faith | service | social justice

2018 Annual Report – National Chairperson of Community Life

May 31, 2019 | Annual Reports, National

Marie C. Rackley
National Chairperson of Community Life

Sub-Committee Chairpersons:
• Dignity and Rights of Persons: Life Member Dorothy Johansen
• Refugees, Immigration and Citizenship: Madonna Clark
• Developing Countries: Irene Gallant

This report sums up the good work members have done in the community for the love of God’s people as members follow His teachings!

Dignity and Rights of Persons
Workshops and information sessions continued to take place on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Members worked daily with those suffering from poverty and homelessness, donating clothing and food in the community. Members volunteered countless hours in aid of homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Councils continued to invite guest speakers to meetings to seek out new projects. Ontario councils participated in a Warmth and Comfort project October 1–December 31, gifting 37,465 pairs of socks, 2,812 jars of peanut butter and 2,896 boxes of crackers. Councils donated household items, mittens, hats, scarves and hygiene projects, delivered to homeless shelters. An excellent fall project working together as one to serve all!

Members reached out to anti-bullying programs for training to assist those in need. Young people are impacted by words and violence, sometimes to the point of self-destruction and may end up victims of human trafficking.

The treatment of Indigenous women was a concern to councils and they invited guest speakers to hear first-hand from their Indigenous sisters. Members took part in activities such as the Faceless Doll Project and KAIROS Blanket Exercise, attended special masses for missing women and visited healing lodges for Indigenous female offenders. Councils continued to review Resolution 2017.01 Full Implementation of the Supreme Court Decision in R.v. Gladue for Indigenous Offenders at the government levels, Resolution 2013.01 Building Relationships and Partnerships with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples and Resolution 2011.02 Children of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women.

Women and young adults as early as 12 years old are involved in human trafficking, with the abuse endured having life-long impacts. Guest speakers were invited to council meetings and members continued to support the postcards on human trafficking, with cards signed and sent to government to help combat these issues.

Members played an important role in Resolution 2018.01 Attestation Requirement on Canada Summer Jobs Program. Letters and postcards were sent to members of parliament and the prime minister. The League was informed in mid-December the previous attestation was removed from the 2019 application.

Social and Economic Justice
Local council members worked closely with other organizations within the community such as local food banks, soup kitchens, Canadian Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, school breakfast programs and Take Back the Night. Members supported these organizations financially with donations and many volunteer hours.

Members visited women in local detention centres and worked with organizations such as the Elizabeth Fry Society and Coverdale Courtwork Society, which help incarcerated women adjust into society and return to family life. Guest speakers from a variety of local organizations that assist with the adjustment back into society were invited to council meetings.

Refugees, Immigration and Citizenship
Councils studied and continued to monitor the difference between foreign temporary workers and refugees. Several councils were involved with sponsored refugee families and helped with settlement into Canada. Outreach programs were developed to support immigrated families in the community. Members took part in the English as a Second Language program. They continued to monitor Resolution 2016.01 Equal Access to Permanent Resident Status, an Amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. One council reported immigration was not a priority for the council.

Members attended citizenship court and some hosted receptions and give gifts to new Canadians. Councils support Remembrance Day services and the laying of wreaths. They supported and worked for the Poppy Campaign and supported Wear Red on Friday for Our Canadian Troops.

Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace – Caritas Canada
The national executive suspended the League’s 1% program, a national voluntary fund supporting Development and Peace–Caritas Canada, until an audit of the project partners would be completed by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Developing Countries
Councils supported organizations helping children and families such as Chalice, Sleeping Children Around the World, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, Canadian Food for Children, World Vision, Save a Family Plan, Buy-a-Net Malaria Prevention Group, Operation Eyesight International and Samaritan’s Purse. They kept in touch with women’s issues through these organizations. Many councils invited women from other countries as guest speakers to understand their status in their countries. Councils continued to monitor child labour in developing countries as it remained a concern.

Catholic Near East Welfare Association has been a voluntary fund for five years and was supported by councils. Councils supported financially and with prayers to help Christians struggling in the Middle East and to support the many works of the local church. Members took part in the annual Holy Land pilgrimage in June.

All councils need to be praised for the work done in the community. Community life chairpersons at all levels are greatly appreciated for reporting this work. I read with great admiration the provincial annual reports, of which 100% were submitted. Members are serving God’s people in many ways, enriching their lives by continuing to spread the good news and working “For God and Canada.”