Rolande Chernichan, National Chairperson of Faith, August 30, 2023
FOR: Chairpersons of Faith of All Levels
The torch has been passed! Following the national annual meeting of members and elections held in Saint John, New Brunswick, August 13-15, 2023, a new set of national officers have begun their journey under the leadership of National President Shari Guinta. The national executive has officially been redefined and it has adopted a streamlined structure on the pillars of faith, service and social justice. I am pleased to introduce myself as the national chairperson of faith. A large part of my personal faith journey has been enriched through my involvement in the League and is captured in my biography, which can be found on the national website.
The national theme Catholic and Living It! continues until the end of 2023. Pope Francis, in his recent visit to Portugal for World Youth Day, shared “profound insights on the Church’s contemporary challenges and his vision for inclusivity, doctrinal progression, and the Synod”. He stressed the need for encounter in our faith journey and that the church ‘has space for everyone’” (Francesca Merlo, 2023).
In 2021, the League officially set aside a National Faith Day on the third Saturday of September,
inviting members to celebrate sisterhood and to come together in thanksgiving for the graces received through service within the League. Each parish council executive, along with its spiritual advisor, is encouraged to plan a special event that brings members and community together, and to use the parish bulletin and other social media platforms to promote the event. It could be a special prayer service, a guest speaker, giving assistance where there is a need in the community, a gathering that is welcoming and provides for socializing, etc. Parish council executives might consider partnering with other councils or other groups in their parish. They may choose to share their good news stories with a photograph and a brief write up for posting on the national website!
The months of autumn offer members other opportunities to celebrate their faith. In October, they might share in prayer with dioceses across Canada as they partner with Catholic Missions In Canada for the annual Day of Prayer for Canadian Home Missions. On a selected date, all parishes in a diocese offer intentions and pray for missions in Canada. This is not to be confused with World Mission Sunday on the second last Sunday in October, dedicated to prayer and collections for foreign missions. The “Prayer for Canadian Home Missions” is included with this communique as a prayer resource. Councils and members are encouraged to unite their hearts in prayer that day. Perhaps councils and members can multiply their prayer intentions by donating to Catholic Missions In Canada.
Members are also encouraged to become informed about the League’s affiliation with Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) and to join in praying for peace in the Holy Land and the Middle East, on September 21st which is also the International Day of Peace. Members are invited to light a lamp and share in the “Prayer for Peace in the Holy Land”, which is included with this communique.
Canada and several parts of the world have been ablaze with wildfires, many which cannot be controlled. Solidarity with those affected can be expressed by sharing in “Prayer in Time of Wildfires”, which is included with this communique.
As parish councils resume meetings in September, chairpersons of faith have the responsibility to evangelize, promote spiritual growth and encourage a variety of avenues for expression of faith in keeping with the Objects of the League.
How has your council participated in prayer for reconciliation since the visit to Canada by Pope Francis last year? A way to engage and enhance members’ expression of solidarity with the reconciliation process would be to invite members, after the territorial acknowledgement, to pray the following prayer that is used by Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle.
O Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Guadalupe intercede for us with your Son that we who live in this land, Indigenous and non-Indigenous together may experience healing and reconciliation, on a renewed journey for justice and peace for our children. Mother of the church, pray for us.
I am happy to share the news that the “Growing In Faith” webinar is taking place on Saturday, October 14th from 1:00-2:00 p.m. CST. This is the final webinar of the three-part Heart to Heart series and is free to join! Share the information and encourage members to benefit from this presentation by registering at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2320405373618310997.
Let the journey begin! I am humbled by the privilege of Walking Together for the next two years with League sisters and spiritual advisors, guided by the three pillars of synodality―communion, participation and mission. Through the intercession of Our Lady of Good Counsel, we call on the Holy Spirit that He may, “Teach us the way we must go and how we are to pursue it”, that we may truly be Catholic and Living It!
National Chairperson of Faith