faith | service | social justice

2019 Annual Report – National Chairperson of Spiritual Development

Jun 22, 2020 | Annual Reports, National

Shari Guinta
National First Vice-President and Chairperson of Spiritual Development

Sub-committee: Life Members Mary Lou Watson and Gloria Lundberg

Activities for the National Chairperson of Spiritual Development

  • Three communiqués were written. The last one announced that October was Extraordinary Missionary Month and was inaugurated on October 1, 2019, by Pope Francis, the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, Patroness of Missions.
  • Canadian home missions were highlighted, and parish councils were reminded to consider donating to the permanent Catholic Missions In Canada National Voluntary Fund.
  • An ad hoc committee was formed to study and report on the Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: A Call to the Catholic Faithful in Canada for Healing, Reconciliation, and Transformation document released by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). The committee made recommendations to the national executive/board for future actions. Parish councils reported they had studied and discussed the document. A letter was sent to the CCCB from the 99th annual national convention in support of the document and offered the League’s assistance. A prayer was created and adopted by the board for use in discussions and to pray for those who had been abused. A presentation about protecting minors was drafted for presentation to the board.
  • Prayer services were created for board meetings and the national convention.

Spiritual Growth of Members
Mass before meetings continued in most parish councils, and offering one-third of the meeting to spiritual activity was reported throughout. Lectio Divina was an activity that parish councils reported. Other activities included:

  • pilgrimages
  • retreats and adoration
  • stations of the cross, rosary, novenas, candlelight vigils
  • Chaplet of the Divine Mercy
  • Crowning of Mary and litany prayer services
  • one day a month devoted to continuous recitation of the rosary
  • prayer calendar with each day devoted to prayer for a member and the spiritual advisor

Technology served to help parish councils learn and investigate many ways of reflection and spiritual education. It was appreciated that most parish councils had the spiritual advisor present at meetings.

Study of Catholic Teachings
Parish councils continued to study and learn about the Pope’s encyclical, Laudato Si’, in conjunction with activities for the national theme, Care for Our Common Home. Chairpersons mentioned the theme resonated with members. Speakers, programs, prayers and information sessions were offered. Different materials and websites, including the Vatican website, were used to encourage development and interesting aids in Catholic and church teachings. Alpha course and RENEW Internationals’ “Why Catholic?” program were also mentioned.

Role of Women in the Church
Some study of the “genius of women” was reported as well as women in scripture in various ways. A long list of ministries that women served in was reported across the country. High percentages (in some provinces more than 60%) had women on various diocesan and parish committees, councils and participated in or led lay formation groups. Parish councils also worked with other ministries and groups such as the Knights of Columbus on joint efforts.

Evangelization and Mission Assistance
Catholic Missions In Canada was reported to be supported strongly. Local mission assistance including monetary support and donations of clothing, food and school supplies was also reported. Other missions supported were Esk-Omi Missions and St Francis Xavier Mission.

Lay Ministries
Members participated in and coordinated Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults processes and sacramental preparation programs, including marriage preparation. Members were present throughout the church in activities and ministries as lectors, Eucharistic ministers, choir members, sacristans, pastoral council members and hospitality members, as well as on bereavement, finance, diocesan and liturgical committees.

One provincial council reported discussion of and prayer in a program regarding the sexual abuse of minors by clergy and the CCCB document, Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: A Call to the Catholic Faithful in Canada for Healing, Reconciliation, and Transformation.

Ecumenism and Interfaith Endeavours
Joint prayer services were attended, with women in the community invited to parish council meetings and social events. Parish councils participated in Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada and World Day of Prayer. One provincial council mentioned it had cooperated with an ecumenical ministerial association and delivered food to the homeless when the temperature dipped below minus 30 degrees.

Resources reported

  • The Word Among Us magazine
  • diocesan, provincial and national League websites
  • the Vatican website
  • League resources including prayer booklets and services
  • communiqués
  • material from Alpha course
  • various books and workshops
  • Shorter Christian Prayer book

Most provincial councils reported that members observed the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel through mass and devotion on April 26th and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.

A suggestion was made for parish councils to budget specifically for items required in spiritual development. Sharing of resources, particularly prayer services and programs, would benefit all chairpersons of spiritual development. A list of resources should be distributed regularly.

There were some challenges reported with the online survey and reporting system and knowing what members wanted and needed as far as spiritual reflection and development was a challenge. Perhaps a parish or diocesan survey to address that might be designed.

Prayers and reflections might be sent to those who did not attend meetings on a regular basis, to try to engage those women.