President's Communiqué #3: November 7, 2018

First of all, I want to introduce our new Victoria Diocesan theme: Solid Rock, Living Waters. This theme is based on Psalm 62.1: “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.” And on John 7:37-38: “ … ”Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” As an Island Diocese, we are living on the Rock, surrounded by water! We will use this theme as a foundation for our efforts.

So many things have happened since I sent my September communiqué so I will share in the order of events:

October 1, 2018: Fall Interim Meeting

Our Lady of the Rosary, Langford, hosted the semi-annual meeting and while 31 members offered a Scriptural Rosary in the main hall, the 26 members of the executive, parish presidents, life members and provincial president met for a round-table discussion. The primary focus of the discussion was to hear about each other’s plans for the next six months, voice challenges and discuss solutions. Declining membership continues to be a challenge and some solutions offered were: personal contact and one-on-one invitations to younger women; development of a senior care program to involve people in specific ministries; write CWL announcements in different languages in culturally diverse parishes; encourage work on special projects rather than ask for a commitment to a two-year term; and the importance of mentorship to help members feel confident to take on leadership positions.

At the general meeting, we reviewed National’s Strategic Plan and the League’s new core mission statement, purpose, and values of faith, service and social justice. Gisela Montague, Provincial CWL President, presented a workshop called “Chocks Away” where she discussed the process of writing resolutions and their progress through different levels of government. Members engaged in a practical exercise of brain storming topics for future resolutions and we were all urged to continue to write letters and follow up with local politicians on existing resolutions.

Items discussed in the business section of the meeting included: review of the July planning session, recap of the 2018 provincial and national conventions and a preview of the 2019 diocesan, provincial and national conventions. The membership approved a motion to set aside $3000 from diocesan operating funds as the diocesan contribution to the 2019 provincial convention to be held in Nanaimo. Plans for the next six months include: production of participants’ bags for the 2019 diocesan convention and the showing of the film “Fatal Flaws” in various locations. Members were encouraged to send all planned parish activities to Sandi Digras so that they can be posted on the website and the Netflix series “First Contact” was promoted. 

The meeting concluded with a spiritual reflection by Father Alfredo entitled “Who is Jesus to us?” This topic is especially relevant in view of the recent tragedy of the sexual abuse scandal. He reminded us that we need a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ and that the Catholic Church must acknowledge the pain and suffering but cannot be defined by scandals.  Fr. Alfredo also invited us to a talk by a First Nations Elder at St. Joseph the Worker Church, Victoria, on November 21, 7:00 p.m. where people will be invited to give their personal testimony.

ACTION: Nancy Horsfield, our Secretary, will be sending the Minutes of the meetings to the Diocesan team. Please share National’s strategy with your council and think about how you can apply these new League guiding principles in your parish councils and develop action plans to achieve them. Check out the Fall issue of The Canadian League magazine (delivered to your home or available on the cwl.ca website). Note that the next Diocesan Interim meeting will be held at the Church of the Ascension, Parksville on Monday, March 4, 2019.

October 11, 2018: Presentation at Ascension CWL Meeting

I attended Ascension’s General Meeting to listen to their guest speaker, Gord Johns, MP for Courtenay-Alberni, who spoke on the Moose Hide Campaign, a grassroots movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys who are standing up against violence towards women and children. He also spoke about the housing crisis in Canada, the need for affordable health care, and one of the ways to help poverty: provide affordable and accessible child care.  

ACTION:For more information on the Moose Hide Campaign, go to info@moosehidecampaign.ca. To send your comments to Gord Johns, contact him at Gord.Johns@parl.gc.ca.

October 16, 2018: Day of Reflection

When our Church was being inundated with sexual abuse allegations, reported on TV, in newspapers, and on social media, we decided to address the issue head-on and make it the focus for our Day of Reflection. With the help of Kathy Fadum, President of St. Peter’s Council, Pat Darling, Diocesan Spiritual Development Chair and our Spiritual Advisor, Fr. Alfredo, we adapted the service from a Wellspring Liturgy and delivered the Liturgy of Anger and Tears at Trinity Catholic Church. It was a powerful service as participants listened, shared, sang and prayed for those who suffered sexual abuse by members of our Church. One of the activities of the service incorporated our theme as each person chose a rock as a symbol of the sadness, guilt, and shame we might hold inside and then offered it at the foot of a cross. The rocks were then taken back to the beach and covered by living waters. The program has since been modified into a prayer service and presented by Mona Goodman, the Adult Faith Coordinator at Christ the King Parish in Courtenay. The original program and the new Leader’s Guide, Participant’s Guide and Reflection will be posted on the Diocesan website cwldov.org (Spiritual/Liturgies) and available for anyone wishing to present it to their council/parish community. If you need guidance on this, please contact Pat Darling.

ACTION: Go to our Diocesan website (cwldov.org/spiritual/liturgies) and download the Liturgy of Anger and Tears prayer service and make arrangements to present it to your council/parish. 

October 18-21, 2018: BC/Yukon Provincial Mid-Term Meeting

As Diocesan President, I also participate on the provincial council and was invited to the Seton House of Prayer in Kelowna for the mid term meeting where we worked through a packed business agenda. Guest speaker, Bob Breen, Executive Director, Catholic Health Association of BC shared his organization’s mission: advancing the healing ministry of Jesus through advocacy, education and partnerships. He praised Victoria’s outreach program developed by Moira King as an excellent model. Nancy Simms, former National Chair of Legislation, reviewed National’s new strategy. We discussed making Mary Wagner’s video (shown at the convention in Whitehorse) more accessible and are investigating various options. The location in the hills above Okanagan Lake offered me a serene location to share spiritual, business and social activities with the members of the provincial team and the presidents of the other five provincial dioceses. 

ACTION: Keep an eye on the bcyukoncwl.com website for provincial communiqués and the Fall edition of the Communicator.

Writing Letters and Petitions

To support Resolution 2018.03 Legislate Designation of Hospice/Palliative Care Services in Facilities to Exclude Medical Assistance in Dying, I sent letters to Jody Wilson-Raybould, Sheila Malcolmson and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (and received a response from his office to contact the Minister of Health, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, which I did). I also added my name to Mary Wagner’s nomination for the Andriej Sakharov Prize, a symbolic and prestigious prize awarded by the European Parliament annually to those who devote their lives to a peaceful fight for human rights. And I signed the petition for One Million on behalf of unborn children.

ACTION: Continue to write letters to support our Resolutions and stand up for social justice. Together, we CAN make a difference. 

Annual Reports – due December 15, 2018

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. All Presidents will have received their package from National with the Memo from Ingrid Taylor, National Office Assistant, with the instructions on how to access the online reports that came available on November 1st. You will need your Council code when accessing the survey at www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=. As per the instructions in the Memo, after the = sign you will add the appropriate number for your position in order to access your specific position’s report. If someone does not have access to a computer, maybe someone can help her? Another option (as detailed in the memo) is to contact Ingrid Taylor at the National office at info@cwl.ca or at 1-888-656-4040 and request a printable copy of the survey. 

ACTION: Please ensure that all reports are completed by the December 15, 2018 deadline. If a Standing Committee position is not represented in your council, please assign someone to complete the report for that committee since it is likely that you are doing relevant activities that should be recorded. Let’s aim for a 100% response rate for Victoria Diocese! If you need assistance in completing the reports, please contact Ingrid Taylor at National or our Diocesan President Elect/Organization Chair Laurel Phyall.

Questions?

If you have any questions or need help on anything, please contact me.

Save the Dates

March 5, 2019           Spring Interim Meeting                    Church of the Ascension, Parksville

May 1-3, 2019            Diocesan Convention                       St. Patrick’s, Campbell River

June 12-15, 2019       Provincial Convention                      Coast Bastion, Nanaimo

August 18-21, 2019   National Convention                         Calgary, Alberta