Communique #8 – Christian Family Life

April 03, 2020

National Chairperson of Christian Family Life Pat Deppiesse, April 3, 2020.

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At this crucial time in history, with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, chairpersons are urged to stay home and stay safe as requested by medical experts. Wash, wash, wash your hands. One doctor recommended using Fantastik® Original Disinfectant All Purpose Cleaner for hard surfaces in homes as it is very effective.

As you are now aware, conventions at the diocesan, provincial and national levels have been cancelled for this year. To all chairpersons, especially those whose terms are nearing completion, thank you for your anticipated agreement to continue in this role for the time being. Please continue to write communiques and copy me with them so I can stay updated on what occurs across Canada. It is important to continue to reach out and communicate with one another, and with all members, especially those who may be alone. A friendly phone call or e-mail goes a long way! Keep everyone in the loop on what is happening in government and with the national and provincial executive members via online communiques. National President Anne-Marie Gorman posts frequently on the national website, cwl.ca, and there is a link to all standing committee communiques.

See the beautiful Hope, Gratitude and Solidarity: A Message to Canadians from Religious Leaders in Canada in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (CCCB) website, cccb.ca.

On vaticannews.va is the following message: “The Dicastery has also proposed a votive Mass ‘specifically to implore God to end this pandemic.’” The opening prayer reads:

“Almighty and eternal God, our refuge in every danger, to whom we turn in our distress; in faith we pray, look with compassion on the afflicted, grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying, strength to healthcare workers, wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love, so that together we may give glory to your holy name.”

Sanctity of Life
The CCCB issued its response to Bill C-7 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), which was tabled on Monday, February 24, 2020.

In the response, the bishops expressed concern with Bill C-7, which “seeks to expand the eligibility criteria for euthanasia and assisted suicide by removing the ‘reasonable foreseeability of natural death’ criterion currently in the Criminal Code and by loosening some of the existing ‘safeguards’ allowing patients whose death is ‘reasonably foreseeable’ to waive final consent to receiving euthanasia by making an advance directive.”

In voicing strong opposition to the proposed legislation, the bishops call upon “all Canadians who also oppose the new Bill to make their voices heard” and “urge members of Parliament to acknowledge the giftedness of life as an inalienable right not to be taken away by others, the importance of compassion for the ill and the dying, as well as the responsibility to protect the most vulnerable.”

Archbishop Richard Gagnon (Winnipeg), president of the CCCB, asks the League to encourage members to send individual letters to their members of parliament. This need not be a complicated affair. A convenient platform is available on the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience website, canadiansforconscience.ca. An electronic letter to one’s respective member of parliament automatically generates after the required contact information fields are filled.

March for Life
As per the recommendations of government officials and public health experts, the national March for Life indoor events in Ottawa, scheduled for May 13-15, 2020, have been cancelled. Participants planning to attend marches in their provinces should be aware these events could be restructured or cancelled entirely. Encourage members to pray and fast from home, as well as continue to keep all people affected by COVID-19 in their prayers.

You may wish to use this time to sign up for the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute (CCBI) mailings through its website, ccbi-utoronto.ca, under “Contact” or via e-mail to bioethics.usmc@toronto.ca. Dr. Moira McQueen, LLB, M.Div., Ph.D., offers timely and important information, saying, “During this period of abundant information and social distancing for the common good, CCBI will email and post messages that are meant for timely reflection and consideration. We hope they may answer your questions, alleviate worry and be of some practical use. Advice to be prepared for serious illnesses or even for death can be helpful at all times, and perhaps especially right now. As Catholics, there are spiritual and practical matters to organize, and most involve making arrangements and having discussions with other people, usually members of our family.”

Ministry to Youth
In the past, parish councils have been very generous in support of World Youth Day. I encourage councils to start planning how they can help the youth in their parishes attend the next international World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal in 2022, with the theme Mary arose and went with haste (Lk 1:39).

As this is the League’s centennial year, please watch cwl.ca for updates on this event. Things may have changed; however, members will still have this celebration at some point!

Pat Deppiesse
National Chairperson of Christian Family Life