Communique #04 – Christian Family Life
National Chairperson of Christian Family Life Pat Deppiesse – June 6, 2019
Greetings to all provincial chairpersons of Christian family life. To those completing your term, thank you for a job well done! Welcome and best of luck to those newly elected. I hope you enjoy this committee as much as I do. We hope to be a conduit of information as to the various ways members can be involved in life and family issues. Members cannot do everything; however, there is certainly something for everyone!
Sanctity of Life
On May 9th, I was privileged to attend the annual March for Life in Victoria, British Columbia along with many friends as we marched to the provincial legislative buildings. It was a joyous event attended by approximately 2,000 people of all ages, with dynamic and inspiring speakers.
At the mass prior to the walk, Bishop Gary Gordon (Victoria) said, “I have known many women who have chosen abortion, and … cried out to me, from their side of the confessional: ‘If someone had been with me, I would not have done this!’ It’s called love… It’s called accompaniment. We know that when we are able to accompany people as they are, who they are, and in their struggle, they will choose life” (The B.C. Catholic).
Archbishop J. Michael Miller (Vancouver) expressed, “If we want to save the innocent unborn, we must first save their mothers. We must continue to give them our understanding, our compassion and our practical assistance. In a word, we must be ready to accompany them in their suffering—for suffer they do—and gently share with them the truth about the origin, wonder, and beauty of every human life.”
Can we encourage League members across Canada to take this advice and make every attempt to save mothers—to accompany them on their journey, giving them the spiritual and practical assistance they need? I challenge you to create a plan and share it via communiqués and annual reports, encouraging members to become involved in some way. Advise members to place the pro-life brochure (#305) in vestibules, along with names and phone numbers of someone able to help guide a mother in difficulty.
While my comments are based on my experience in British Columbia, pro-lifers across Canada hosted many demonstrations. For instance, an estimated 1,500 people turned up for a similar march in Edmonton, several hundred participated in Toronto, and thousands—including several Canadian bishops—gathered at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. I’m sure wonderful, life energizing speeches were given at all events.
Though not feasible for all to attend the national March for Life in Ottawa, I suggest encouraging councils to organize a bus and attend the March for Life at your provincial capital next year. You may notice there was not much media coverage of the march; however, more people participating will attract more attention to the cause and more press.
Sub-committee chairperson Nancy Simms sent the following message, “I’m sure you will be interested to watch the clip from a side meeting at the UN Status of Women conference earlier this year.” I watched it and was most impressed. It is certainly worth the time. Pass this message along to your counterparts and view the clip at lifenews.com/2019/04/22/watch-lila-rose-slams-abortion-at-the-un-its-never-right-to-intentionally-take-a-human-life/.
Read LifeCanada’s article, “The Current Situation of MAID in Canada” at lifecanada.org to learn about the status of medical assistance in dying. The article provides examples of the dreadful realities of euthanasia in Canada to be concerned about, stating, “We know that there have been over 4000 euthanasia deaths since legalization in 2016. This is an unusually high number in relation to other jurisdictions around the world.”
The purpose of LifeCanada’s ‘Dying Healed’ program is to give volunteers confidence that being at the bedside of a lonely or dying person is an invaluable service. Workshops include important pastoral and practical aspects of what to say, how to listen, and how to be with people who suffer illness, disability and loneliness. Visit maketimeforlife.ca to download the “Make Time for Life” brochure.
Ministry to Separated and Divorced
I encourage you to spread the news contained in the spring issue of The Canadian League magazine. The “Annulment Process” article has information about how, when some marriages just cannot be saved, the church offers help. Many families affected by divorce may not be aware the church offers help to allow them to move forward and return to the graces of the church by petitioning for a declaration of nullity of the former marriage, in other words, obtaining an annulment.
To help with this initiative, please urge members to educate themselves and download the Annulments Today: Merciful and Just booklet (#311) available on cwl.ca. While compiled with the help of the Archdiocese of Vancouver’s marriage tribunal office, canon law is consistent throughout Canada. Advise councils to place the booklets in the vestibule and consider sponsoring informal presentations on the annulment process in the parish, inviting someone from the local marriage tribunal to speak. We need to be prepared to share this information with compassion and love with those who need it.
May God bless all of you as you continue your work “For God and Canada.”