2010 Annual Report — Spiritual Development
Spiritual Development Standing Committee
Margaret Ann Jacobs, Chairperson
2010 Annual Report
This report reflects the activities of parish councils as outlined in the reports of 11 provincial chairpersons of spiritual development. They relate an impressive range of activities, in which spiritual development programs fostered and advanced the spiritual growth of members.
Spiritual Growth of Members
Councils celebrated the theme Women of Peace and Hope using programs, songs, scripture readings, projects, retreats, correspondence and letterhead, posters and the use of Prayers and Workshops for Women of Peace and Hope.
Spiritual programs included mass, rosary, shared and Taize prayer, stations of the cross, Mary’s way of the cross, adoration and holy hour, Lenten and Advent celebrations, prayer chains and partners, the use of prayer calendars and a prayer intention box. The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy was prayed to recognize the Year for Priests.
Various Marian events were held celebrating the feasts of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes and the Annunciation. Weekly devotions to Mary were held along with other programs focussing on Mary – living rosaries, walks for Mary, rosary Sundays (Martyrs’ Shrine), following Mary through the bible and Mary as the light of disciples. The Hymn to Our Lady of Good Counsel was integrated into meetings.
Retreats were hosted for members and embraced a variety of topics such as journeying toward humanness, purity in relationships and days of reflection. Silent, twilight, pastoral and Advent retreats were popular.
Special events were held – blessing of the boats in May, monthly celebration of mass promoting devotion to St. Peregrine, praying with Elizabeth and Mary, pilgrimages to Fatima and St. Anne de Beaupré, All Souls’ Day remembrance, mass of thanksgiving for the canonization of Brother André, sacred stories, prayers for those in the military and their families, distribution and collection of Lenten lapel crosses and to recognize CWL days of celebration.
Study of Catholic Teachings
Members studied papal encyclicals and the writings of St. Teresa; they attended presentations on changes to the Roman Missal and the Western Liturgy Conference. One council kept members up-to-date on Vatican news. A variety of resources were accessed including stories on redemption, compassion and Eucharistic miracles, The Word Among Us , Walking the Sacred Path , Weekly Prayer Services for Parish Meetings , Living as a Beloved Daughter of God , The Beatitudes , Kitchen Sink Prayer Book , Liturgy of the Hours, The Sacred Heart Messenger , Living With Christ and the “One in the Spirit” program.
Educational programs included Alpha and its follow-up course Catholicism 201, Life in the Spirit, Little Rock Scripture Study, the Nathaniel program, the Just Faith program, a study of lives of female saints, adult faith formation classes and bible study using the Lumko method. Many studied theology courses and obtained religious diplomas in ministry.
Role of Women in the Church
Members participated as spiritual advisors and as members of pastoral, administration and finance committees in the parish. Some councils attended a three day pastoral retreat as well as workshops and meetings of Femme dans L’Eglise (Women in the Church).
Evangelization and Mission Assistance
Through prayer and finances, assistance was provided to Esk-Omi Missions and other northern missions, Madonna House Apostolate, Catholic Missions In Canada and Scarboro Missions.
Programs were hosted to welcome lapsed Catholics back to church. Religious stamps were used in support of Resolution 2005.01 Christmas Postage Stamps.
Members offered phenomenal service by organizing, leading and/or assisting in all aspects of lay ministry – choir, lectors, hospitality, ushers, lay presiders, adult servers, sacristans, Eucharistic ministers, sacramental preparation, acolyte formation, liturgy committees, gift bearers and children’s liturgy. They belonged to the Legion of Mary.
Outreach was provided through honour guards and ceremonies for deceased members (in November and at conventions) and reaching out to bereaved families. Members shared their time by decorating the church and assisting with marriage rehearsals. They coordinated and conducted home catechesis. Bishops and priests thanked members of the laity for sharing their gifts and talents in various ministries and committees of the parishes.
Ecumenism and Interfaith Endeavours
Members promoted and actively participated in World Day of Prayer and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Other joint services included seasonal workshops, festivals of carols, services at seniors’ lodges, Fellowship of the Least Coin, Christian Women’s Club, prayer services for troops, Keep Christ in Christmas celebrations, “Neighbours in Prayer”, ecumenical services of remembrance for all community deceased, the Lift Jesus Higher Rally, Shield-A-Badge with Prayer Program (for police officers), an ecumenical way of the cross and a Good Friday walk of witness.
Ecumenical luncheons and services were conducted during Lent and Advent, as well as bible studies and retreats. Church facilities were shared with a United Church community that lost its church building in a fire.