Communique #8 – Education and Health

December 17, 2019

National Chairperson of Education and Health Faith Anderson, December 17, 2019


Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the nativity of Jesus at Christmas and His return at the Second Coming. May this Advent be a season of blessed waiting and preparation for you and your family. Advent comes once a year—be patient, be vigilant and be joyful for this reoccurring mystery.

Sub-Committee Chairperson Rita Janes offers insight into the teachings of Laudato Si’ which impacts members’ lives and the environment.

ENVIRONMENT – Rita Janes, Sub-Committee Chairperson

  • Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ clearly states the document is church teaching. He continued these teachings throughout many homilies and talks since its publication—most recently at the Amazon synod. What is your provincial council doing to ensure members are aware of the encyclical’s main messages and statements by His Holiness on Care for Our Common Home?
    • The need for a sense of social justice in discussions on climate change is integrated throughout Laudato Si’—“the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” are one. The wealthiest and most developed nations are most responsible for the situation, while the most vulnerable people—those living in the poorest and least developed parts of the world—are most affected, having done little to cause it. Encourage members to witness stories of deforestation in the Amazon, mining by North American companies in underdeveloped countries, use of pesticides and genetically modified grains in large scale farming, exploitation of cod fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, how the weather is affecting farmers in Western Canada and more.
    • Chapters four and six are rich resources, especially on ecological conversion and the need for ecological education. “Many things have to change course, but it is human beings above all who need to change…. A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on a long path of renewal.” What are members doing in your province?
    • Although most Canadians are aware of the need to recycle, the problem is bigger in regards to plastics. Suggest members advocate for less plastic packaging on products. Let members become leaders in this regard.
    • Educate members on what is meant by “integral ecology,” a theme included in Laudato Si’. Change—true Care for Our Common Home— cannot happen unless integral ecology is understood.
  • Better promote and engage members in the Season of Creation, recognized by all Christian denominations, supported by Pope Francis and held annually in September.
  • This year the League had water as a theme focus. Three issues to be very much aware of are:
    • The number of Indigenous communities that do not have, and have had not for years, access to clean drinking water. Immediate action is needed. This should not be happening in this wealthy country. Encourage councils to be leaders in advocating for and supporting action.
    • Water is a fundamental human right; yet, Ontario continues to sell millions of litres of water to Nestlé, a corporation that sells bottled water. Poor people, who often may need it, cannot afford it. Groundwater is finite and climate change impacts this limited resource.
    • The rise in water levels in coastal communities, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, for example, by the melting of the Arctic glaciers and thawing permafrost as a result of climate warming, affects flooding of fertile land along the coastline. Rising waters have impacted many islands throughout the world. Evacuation has happened and, interestingly enough, many are poor communities where people cannot afford to move.

Advent Season – Care for Our Common Home this Christmas. Along with the preparation and waiting, the exchange of gifts has become a traditional addition to the Christmas season. Gifts come with wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags, bows and ribbons. Each province sets its list of what is recyclable and what is not. Urge members to check with the recycling agent in their area to determine whether wrapping paper, bows, tissue paper, gift bags and ribbons can be placed in blue bins. Some alternatives to traditional wrapping materials include:

  • Wrap a gift in a dishcloth, towel, reusable bag, reusable container or blanket for larger packages, making the wrap part of the present.
  • Use brown packing paper to wrap gifts. This paper is recyclable. Children can decorate the wrap with candy canes, chocolates, drawings, etc.
  • Gifts such as tickets to a movie, game or show give recipients an experience and a memory.

Members can do their part to ensure products not good for the environment do not enter landfills. This sampling shows there are different recycling requirements across Canada. Please Care for Our Common Home this Christmas and keep the environment free from excess garbage.

A new bursary certificate (#209) is available at It has a new look and can be tailored to each parish, diocesan or provincial council’s specific needs. It offers a uniform way of acknowledging the League’s recognition of student accomplishments. Councils can request an electronic copy and hard copies can be purchased.

Faith Anderson
National Chairperson of Education and Health