Communique #02 – Christian Family Life

November 06, 2018

National Chairperson of Christian Family Life Pat Deppiesse, November 5, 2018


The Christian family life portfolio is huge and covers all aspects of life. I am pleased to advise that I have confirmed three sub-committee chairpersons. Nancy Simms will report on vocations, Evelyn Rigby on sanctity of life and Joan Bona on ministry to seniors and widowed. I am so honoured to have these knowledgeable women on the team and I know you will enjoy their input!

Sanctity of Life: LifeCanada is a national educational organization providing vital information on life issues. To assist you in your pro-life advocacy, consider subscribing to its informational magazine Reflections. In addition, you might want to investigate the Dying Healed program and encourage members to take the course to help feel more comfortable when visiting people in palliative care. Visit for more information.

LifeCanada’s Annual Gala and Mini Conference: John G West, PhD, vice-president of the Discovery Institute gave a detailed account of how “Darwinism has been a huge proponent of dehumanizing ideas that have led to eugenics, scientific racism, abortion and other anti-life practices of the past 150 years” at the September 29, 2018 conference held in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also presented the opposing viewpoint, that “indeed, human life is exceptional and unique in creation”. New scientific findings show that nature and the entire cosmos is fine tuned to sustain life through an incredible series of “coincidences” without which no life would exist at all. It was a thought provoking presentation.

2018 National Euthanasia Symposium: I attended the October 27, 2018 presentation facilitated by Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) Executive Director Alex Schadenberg in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Keynote speakers included Alexandra Snyder, a California lawyer who is fighting the California assisted suicide law in the courts, and Paul Saba, a Québec physician who spoke about “Why I Won’t Kill”. James Mahoney, a freelance journalist and former lawyer from Calgary, Alberta also spoke saying that the very best way to curtail euthanasia is by visiting patients who do not normally have company. He encouraged participants to find activities the patient enjoys, e.g., reading, singing, knitting, etc., and do it with them. Kevin Dunn, the producer of The Euthanasia Deception and Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death, reported there is a steep rise in the number of euthanized persons. He spoke about a high school student considering becoming a doctor, but worried about compromising her beliefs. Contact for more information or to order the videos.

Resolution 2017.04 Protection from Coercion of Conscience for Healthcare Professionals is more important now than ever. Please review it and the action plan.

Resolution 2018.03 Legislate Designation of Hospice/Palliative Care Services in Facilities to Exclude Medical Assistance in Dying calls upon provincial councils to become aware of the issue as it pertains to their province/territory and to act on it as deemed necessary/prudent. Educate members on keeping hospice and palliative care free from medical assistance in dying and continue to write to government officials requesting they legislate designation of hospice/palliative care facilities free from medical assistance in dying. Visit to view the resolution.

Ministry to Youth: National Spiritual Advisor Bishop Stephen Jensen (Prince George) was a delegate at the recent 2018 Synod of Bishops themed Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment and shared his thoughts with The B.C. Catholic about reaching youth. He spoke about “the importance of lay movements working to evangelize youth and young adults, especially on university campuses” saying “it is so important to help young people build community”. See more of his report at

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron (Los Angeles) said, “Young people are ‘hungry for mission’”, adding “They’re hungry for involvement in the life of the Church, and to be out in the field declaring the Lord.” To read more visit

How can members help to engage youth in parishes, aiding them to form community? As catechesis and apologetics are not being taught in high schools, can they be facilitated in parishes?

Ministry to Disabled: When attending the national euthanasia symposium, I was impressed with a presentation, “The Importance of Self-directed Care”, by Taylor Hyatt, a researcher for Not Dead Yet about highlighting the difficulties physically challenged people face, but stressing they do not want to die! Visit or for more information on this subject.

Vocations: Nancy Simms writes, “I recently had the honour of attending the joyous occasion of the veiling of a Carmelite nun taking her final vows. Sadly, this is an all too rare event in today’s society. I witnessed immense joy radiate from this young woman’s face as she took her vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and silence. These four characteristics that are in complete opposition to the world’s view of success and happiness brought a peace and joy to this nun which sent us all to our knees in wonder and awe. In the Gospel according to John, Jesus instructs us that we should ‘not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life’ (Jn 6:27). Sunday May 12, 2019, is the 56th annual World Day of Prayer for vocations. Visit for more details and the message of his Holiness Pope Francis for the 2018 World Day of Vocations along with a short video that could be shared in your parishes to promote and support vocations.”