October message from National President, Margaret Ann Jacobs
Fall has crept in … and in my part of the country almost unnoticed because of the unseasonably hot temperatures we have experienced lately. But now as the temperature has dropped, the beauty of summer flower beds has been replaced with gorgeous fall mums, amazing displays of coloured leaves, shorter days and whispers of frost to come.
My concern about whether the National Council of Catholic Women’s annual convention (September 6-10) in Dallas would need to be cancelled because of Hurricane Harvey were dismissed and Anne Gorman and I were warmly greeted by our American counterpart of Catholic women. The Hilton Anatole hosted this gathering of 588. Presentations by their commissions for spirituality, leadership and service gave updates of programs and promotional materials available. President Sheila Hopkins provided an overview of the national initiatives while Maribeth Stewart, President – elect for the World Union of Catholic Women gave a very informative report on international relations and Theresa Boscia provided an update of activities from the United Nations. Eucharistic celebrations were inspiring with all prayer underpinning the need for outreach to so many communities suffering from hurricanes, flooding and fires. Speakers of note included Mary Rice Hason (“How to be a Joyful Catholic Woman”), Stacy Thomlinson (“She Who Has Jesus Lacks for Nothing”) and Dale Recinella (“Can the Joy of the Gospel Penetrate the Darkness of Our Post-Christian World”). “Same Kind of Different As Me”, a full length movie based on Ron Hall’s book was pre-screened with a Q/A by the author following. Sister’s Christmas Catechism, a delightful spoof on the antics of a teaching sister, delighted the evening guests.
The Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops’ (CCCB) Plenary, always a highlight of our League activities led me to Cornwall September 25-26. Progress or annual reports, information sessions or greetings were offered by various ad hoc committees, commissions, coalitions and guests. Significant presentations were offered by His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops on Amoris Laetitia and Human Trafficking by Sister Helan Petrinoulx with other panelists. Papal Nuncio Rev. Luigi Bonazzi was most affirming of the work of the CCCB.
The ecumenical evening service commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation co-presided by Archbishop Richard Gagnon and The Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada was a moving testimony of the collaboration in this Canada Dialogue.
Observers at the Plenary were invited on Tuesday afternoon to travel to Ottawa for a Solemn Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral celebrating the Feast of Saints Jean de Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests and Companions, Martyrs followed by the Consecration of Canada to the Blessed Virgin Mary on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Confederation and highlighting the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace – Caritas Canada. It was a spectacular gathering of over 1000 people in this most holy place with hierarchy from across Canada, ecumenical guests and observers united in solemn prayer. Please check out Salt and Light coverage of this momentous event.
Presentations are currently underway where members of our Planning Strategically team are meeting at provincial executives in an effort to share information and gather input for this most illustrious undertaking. Please keep informed through The Canadian League magazine as well as parish mailings, now on the way.
I always try to look ahead to recognize events on the horizon. For the League we are currently setting up government meetings, planning for our fall executive meeting in Winnipeg with a side trip to Fort Alexander being arranged by Catholic Missions In Canada and of course there is on-going collaboration on planning strategically. October is also the month to focus on clergy awareness, computer learning, domestic violence and of course a special time to renew our dedication to the rosary. Special days commemorate St. Francis of Assisi (Oct. 4), World Teachers (Oct. 5), Fire Prevention and Thanksgiving (Oct. 9), St. John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues, Companions (Oct. 19) and Untied Nations (Oct. 24). While many will celebrate Halloween (Oct. 31), let us remember that originally Christians would come together on All Hallows Eve to ask for God’s blessing and protection from the evil in the world. Should this not be our focus as we experience such trying times in our world?
Regardless of whether you mark these days or not, do not overlook the opportunity you have to offer gratitude and thanksgiving daily for all the ways you are blessed.
“The best way to show your gratitude to God and to people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love.”
(Thirsting for God Daily Meditations Mother Teresa edited by Angelo D. Scolozzi. M.C. III.O)
May your heart be filled with gratitude, joy and love this blessed thanksgiving season.