faith | service | social justice

2019 Annual Report – National Chairperson of Communications

Jun 24, 2020 | Annual Reports, National

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

Eleven of 11 provincial chairpersons of communications reported.

The Canadian League Magazine
The Canadian League was widely embraced by members, particularly those who were unable to attend meetings regularly—especially senior members. It was the primary source for spirituality, advocacy, action, education, membership reminders, and new ideas regarding the strategic plan and League promotion. Articles in the Winter 2019 issue widely used as a resource were “President’s Message”, “The League Objects”, “Our Father Who Art in Heaven”, “Personal Budgeting for Peace of Mind”, “Cannabis, It is Time to Take Action – on Resolution Action Plans”, “Jesus – the Best Communicator”, “Core Purpose, Core Values, Mission Statement, Envisioned Future”, “The Road to Senegal” and “Listen to Silence.” The Fall 2019 articles that resonated with members were: “President’s Message”, “Comments from the National Spiritual Advisor”, “Highlights from the 99th Annual National Convention in Calgary”, “99th Annual National Convention Resolutions”, “Oral Reports”, “Addicted to Porn”, “Role of a Life Member”, “Dignity and Rights of Persons: Human Trafficking in Canada” and “Marguerite: A Woman Who Compassionately Lived Life on the Peripheries.” Evaluation of the spring issue was missing from some reports; however, popular articles from the issue included “The League Objects Continued”, “The Genius of Women”, “Annulment Process” and “Communication – Tips and Tools.” Though some reported some members did not read the magazine, chairpersons felt overwhelmingly that The Canadian League was a good, very good or excellent resource.

Evangelization: Parish councils invited local press to events with some of the following media used to assist in their mission to evangelize—The Catholic Register newspaper, Salt + Light TV, Vision TV and Eternal World Television Network (EWTN). Some parish councils supported Salt + Light Media, Vision TV and The Catholic Register. Most parish councils made use of media in various forms. Some promoted faith-based programs such as the televised Our Lady of Good Counsel mass on April 26th, her feast day, mass for shut-ins and daily televised masses. World Communications Day (1st Sunday in June) sponsored by the Holy See was advertised. Two provincial councils reported they had watched the 2019 convention speakers on Some parish councils used local media to advertise, with fewer submitting news releases. Few parish councils had a budget for advertising. Parish councils reported they had viewed the videos produced to promote the League and rated them as good, very good or excellent. Most members made good use of the League website, Facebook and Twitter.

Resolution 1978.03 Catholic Press encouraged members to subscribe to and promote Catholic newspapers. Some parish councils financially supported or purchased Catholic newspapers or periodicals, with few having budgeted for publicity. A couple of parish councils financially supported EWTN and Salt + Light TV. Catholic publications accessed were The B.C. Catholic and The Catholic Register.

Promotion of the League: E-mail usage increased and was used to distribute meeting agendas, minutes and other pertinent information, with those not using e-mail sent information via regular mail. Others used parish websites, community websites and local radio stations and newspaper advertisements. The national website was promoted and used by most parish councils that sought resource information for meetings, functions and for members’ personal knowledge.

Evaluation and promotion of good content: Those that monitored content were most concerned about abortion, euthanasia, palliative care and pornography. One provincial council reported less than one-half of parish councils monitored media content. Letters and e-mails were written and sent to elected representatives with telephone calls made to radio and television stations lodging complaints regarding inappropriate content, particularly against the airing of the television program series, Mary Kills People and the film, The First Temptation of Christ.

Newsletters and bulletins: Parish councils utilized parish bulletins, bulletin boards, e-mail handouts, posters, community web pages, promotional brochures, community calendars, diocesan websites, WhatsApp, telephone committees, text messaging, and face-to-face sharing during meetings to promote activities. Few reported having a newsletter; however, those that did, reported less than one-half were published annually, one-third published quarterly and less than one-quarter bi-annually. Parish bulletins and newsletters remained the primary method of communicating.

Media Relations: Parish councils reached out to the media inviting them to attend events and sent material to be published as well as thank you cards after an event.

Mailings of Pornography Hurts postcards (age verification) were sent to government representatives from many parish councils. Members used a variety of means to educate themselves about the influence of pornography on children. One parish council held a pornography and human trafficking round table discussion at its monthly meetings, others read articles, reviewed current legislation, and attended seminars and conferences. Some reported they had not taken many steps to become informed on the influence pornography had on children and adults. Members were encouraged to visit the website for current information. During the 2019 federal election, members were encouraged to source their respective politicians’ views before voting. Others viewed the Over 18 or Red-Light Green Light documentaries.

Some parish councils contacted their members of parliament regarding Resolution 2017.02 Mandatory Age Verification Mechanisms for Adult Pornographic Websites and requested government enact laws that required these mechanisms to prevent minors from accessing pornographic websites. Other parish councils reported monitoring the federal government’s response to this issue. One parish council reported a letter of concern regarding adult pornographic websites was made available for all parishioners to sign. The letter was sent to an elected official who informed them the letter and postcards were not accepted and not effective.

Eight provincial councils reported councils had 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 (now archived)
  • 2002.11 Responsible Internet Use for Children
  • 1978.03 Catholic Press

Strategic Planning
Most parish councils participated in a strategic planning workshop, while some had not presented the strategic planning initiative. One-half of parish councils were made aware that changes and exciting times were coming. Most of the strategic planning information had come to the parish councils through communiques and The Canadian League, with some aware of the new goals. Few parish councils used the League website for updates on the strategic plan, with fewer yet reciting the CWL Prayer for Renewal. Unfortunately, one provincial council reported that none of the strategic planning information on the website or in The Canadian League, or in the workshop had been shared with its members.

Summary Comments and Suggestions from Provincial Chairpersons

  • Finding a chairperson and those willing to take on leadership roles was difficult.
  • Newsletters were time consuming and many found it hard to keep a balance between not enough and too much information.
  • Keeping members engaged and enthusiastic was challenging.
  • Difficulty in keeping e-mails interesting, informative, inspiring and not too wordy was noted.
  • Communicating with members who did not use e-mail was difficult.
  • Accessing reliable and affordable Internet due to geographical location was a challenge for some parish councils.

Positive Feedback:

  • Communication was noted as an excellent way to promote the League.
  • Communication was the key to attracting and informing members, parishioners and the local community of important and current issues faced.
  • English was a second language for many members; however, they were kept informed through newsletters.
  • Parish councils felt successful in improving the communication to their membership through enhancing and updating the newsletter, e-mailing monthly, sending quarterly updates by mail and keeping the website fresh and current.
  • Designing and implementing two new websites helped form countless friendships from all regions of the province.
  • “There are many ways that our children and families can be exposed to values that are not in accordance with Church teachings, and it is only by our efforts that we can work to ensure quality of life for the next generation.”
  • One provincial council would have liked more training on standing committee’s roles and responsibilities.
  • E-mails to members keeping them abreast of current events and activities were appreciated by most members. One council was very supportive of one another and as a result it drew in members because of the dynamic that was readily visible to the community.