Education and Health Communique #3

National First Vice-President and Chairperson of Education and Health Fran Lucas, March 17, 2017.

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This communique is a collaboration of the three sub-committee chairpersons and me.

Catholic Education
As sub-committee chairperson of education, I’m taking the opportunity to clarify and make some suggestions. Parish or diocesan level chairpersons might focus on educating their members on the health aspect, especially since members are constantly dealing with controversial issues. It is commendable how much work is presently done by members at all levels asking for reviews and reversals of political decisions that are simply wrong, morally and ethically. I can only emphasize the importance of continued education of all members on the status of health related issues incompatible with Catholic morals and beliefs. Members need to be encouraged to educate themselves and support the League in their endeavour to set things right.

However, education in the title of this standing committee refers to Catholic education including Catholic schools and catechesis, and Rites of Christian Initiation (RCIA). It then continues with five additional areas for this standing committee. The chairperson could not possibly research all listed subjects and report back to the membership. As the chairperson, part of the job is to invite members to serve on the committee with each member adopting a subject, researching it and reporting back to the chairperson who then uses it as appropriate–in a report, communique or newsletter article.

Chairpersons are encouraged to find a member in her council who has an interest in Catholic education. She could call the local religious education department inquiring what curriculum is used in the Catholic schools.

Another member might already be involved with or interested in RCIA. Through a simple contact with the diocese to speak with the person in charge of RCIA, she might be surprised by the wealth of information available. She could meet with that person or ask him/her to have the information sent to by e-mail. Personal contact is always better as that person could be valuable resource as a speaker at a council meeting. Most dioceses have an office compatible with what chairpersons do. If she chooses to make contact by e-mail, she should be clear about what information she needs.

Perhaps councils can encourage two members to work on one subject together–it is always more fun and members will more readily say yes to this sort of arrangement. If chairpersons at any level need help, they need only ask.

Environment
The Catholic Register, November 30, 2016, reports that the Green Churches Network Director Norman Levesque met with Apostolic Nuncio to Canada Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi to encourage parishes to be more conscious of their impact on the earth. The network also met with Environment and Climate Change Canada about a possible partnership to create more resources that churches can use to make them “greener”. The network is hopeful that this movement will spread across the country. The full article can be found at catholicregister.org/item/23725-green-churches-look-to-papal-nuncio-for-support.

Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2014, Pope Francis explained that, “When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining God as a magus, with a magic wand able to make everything. But it is not so……The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it. The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of Creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve”.

Two books are available for members interested in evolution. The first is Do Monkeys Go to Heaven? Finding God in All Creation by Fr. John McCarthy, S.J. The author, a scientist and Jesuit priest, “takes us on a journey,…. showing us the need for us to be both scientific and spiritual.” The book is available at novalis.ca. Ilia Delio, O.S.F., in Christ in Evolution, shares some of her best thoughts in evolutionary thinking. This book is available from amazon.ca.

Health
Sharing with others is a gift that members can pass on with great results. The following is an example. The Calgary Catholic Medical Association currently offers a speaker series at the Catholic Pastoral Centre. The first speaker was a local palliative care doctor who spoke about her work. The following month, Dr. Moira McQueen, from the Catholic Bioethical Institute in Toronto, was skyped in. Dr. William Sullivan, also from Toronto, a family medicine physician and founding director of the International Association of Catholic Bioethicists, will be skyped in March. For May, Marjorie Littleleaf, an elder of the Tsuu T’ina Nation and former first nations health community liaison and health educator, has been invited to engage in a discussion on considerations when providing healthcare to first nations Canadians. Suggest diocesan or parish councils explore what similar series would work for them and make it happen with the help of other members who have a passion for the subjects.

“Your deeds may be the only sermon some people hear today” (St. Francis of Assisi).

Fran Lucas