2008 Annual Report — Spiritual Development
2008 Annual Report of
National Chairperson of Spiritual Development
Spiritual Growth of Members
The 49th International Eucharistic Congress held in Quebec City, Quebec, was the greatest vehicle for spiritual development for members and many attended and were left with memories and momentous growth in their belief of the Eucharist.
Members also took advantage of Jubilee Year of St. Paul to study scripture, the works of St. Paul, and write workshops and prayers. Some parish councils studied the encyclical Deus Caritas Est (On Christian Love). One parish council chose a day to reflect on where they met God in the people and how it affected them. One parish council hosted a rosary pilgrimage. A pilgrimage to visit St. Anne de Beaupre and Our Lady of the Cape was taken. Members took part in the Blessing of the Boats in May.
Spiritual development was accomplished and embraced using the theme Love One Another through the use of scripture readings, hymns and days of reflection. One parish council called its workshop a Spiritual Spa and another called it A Day of Celebration. One provincial council had a sub-theme of Walk Humbly with Our God. One diocesan council presented Living the Eucharist. Members participated in communion brunches, a pilgrimage to Our Lady of La Salette, a Corpus Christi procession, the Travelling Crucifix program, and other pilgrimages using a variety of themes, “Son” Fest, Cor Jesu Chapel of Perpetual Adoration and Healing Power of Prayer. Other events honoured Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Charity with one parish council having a service to dedicate a statue of Our Blessed Virgin Mary; some parish councils placed a crown on Mary.
Almost every council preceded meetings with the Eucharist. Members had a strong devotion to the rosary and recited it during the months of May and October, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Hour, stations of the cross, and prayer groups. Most parish councils celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel and used it as the occasion to install executives or celebrate with luncheons or teas. Meetings began with the League Prayer or a scriptural or Living Rosary. Parish councils encouraged attendance at daily mass, especially during Lent.
Spiritual reflections for meetings were taken from books and periodicals such as The Sacred Heart Messenger, Joy for a Woman’s Soul, Living as a Beloved Daughter of God: A Faith-Sharing Guide for Catholic Women, Psalms for Sojourners, Pray Every Day, The School of Prayer: An Introduction to the Divine Office for all Christians, 7 Secrets of the Eucharist, Daily Word, Be Mindful of Us: Prayers to the Saints, Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Catholic Update, Mother Teresa’s Lessons of Love and Secrets of Sanctity and Catholic Digest; Web sites such as Apostleship of Prayer, Celebrating the Word and Scriptures from Scratch; newspapers such as Prairie Messenger, Western Catholic Reporter, The Catholic Times, The Carillon, The Tablet and diocesan newsletters; organizations such as the Montana Council of Catholic Women; presentations such as Nothing More Beautiful and Women of Faith; and League publications such as The Canadian League and Humble Prayer.
Guest speakers were a good source of spiritual learning. Topics included On the River of Life; Life in the Spirit?Face to Face; You did not choose me, I chose you; Henri Nouwen’s call Can You Drink from this Cup?; Our Desire for God; God’s Loving Response; and The Eucharist: God’s Gift of Love. One parish council participated in a meditation on Love One Another using the Called to be Living Stones sub-theme.
Study of Catholic Teaching
Some dioceses had an adult faith centre to foster learning. Members belonged to bible study groups and studied the Beatitudes, the pope’s reflections on the seven deadly sins and apostolic letters such as Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women on the Occasion of the Marian Year). Parish councils had a display cupboard containing books and articles for sale or use. Many members purchase Living with Christ, Living Faith and The Word Among Us.
Some members participated in Little Rock Scripture Study, liturgical renewal, Nathanael, Secular Franciscan Order, Emmaus and The Alpha Course. Other offerings included examination and understanding of the Psalter, the Eucharist, the origin of the rosary, and the feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Some members were involved in formation for pastoral service and took courses at Newman Theological College. One parish council donated prayer cards. Presentations were given on the 49th International Eucharistic Congress and church symbols and seasons.
Role of Women in the Church
It was clear that members were, ?the backbone of the church,? as one report declared. Members acted as lay presiders and mass coordinators, served at mass, and on liturgy committees and pastoral councils. They lead the Rosary, Marian devotions and way of the cross. Members provided Christmas gifts and flowers for the church.
Evangelization and Mission Assistance
Evangelization took place while members worked at soup kitchens, served at funeral lunches, took communion to shut-ins at personal care homes or hospitals, and participated during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and World Day of Prayer. Many members said grace before a meal in a restaurant. One council prepared a parish evangelization project and worked on the diocesan evangelization project.
Missions were high on the list of priorities for councils. They assisted financially and prayerfully. Missions that received aid included Catholic Missions In Canada, northern missions, Kee-Pas Mission Fund and Esk-Omi Missions. Members were wonderful fundraisers for their parishes and for the many charities and funds that the League supports which include support for seminarians and World Youth Day. Monies were raised through perogy making, bake sales, garage sales and bazaars.
Members took part in the celebration in all ministries as lectors, ushers and greeters, in the music ministry, as catechists. Bereaved families were assisted with liturgy arrangements, prayers and the rosary at wakes, and funeral receptions. Members took the opportunity to bid League sisters farewell by honouring them with prayers of commendation or special mass intentions. Members formed honour guards at church or a funeral home wearing CWL sashes. Roses were placed across the Book of Life; and one council held a candlelight mass at the cemetery.
Members took communion to shut-ins and provided pastoral care at local hospitals. Some members were Lay Carmelites, active in Cursillo and Challenge weekends, collaborated with the Knights of Columbus, Legion of Mary and the Martha Guild. One council had a member who has served as a sacristan for 25 years.
Ecumenism and Interfaith Endeavours
The World Day of Prayer, In-Gathering of the Least Coin and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity continued to be events that most parish councils took part in. Members took part in Advent and Lenten ecumenical services. Parish councils within the Military Ordinariate Provincial Council regularly celebrated with the Protestant Ladies Guild. One parish council attended the 100th anniversary of the local Anglican church. Members went on Holy Week journeys with other denominations in their area. One life member is the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops representative to Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada. One parish council maintained a membership in the Simon Weisenthal Centre (Jewish). Many members thanked Canada Post for the Nativity stamps.