2019 Diocesan Spring Interim Meeting Report

Monday, March 4, 2019
Church of the Ascension, Parksville

Diocesan theme: Solid Rock, Living Waters

This Spring’s meeting was attended by 70 members and most importantly was totally interactive. Instead of presenting reports, our President Christa Grillmair suggested we focus on our three core values: Faith, Service and Social Justice, through three interactive workshops. It gave all participants a chance to share thoughts and ideas, and provided opportunities for suggestions. Each value impacted the other by the end of the day. 

We began with morning refreshments generously supplied by our host, Ascension Council. The meeting started with a short business section that included approval of the 2019 budget prepared by Renee Johnson and presented by Laurel Phyall. Christa gave us an update on the National strategy plans and the 2019 Diocesan and Provincial Conventions. In addition, she asked for input on where the proceeds for the 50/50 draw at the Provincial Convention would go. The majority agreed they should be donated to Catholic Missions of Canada, specifically the First Nations communities in BC who need our support for clean water and other necessities.  

Gerry Hayward and Bertha Landrie presented the first workshop,Opening Doors through Social Justice. Their Powerpoint presentation took us back to 1920 when the CWL began assisting immigrant families, then moved through the decades to highlight the importance of the dignity of the human person for food, clothing, clean water, health care, and education. It was interesting to note that in 2019 very little has changed. We are still sponsoring refugee groups and assisting new families to feel welcome and supported, and we continue to send donations to needy groups in our own country and beyond. Participants then discussed several topics highlighting social justice issues.

Ending the fast-paced morning, Father Alfredo Monacelli concelebrated Mass with Father Dean Henderson. We were all encouraged to share our faith and to seek those in need of our love and generosity. Following Mass, the Kitchen Angels of Ascension, led by Tina Hanlon, prepared a delicious lunch.

Our second Workshop was Communicating our Service prepared by Sandi Digras and Francine Tournier.

An excellent overview of our Diocesan website (www.cwldov.org) was presented by Connie Dunwoody, our Webmaster and Editor. She shared how to access the website for ideas and most importantly, how to contribute to it. Connie suggested “our information on the website is only as good as the information being sent to Sandi Digras (sdigras@gmail.com) to be shared.” What is needed are dates of events, and spotlights on those who embrace and reflect our core values. It was gratifying to see the majority attending had computers, tablets, or smartphones.

The Workshop asked each group to share “how they communicate their service within their Councils, in their Community, and beyond.”

The responses showed that most use their parish bulletins and boards, email important meetings and dates, and have a designated group to contact via a phone committee. Some Councils use Facebook to communicate what they are doing and what the parish is doing. Some new ideas surfaced: St. Peter’s new Communication Chair Roselin Perozo is setting up a Twitter feed. Many access their National, Provincial, and Diocesan websites when they want targeted information. Some have developed a good relationship with local news editors and invite them or a reporter to their events. In general, all agreed to share their events and information with National Communications Chair, Doreen Gowan (info@cwl.ca), and Provincial Communications Chair Sylvia Jury (chair-comm@bcyukoncwl.ca).

Father Alfredo and Pat Darling ended the day with a workshop entitledOur Future, our Faith — Built on Solid Rock, reflecting our Diocesan theme. Father emphasized, “Our faith, like a rock, is solid and immovable, a sense of certainty and a point of reference.” When we receive bad news or troubles, we have the surety of our faith to rely on and to give us the strength and shelter. Faith equals trust. We were asked to answer: Where does my faith in God come from? Who has a strong faith in Christ? Is it reasonable to have Faith? How do I experience grace in my life? 

Father concluded “Faith needs to be reasonable, solid concrete. We must see God’s face in a friendship or encounter a living water. We all need the ability to respond to something, to be moved by God to love ourselves and our neighbors.” With a closing prayer and his blessing, we were inspired to embrace our core values of Sharing our Faith, assisting others through Social Justice, and Communicating our service so other can share and learn. 

The hymn, Come to the Water sums it up: “Let all who are thirsty come to water.”