2010 Annual Report – Education and Health
Education and Health Standing Committee
Pearl Bridgwater, Chairperson
2010 Annual Report
Life Member Mary Carlin – Catholic schools and catechesis
Life Member Jacqueline Waye – Literacy and continuing education
Life Member Barbara Jarvis – Wellness and sickness/disease
Julie Le Lievre – Environment
Catholic Education: Catholic Schools and Catechesis
Members across Canada served on school committees, school councils and as school board executive members. One province reported having 13 members who served as trustees on school boards and 35 members on school committees.
Gifts and financial assistance were provided to academic and religious programs in schools and parishes. One council held a Marian essay contest, displayed students’ essays in the church and published names of winners in the parish bulletin. One council organized a retreat for 41 young people on the Theology of the Body. One council sponsored a public speaking contest through a local school.
One council hosted a speaker from Friends and Advocates of Catholic Education. One provincial council met with members of parliament to develop relationships and raise awareness of the importance of Catholic education. Delegates met with bishops to share concerns regarding Catholic education and shared the information gained with their council members. Members of one province protested the disbanding of Catholic and other faith-based education of their children in favour of a more secular one. They wrote letters to the minister of education and sent postcards to the premier to assert their right to Catholic schools.
Catholic Education: Rites of Christian Initiation
Members actively participated in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children as team leaders, animators, sponsors and participants. Some councils held reception parties for candidates; others provided financial support. Some gave gifts to the children and League memberships to women candidates who successfully completed the RCIA program. All councils offered up prayers for the candidates.
Literacy and Continuing Education
Members supported literacy programs both financially and by volunteering their services as tutors for challenged students, young and adult, and taught English as an additional language classes for immigrant families. Money was donated to support libraries and literacy programs in schools. One council informed its members of continuing education courses available in their area.
Scholarships and Bursaries
Councils continued to provide bursaries and scholarships at all levels of education. Scholarships and bursaries ranged from $100.00 to $10,000. Councils also supported the National Bursary Fund.
St. Paul the Apostle Parish Council, Burlington, Ontario $100.00
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Council, Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador $50.00
St. Columba Parish Council, East Point, Prince Edward Island $25.00
Bernice Browne, St. Anselm Parish Council, Toronto Ontario $4.00
Wellness and Sickness/Disease
Members addressed many health issues through donations and educational initiatives. They were kept informed by speakers, which included members who are health care professionals. They supported and promoted the following organizations – MaterCare International, Catholic Health Alliance of Canada, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Canadian Diabetes Association, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Canadian Cancer Society, The Terry Fox Foundation, Heart and Stroke Foundation, malaria prevention programs, palliative care and hospice programs, Alzheimer Society of Canada, The Arthritis Society and Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.
Community events such as blood drives and breast cancer screening were promoted. Members of one council were encouraged to prepare questions for their doctor and take these along to appointments. Letters were written in regards to right to access costly medications required for chronic illnesses.
A council hosted a health and wellness day to which other councils were invited. The day opened with a prayer by the spiritual advisor followed by presentations on topics of loss and grief, mental health and drug interactions. Participants had their blood pressure and blood sugars measured at the event.
One council made a quilt with the breast cancer logo, sold tickets and donated the proceeds of $2,115 to a “Tree of Hope” campaign. Another council raised $5,000 for successful emergency open-heart surgery for a baby, and the mother is now a member. One council reported collecting pop-can tabs, which in turn purchased 17 wheelchairs. A prayer line was set up by one council for community members to call for help or just to talk. The membership was educated through guest speakers and presentations on postpartum depression awareness.
Members monitored improvements and wrote letters to members of parliament and the ministers of health and agriculture and agri-food regarding accurate food labelling.
The Military Ordinariate Provincial Council discussed the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities with the theme Keeping the promise: Mainstreaming disability in the Millennium Development Goals towards 2015 and beyond.
Members continued to promote care of the environment by encouraging others to shop locally, use reusable shopping bags, bring a mug along to meetings, use biodegradable products, compost and utilize the “Four R’s” of recycle, repair, reuse and reduce. One council brought recyclable bottles and cans to meetings and the money collected was donated to a local chapter of Birthright International. In addition members promoted the use of tap water instead of bottled. Awareness campaigns were conducted on the need to protect water, which is a right, not a privilege, for all people on the planet.
Councils promoted scent-free environments at meetings and used environmentally friendly cleaning products. Members of one provincial council assisted with highway, city and parks clean-ups. Members supported Earth Hour on April 22 nd . On Earth Day, one council handed out a brochure listing the top 10 actions to help the environment.
In order to limit the use of paper, the Military Ordinariate Provincial Council put its newsletter on CD and posted it on the Web site. Councils encouraged members to carpool to meetings and functions. Many councils recycled clothing by donating to local or parish thrift stores.
Members monitored and studied the advantages and disadvantages of scientific developments as they related to the teachings of the Catholic church.
Members reviewed information on genetic testing of babies in the womb, stem cell research and genetically modified seed and crops. Letters have been written to government regarding concerns in these areas. Members were encouraged to review the Catholic Organization for Life and Family Web site and brochures. Some council members viewed the video Cutting through the Spin on Stem Cells and Cloning.