by Sandi Digras, Communication Chair, Diocesan CWL
National theme – Caring for our Common Home
Provincial theme – Witnessing to the Truth
Diocesan theme – Solid Rock-Living Waters
Core values – Faith, Service and Social Justice
At the opening Eucharistic Celebration, we were reminded by Deacon John that the rock the builder rejected became the cornerstone and we were blessed with the living waters at our Baptism. Our three themes and the League’s core values provided the focus for the two days of our convention.
On Day One, over seventy members listened to Sharon Cieben, Provincial Chair of Resolutions, on the dangers of human trafficking. Sharon has dedicated herself to this topic for many years and has become an expert on the twin problems of pornography and human trafficking and how pernicious these addictions are in today’s society. She represented the League at the Federal Government’s Justice and Human Trafficking Committee hearings in Vancouver in 2018. She reminded us that BC Resolution 2012.01: Criminalization of the Purchasing of Sexual Services refers to the Nordic Model, which puts the blame on the purchaser rather than those being trafficked. We were all asked to keep the postcard and letter writing campaign going and to set aside a time each year to educate parishioners and members of our family and community. She gave us information on websites like Fight the New Drug www.fightthenewdrug.orgas well as the Vancouver Archdiocese website www.rcav.org.
In the afternoon we were introduced to the Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs program that serves military veterans. Brian Cooper and his dog Trooper gave a moving account of what it means to live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how important a compassion dog is to help cope with the illness. It costs on average $30,000 to $40,000 to train a dog for service and the program is not government-funded. We were introduced to owners and their compassion dogs and can now better understand how this worthwhile service helps many military personal to cope with their lives.
Our banquet was a royal-themed dinner with many participants wearing crowns, fascinators and original headgear. Maureen Ingram won the prize for creating a very original head covering designed with her CWL scarf. Many ladies enjoyed the entertainment and dancing with Father Jan, St. Patrick’s high-stepping pastor.
Our national theme, Caring for our Common Homewas the focus of Day Two. Bishop Gary Gordon provided an excellent synopsis of Pope Francis’s encyclical letter Laudato Si, which he described as “very long and complicated”. Fortunately, he provided us with an excellent summary that formed the basis of his inspired talk. He asked the CWL, with our strong lobbying voice, to draft a Resolution to keep companies and our government from commercializing our water for profit. He felt this was necessary to being good stewards of our common home. He reminded us that we have to be responsible for our planet and not abuse it.
The afternoon session was a workshop conducted by Bishop Gary on the environment when each group was asked to illustrate how they can reduce, recycle and reuse. The ideas were many and we will share them in future articles. Being a devoted fisherman, the Bishop said that if steelhead salmon are having a problem spawning, it is a barometer of pollution in the waters.
Our President, Christa Grillmair, asked each president and executive to give a two-minute presentation on how the national, provincial and diocesan themes can be made into action in our parishes and communities. We will post highlights of these reports and ideas on our website cwldov.org.
Following the Eucharistic celebration by Bishop Gary and Father Alfredo Monacelli, the diocesan executive was re-affirmed for another year.
Many thanks go out to our host council, St. Patrick’s, their president Edna Lorenzen and president-elect, Linda Kubinec and their wonderful team who made our time together an extraordinary experience.