Day, celebrated May 13th, was advertised by councils. Members expressed appreciation of the prayer corner on the League website.

Resolution 1978.03 Catholic Press encouraged members to subscribe to and promote Catholic newspapers. Many councils did not financially support or purchase Catholic newspapers or periodicals, with few councils having budgeted for publicity. While there was a downturn in councils financially supporting Catholic newspapers, some councils promoted these publications as resources for information. Some Catholic newspapers used were The B.C. Catholic and The Catholic Register.

Two provincial councils reported between 50–82% of members tuned in to listen to the national convention’s live-feed of keynote speaker, Most Rev. Murray Chatlain (Keewatin-Le Pas).

b. Promotion of the League:

Councils submitted articles to local press and radio stations to promote events. E-mail was the most common form of advertising meetings and events.

Use of social media among members gained momentum as more members became computer savvy. The new League website was used by many seeking resource information for council meetings, functions and personal knowledge. Members reported the website was easy to access, clean, well laid out and very informative. Information was available at the fingertips using drop-down menus.

Councils reported the national Facebook page and Twitter were becoming popular amongst members. Some diocesan councils maintained a Facebook page. Two provincial councils initiated new websites.

What was done when bad weather prevented a provincial spiritual advisor from attending a scheduled meeting? Why of course, Facetime was employed! Members are flexible women showing technology can be used to benefit the League.

Councils used bulletin inserts/notices, bulletin boards, e-mail, posters, texting, community web pages, promotional brochures, community calendars, diocesan websites and WhatsApp to promote activities.

Salt + Light TV’s Women on A Mission video promoting the League was viewed with positive response.

One diocesan council reported promoting the League by wearing League scarves and pins while participating in honour guards for deceased members. This was a visible sign of respect shown to sisters in the League, which also helped increase membership.

c. Evaluation and promotion of good content:

Hundreds of letters were written and phone calls made to radio and television stations lodging complaints regarding inappropriate content, particularly against airing of Mary Kills People. Two councils reported inappropriate content for politically based bullying and 13 Reasons Why. Members were encouraged to monitor and become aware of how social media affects children.

d. Newsletters and bulletins:

Few councils reported having a newsletter. Councils with newsletters reported it was prepared by either the president or communications chairperson.

Media Relations
Councils reached out to media with invitations to attend events and sent material to be published, as well as thank you cards following an event.

Vast mailings of Pornography Hurts postcards were sent to government from many councils. One provincial council reported every opportunity was taken to speak against pornography to local members of legislative assemblies, members of parliament and municipal councillors.

Some councils contacted members of parliament regarding Resolution 2017.02 Mandatory Age Verification Mechanisms for Adult Pornographic Websites. Other councils encouraged members to become educated on internet safety and the lack of age verification controls. Many councils reported keeping informed about the influence of pornography on children and adults. Councils promoted films Over 18 and Red Light, Green Light, with one provincial council reporting at least one showing of Over 18 was held by each diocesan council. However, not many viewed the website which raises awareness on harmful effects of pornography. With a federal election approaching, provincial councils reported members were unaware of the political parties’ stances on pornography.

Eight provincial councils reported councils acted on the following resolutions:
2017.02 Mandatory Age Verification Mechanisms for Adult Pornographic Websites
2004.11 Link Between Violent, Graphic Imagery and Aggressive Behaviour and the Mechanics of Killing
2002.11 Responsible Internet Use for Children

Overall members were encouraged to contact the minister of justice and prime minister to ask the federal government to enact laws requiring mechanisms be put in place to protect the vulnerable.

Summary Comments & Suggestions from Provincial Chairpersons
• Order extra editions of The Canadian League and distribute to non-members.
• Request more information from national council on the progress of the implementation committee for strategic planning.
• Provide information on how councils can engage working mothers in the League.
• Publicize and educate members on the live-feed option for the national convention.
• Many councils voiced they do not hear from diocesan counterparts, resulting in councils missing communications from those elected or appointed to fill diocesan positions.
• Set up a committee to develop policies about posting to Facebook.
• Be diligent in information sharing both for adults and youth.
• Each member is a part of the whole, whether communicating through social media or snail mail. Everyone needs to be included as all are sisters in the League.