Community Life Communique #1 — Betty Colaneri

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Community Life

September 8, 2016                                                          Communiqué #01

One Heart, One Voice, One Mission: Palliative and Hospice Care

TO:                 Provincial Chairpersons of Community Life

CC:                 National Executive (for information)

FROM:           Betty Colaneri, National Chairperson of Community Life

ENCL:            List of 2016 Provincial Community Life Chairpersons

Oral Report Presented at the 2016 Annual National Convention

Resolution 2016.01 Equal Access to Permanent Resident Status, an Amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Greetings to my Sisters!

I am thrilled to be the newly elected national chairperson and look forward to working with all the new or returning community life chairpersons. There is a plethora of information to tap into in order to inform members of the many ways they can help the marginalized and the poor of this world. Even though the League is on the verge of a new theme, the current one continues with One Heart, One Voice, One Mission: Palliative and Hospice Care.

As we begin our journey together, allow me to introduce myself. I was born in Dryden, Ontario and raised in Ignace, Thunder Bay and Niagara Falls. In 1984, my husband Nick and I were married and moved to a vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake where we raised two sons. After a welcoming visit from a member, I joined in 1986, became diocesan president in 2001 then served on the provincial executive since 2003 as newsletter editor, chairperson of communications, Christian family life, spiritual development and organization standing committees and also as a sub-committee member for the national council under Christian family life, education and health and community life. In 2005, I was given the honour of receiving life membership. My ministry in the parish is as a cantor and minister of the word, and I sit on the pastoral council. Presently I have the privilege of working on the 70th anniversary of Ontario Provincial Council and as chairperson for the 100th anniversary committee for national council. A highlight of my term as provincial president was the initiation of the Social Justice Award. On the business side of things, my family owns a winery where my role is the marketing manager and creative consultant.

As September begins, it reminds us that fall is just around the corner and meetings will be under way. The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for September is “that each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the centre”. In Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’, he underlines his dedication to the protection of creation. He took up the idea and last year established the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to be celebrated each year on September 1st, coinciding with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The World Council of Churches has already dedicated the period between September 1st and October 4th, the Feast of Saint Francis, to prayer and reflection on safeguarding creation.

During the presentation of the Pope’s first message he stated, “The first step in this process is to humbly acknowledge the harm we are doing to the earth through pollution, the scandalous destruction of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity, and the spectre of climate change which seems nearer and more dangerous with each passing year. And”, the prelate added, “to realise that when we hurt the earth, we also hurt the poor, whom God loves without limit”

At the annual national convention, Resolution 2016.01 Equal Access to Permanent Resident Status an amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was adopted. The resolution was brought forward so that foreign workers may apply for permanent resident status regardless of occupational classification. The action plan encourages members to do the following:

  1. Write letters to the prime minister, the minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship and their member of parliament urging them to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act so that foreign workers may apply for permanent resident status regardless of occupational classification.
  2. Strengthen existing or consider starting a parish based outreach program to meet the needs of foreign workers.
  3. Invite a guest speaker involved in advocacy on behalf of foreign workers to speak at a meeting.
  4. Monitor the federal government’s response to the request contained in the resolution.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace 1% Program will support two new programs this year in Sierra Leone and Afghanistan while continuing the program supporting Haiti. This decision was inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si. New brochures will be available from national office at no charge. This is a wonderful tool for members to learn about the 1% Program.

A motion was passed at the national convention to establish a permanent voluntary fund for Catholic Near East Welfare Association. Honorary Life Member Velma Harasen was the inspiration of Velma’s Dream that through the generous support of members helps fund a field hospital and a youth project.

As women we are born nurturers and we strive to help those in need. I am a firm believer of the power of one. One hand that reaches out to another. One heart that embraces with compassion. One voice to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves. One person with the desire to make a difference. One person encouraging another to do the same.

Should you have any questions, concerns or information you would like to share, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you and working with you.

May Our Lord bless us as we journey and work together for social justice and dignity for His people.

Betty Colaneri,

National Chairperson of Community Life