71st Annual Provincial Convention of the BC/Yukon Council

by Christa Grillmair, President, CWL Diocesan Council

The small but vibrant Whitehorse Council hosted the 71stAnnual Provincial Convention of the BC/Yukon Council of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada (CWL) from June 20 – 24, 2018. The land of the midnight sun was an amazing venue for this Convention. The Convention was an opportunity to meet sisters from across the province (and country), to be fed spiritually, mentally, and physically, and to have fun.

June 20, 2018

Highlights of the pre-convention executive meeting and dinner included the Provincial Officers and Chairs of Committees and the Diocesan Presidents, representing the six Diocesan regions of BC and Yukon, who reported on their current activities and future plans. The instructed vote for the National Council’s election was held and the dates for upcoming meetings and conventions were established. 

June 21, 2018

At the Resolutions Dialogue, about 80 delegates reviewed the six proposed Resolutions. The Convention officially opened with the Eucharistic Celebration at Sacred Heart Cathedral with the main Celebrant and Homilist, Most Reverend Héctor Vila, Bishop of Whitehorse. Other pastors were Fr. Slawomir Szwagrzyk, rector of Sacred Heart; Fr. Andrew L'Heureux, from the Diocese of Kamloops; Fr. Alfredo Monacelli, from the Diocese of Victoria; and Fr. Jonathan Baraquel from Brazil. The Knights of Columbus hosted the reception following Mass. 

June 22, 2018

Evelyn Rigby, Provincial President, convened the more than 100 delegates for the business session, spiritual programs, and reports. Guest speakers included Margaret Ann Jacobs, CWL National President, who provided an update on the National League; and Provincial Spiritual Advisor Fr. Edwin Kulling shared the importance of having a Peace of Heart. Maria Campos-Mendez, author of Immigrants with Faith(under the penname M. Camen) reminded us that faith unites us because for God there are no strangers. She shared the example of three refugees—the Holy Family, the Three Samaritans, and Simon—and urged us to be welcoming and look beyond appearances. Former Vancouver Diocesan President Jenny Shaw presented photos and stories of her adventures of travelling the Yukon with her sister. The evening’s fun night featured the Snowshoe Shufflers, Rev. Martin Karral and his wife, Ruth, and the Yukon Ramblers. 

June 23, 2018

On Saturday, June 23, the Convention continued with a presentation called Caring Not Killing by Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director and International Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. Mr. Schadenberg also showed clips of the film Fatal Flaws, which we have purchased for the Victoria Diocesan CWL (more information to follow). He encouraged us to continue our fight for the sanctity of life from birth to natural death. Margaret Ann Jacobs conducted a short workshop on Leadership and reminded us that we are conduits of God, and as servant leaders we must be emphatic, affirm the best qualities of our team, be good listeners, and ask for and accept opinions. We must be open to let God speak to us directly, and to look for everyday miracles. A video featuring an interview with Mary Wagner called Defense of Lifeshowed her immense dedication to protect the unborn. The incoming Provincial Spiritual Advisor, Fr. David John candidly shared The Strengths and Weaknesses I bring to the CWL.  Elections were held and the new Provincial Officers were announced. The Convention concluded with Mass celebrated by Bishop Héctor Vila and the other Provincial, Diocesan, and Parish Spiritual Advisors, followed by the installation of the new Provincial team. The banquet and award presentations concluded the evening’s activities.

June 24, 2018

At the post-Convention meeting, in addition to business arising from the pre-Convention and Convention, President Gisela Montague assigned the placement of the newly elected and appointed officers and chairpersons:

Past President:                                 Evelyn Rigby
President Elect/Organization:         Sharon Geiger
1st Vice President:                            Catherine L’Heureux
2ndVice President:                           Sylvia Jurys
Treasurer:                                          Suzanne Eng
Secretary:                                          Laura Esposito
Spiritual Development:                     Catherine L’Heureux
Christian Family Life:                        Blanca Stead
Community Life:                               Susan Steiner
Communications:                              Sylvia Jurys
Education & Health:                          Kathy Weswick
Resolutions:                                       Sharon Ciebin
Legislation:                                        Sheila Doherty
Provincial Life Member Liaison:      Carol Penno

Resolutions presented and passed throughout the Convention

2018.01 – Blessed Be Jesus’ Most Holy Name

2018.02 – Promote Compassionate Community Care

2018.03 – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity 123 (SOGI 123)

2018.04 – Attestation Requirement on Federal Government Funding

2018.05 – Legislate Designation of Hospice/Palliative Care, M A I D Free

2018.06 – Recognize and Legislate Rights of Faith–based Health Care Facilities

Save the date

Plans are now underway to prepare for the 72ndAnnual Provincial Convention of the BC/Yukon to be held in Nanaimo, BC on June 12 – 15, 2019.