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Council Presidents

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According to the CWL Executive Handbook (page PRES-9):

The president shall:

  • inform the membership of the League’s position on current issues
  • foster open communication
  • preside at all council meetings and conventions
  • be a signing officer for all official documents
  • provide active leadership
  • in consultation with the officers, initiate policy
  • keep fully informed on the operation of the League and report annually to the membership
  • be an ex officio member of all committees except the nominations and elections committee
  • be the official spokesperson for the council
  • appoint committees
  • read and be familiar with the National Manual of Policy and Procedure
  • with the executive, be responsible for reporting activities to the next level
  • perform such other duties as may be incumbent upon the office


People with a common interest or purpose come together to discuss ideas, share information, decide on a course of action, and plan projects/programs. As chairperson of the meeting, the president ensures that agenda items are covered and brings recommendations to a general meeting.

The president shall:

  • call an executive meeting prior to the general meeting
  • encourage all officers and the spiritual advisor to attend
  • prepare an agenda with the assistance of the recording secretary (see National Manual of Policy and Procedure, page 41)
  • chair the meeting
  • allow time for discussion of agenda items and prepare recommendations for the general meeting


Members are eager to learn of new programs/projects and decisions of the executive. Based on recommendations from an executive meeting, the president conveys this information to members, allowing sufficient time for discussion and further exchange of ideas.

The president shall:

  • call a general meeting of the council
  • encourage members to attend
  • prepare an agenda, with the assistance of the recording secretary, based on the business arising from the executive meeting
  • chair the general meeting
  • designate greeters
  • arrange for a social period following the meeting
  • appoint a member to be responsible for the guest speaker

The Parish Council Presidents Checklist is a valuable tool for New Presidents.

See further information in the Executive Handbook for tips on Conducting a Meeting, and Motions.

Other useful resources on the National website include:


Policy for Guest Speakers

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There have been some questions about the speakers we invite to speak at our meeting or conventions. For example, “What is the League Policy if my council considers inviting a candidate from our constituency to speak.”?


The first thing to consider is what our Constitution and Bylaws says.  It simply states:

Constitution & Bylaws, Part V: Policy

“The policy of the League shall be: 7. To remain politically non-partisan.”

This is interpreted to mean the CWL at all levels will not endorse a political party or candidate or be perceived to endorse a political party or candidate.

Councils are strongly advised to remain neutral and choose apolitical speakers. If the candidate of one party is asked to speak as that person is the best choice for a topic, so too should the candidates of the other parties be given the same opportunity.

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Presidents Memo

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2017 Parish presidents memo - Margaret Ann Jacobs, national president and chairperson of international relations:

I have no doubt that each of you has been chosen by God for your role as president. “The Lord has anointed me; he has sent me…” (Isaiah 61.1). Thank you for accepting God’s call. Please take the time to reflect on this very powerful message. You may not understand or appreciate why God has called you for this role, but He has a plan.

Paul in his letter to the Ephesians begs us “… to lead a life worthy of the calling … with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in a bond of peace” (Ephesians 4.1-3).

This is not an easy task with so many challenges facing us today. We are busy people, trying our very best to do what is right, often with impossible deadlines and unbelievable demands on our time. But St. Paul has encapsulated in a few words a commanding message, which if taken to heart, could transform our lives forever and could reframe, refocus and re-form our parish councils.

I urge you daily to “Become a Living Thank You”, just as convention keynote speaker Ken Yasinski did. Transform your lives by recognizing all the things for which you are thankful and by expressing your thanksgiving in words of gratitude daily. This type of attitude will bring St. Paul’s words to life in your life and (if you can get your executive on board) that of your parish council. Yes, we are already grateful to so many people, but how often do we take the time to tell them? Your affirmation/words of gratitude will fuel such a positive renewal of energy!

I encourage second year presidents to revisit the goals established when you began your presidency. Has the council under your direction achieved all you set out to do? If this is your first term, I urge you to establish goals as a team, choosing a focus for your parish council which could embrace all standing committees.

  • Be women of vision, using the eyes of faith to plan where you are going.
  • Be women of unity, called to live and work to strengthen your (faith) community.
  • Be women on a mission, women with a purpose whose work, dedication and faith change your parish and community.

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President Tips
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