2014 Annual Report – Ontario
Ontario Provincial Council President
2014 Annual Report
During the fall meeting, the provincial executive adopted Women of Faith – Women of Action as a catch phrase to describe members. Ontario Provincial Council continued its response to the call of Pope Francis’ pontificate of working for social justice. This most powerful theme was put forth in action with projects in each diocesan council as well as the provincial council through the standing committee chairpersons.
New projects were introduced or existing projects increased, and included efforts to eliminate poverty and human trafficking, and prevent euthanasia. There was also assistance provided to hospice/palliative care and women’s shelters. Members were encouraged to support Bell’s “Let’s Talk” day to raise awareness of mental illness and prevent discrimination as per an action plan from a 2013 provincial resolution. The response was met with such enthusiasm that some diocesan councils decided to continue their projects after the term had ended.
The Pornography Hurts campaign continued with postcards being sent to federally and provincially elected politicians across the province. Roadside signs and signs on city buses were sponsored.
In communities, members preached the gospel by participating in the work of organizations that care for those in need. Members worked for social and economic justice by providing humanitarian aid to refugees. They supported the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace through the 1% Program and Share Lent, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Catholic Missions In Canada, Canadian Food for Children and Good Shepherd Centres. They assisted immigrant workers and newcomers, and continued to reach out to aboriginal peoples and people in the global south and developing countries. One council formed a partnership with the Matachewan First Nation in response to the provincial resolution Feathers of Hope – Empowering First Nations Youth.
Members experienced days of development with guest speakers to learn practical skills, grow in faith, foster League friendships, and share stories, ideas and ways to promote the League. They acquired new confidence to take executive positions and leadership roles. Presentations were given on leadership, public speaking, running effective meetings, safely surfing the Internet and how to prepare a parish manual of policy and procedure. Members were encouraged to enrich their faith with resources such as Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), retreats, workshops, pilgrimages, bible studies, days of spirituality, daily meditations, prayer networks, days of prayer, evenings of reflection, spring conferences, daily recitation of the rosary and attendance at daily mass.
The Bishop Bernard Pappin Bursary fund received regular donations from members to support seminarians. Members sponsored masses, World Day of Prayer, vocation masses, gatherings for first communion, reconciliation, confirmation, marriage preparation, Life Chain, pro-life dinners, March for Life, rites of election, ecumenical prayer services and Catholic Girl’s Leagues. They promoted programming by Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation.
Members answered the call as women within their family, church and community by serving as lectors, choir members and ministers of the word and communion. They served in the prayer shawl ministry and at food banks, soup kitchens, Out of the Cold programs, crisis centres and women’s shelters. They assisted survivors of human trafficking, made Christmas baskets, visited the sick and elderly, and participated in memorial masses for deceased members. Donations were made to charities, health associations, seniors’ homes, missions and youth programs. Members hosted birthday parties at seniors’ homes, baby showers and baby bottle drives for mothers in need and a Re-Membering Tea and Social for past presidents.
Members put their faith into action by offering youth programs such as The Rosary Apostolate in schools, adopting and/or volunteering in schools, and providing awards, scholarships and bursaries to graduating high school students. A new brochure was created to promote Catholic education. It was distributed to Catholic school boards in the province and received wonderful responses of appreciation.
Catch the Fire! workshops were still being held, and some regions expanded into S’Mores. Revisions were made to the provincial manual of policy and procedure, guidelines and convention guidelines.
Meetings were held with the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario and reports were sent biennially. The ON-Line Newsletter as well as the Facebook page continued to increase in popularity reaching younger members, new members and keeping in touch with existing members.
Goals were set for increasing and maintaining membership by all diocesan executives. Members were honoured for their service with awards, certificates, years of service pins, maple leaf service pins, life membership and the Bellelle Guerin Award.
A social justice award was initiated and would be presented annually at the provincial convention. The award will be given to a member who shows exemplary service to the promotion of social justice in their community or beyond.
God’s love and Our Lady of Good Counsel guided members as they continued to work for social justice and dignity for all.