2013 Annual Report – Quebec[print_link]
Quebec membership has remained at approximately 1,000 members, including 13 life members, one being an honorary life member. One diocesan council disbanded leaving two diocesan councils and eight single parish councils. These 10 presidents were part of the provincial executive. One diocesan council lost a parish council with 75 years of service. It was a difficult decision taken after much discernment and prayer. This situation occurred as older members no longer felt able to take on leadership roles and younger ones were too involved with their families.
Although recruiting was a challenge, several parish councils reported welcoming new members. The most common methods of communicating were the telephone chain, e-mails, newsletters and CWL corners in parish bulletins. One council sent a welcome letter to its new members. Various membership teas and luncheons were held, including a new member ceremony. The Bellelle Guerin award and the maple leaf service pin were presented to two deserving members.
Several Catch the Fire! sessions were given, and a few were rescheduled. The team had great fun presenting them. The evaluations were very positive, and the attendees enjoyed the entire day, reporting they learned a lot about the League. It is hoped that members will become more involved.
The spiritual aspect of the League attracted many members, who served in all parish ministries and volunteered as catechists, preparing children to receive the sacraments of Eucharist and confirmation. Members participated in Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, World Day of Prayer, an ecumenical way of the cross and Armistice Day ceremonies. The Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel was celebrated on April 26th. Members were encouraged to purchase Christmas stamps from Canada Post.
In December a prayer vigil entitled “prayer for humanity” was held to express peaceful opposition to Quebec’s proposed Charter of Values (Bill 60 Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests) and to the proposed legalization of medical aid in dying (Bill 52 An Act Respecting End-of-Life Care).
One life member challenged parish councils to send donations to aid in the relief efforts in Lac Mégantic, the community devastated by a rail explosion. Members visited the elderly and the sick. They hosted masses for couples, deceased members and parents. They assisted in the organization of a week-long summer bible camp. They volunteered to watch children at a “moms and tots” gathering during the Week of the Word (which took place in their diocese in January).
Members organized several fundraisers involving the community and gave donations to organizations such as food banks, Christmas hamper delivery groups, Meals on Wheels, Operation Christmas Child and CCODP. White ribbons were handed out to increase awareness of violence against women. Pamphlets on mental health were distributed. Members volunteered with school breakfast programs, supported an orphanage in India and a theatre group for youth with disabilities, knit Teddies for Tragedies and donated to the Canadian Hero Fund that provides post-secondary scholarships to the children of fallen Canadian soldiers.
Pornography Hurts postcards were mailed upon receipt of the fall issue of The Canadian League. Promotion of education and health was an ongoing concern. Focus was given to collecting school supplies, emphasizing the importance of recycling, providing tips on improving health habits and preventing illness, raising concerns about black mould found in a local school, providing information to caregivers of the elderly and the prevention of elder abuse, and organizing a walk-a-thon to raise funds for free transportation for local cancer patients.
Interest in resolutions and legislation increased. One council held discussions on the research done on human embryos, the status of DNA manipulation and “designer babies,” and the abortion of female embryos. Concerns were raised about responsible mining. One council discussed the duties of a Quebec ombudsman and the procedure to follow when being released from a hospital to ensure not having to return with a few days of release.
The provincial council adopted a resolution, Physician-Assisted Suicide: Absolutely Not, at its annual convention. It was translated into French and sent to the provincial government; no acknowledgment was received. Letters of concern regarding a proposed oil pipeline and the sexual exploitation of women were sent to representatives of parliament.
Members established relationships with Aboriginal sisters by donating (toiletries/money) to an Aboriginal women’s shelter and giving a short presentation about the League at the invitation of the pastor of St. Francis-Xavier Mission/Shrine of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Kahnawake. Members continued to work with the pastor to find ways of becoming better acquainted with First Nations sisters.
Members gave generously to national voluntary funds. They reported their appreciation in attending the annual provincial convention held in Quebec City, where the national president was guest and presenter. Archbishop Gerald Ceprien Lacroix (Quebec) celebrated the closing mass.
It was noted that several members were unable to participate in council activities mainly due to their decreased mobility and advanced age which causes the disbanding of councils and results in many members choosing not to transfer or renew their membership with another council. They often have lost interest in the League.