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Positively Pro-Life Fall 2019 Newsletter

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Office News and 2019 in Review by Monica Catalano, Administrative Assistant

This year has gone by very quickly. We attended the Teacher’s Convention in February, where we explained our Respect for Life programs to hundreds of teachers who stopped by our booth.

In March we had a table at the Theology of the Body conference held at St. Michael’s Church. It was well attended.

Our Annual General Meeting was also in March. You can see the keynote, “A Pro-life Witness and Challenge,” at

The 39th Annual Hike for Life was held on May 11 and enjoyed by all. We have continued to use the new route on the island and adjacent pathways. We will ensure that the start of the route will be much more visible next year for our 40th!

It was nice to see more groups present, so we look forward to seeing you again in 2020. We also had many families attend; it was nice to see even the young participate. The Hike allows for friendly competition between participants.
Proceeds financially support the educational resource consultant and the free programs Calgary Pro-Life offers to students in schools. Thank you to Lois Goodfellow for joining us. She was our executive director for many years and she was the initiator of the Hike for
Life fundraiser. Winners of the annual contests have been notified and are noted on page 3 of this newsletter. Prizes and trophies will be presented soon.

A special thanks to our volunteer drivers and those in the parishes who participated to help us with the beautiful Mother’s Day Rose Sale fundraiser.

Over the summer we had a booth at the CWL National Convention, Monique represented us to more than 850 women from across Canada!

In October we were invited to have a display table at the Pass-It-On Clothing Give-Away where we served a prolife witness that touched many of the guests. Also, in October, we had a table at OneRock. We were visited by the participants ages 18-35. And on November 8-9 we will be at the National Pro-Life Convention in Calgary.

We thank all those who supported us in 2019. We truly appreciate it.

Download the full newsletter.


Parish Christian Family Life memo Fall 2019

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DATE: September 30, 2019
FROM: Pat Deppiesse, national chairperson of Christian family life
TO: Parish chairpersons of Christian family life
CC: Parish presidents, provincial presidents, diocesan presidents, life members (upon request)
ENCL: Annulments Today, Merciful and Just booklet

Congratulations and welcome to new chairpersons of Christian family life. Thank you for saying, “Yes!” A lot of helpful information exists in the Executive Handbook, the pro-life brochure and communiqués from national, provincial and diocesan council executives. Do not be overwhelmed!

Embrace what can be handled at the parish level and try to inform members of what is happening around the country. Introduce members to something new and important to you. I thank those moving on from this position after serving two (or maybe more) wonderful years! I know you have grown in knowledge and wisdom. Please share all the material you have gathered with the new chairpersons.

The annual report, a compilation of work performed by members throughout Canada, is on the national website under “To Inform.” I want to share some good ideas from annual reporting based on the Christian family life portfolio and hope to give new ideas for the upcoming year.

It is an exciting time in the League as we look forward to the results of the strategic planning initiative. You may hear more about the results thus far through presentations made in the diocesan councils. Please be assured all the good work accomplished in parish councils will continue. It is the structure that will change, with the headings of faith, service and social justice. Remember, this is a five-year initiative—so please be patient!

Marriage and Family
Diocesan websites have lists of Catholic counsellors to support clients who want to adhere to the church’s teachings on life, marriage and family. Watch local Catholic newspapers for upcoming marriage and family workshops. Especially try to attend a presentation on “Theology of the Body.”

Sanctity of Life
Abortion is available in Canada until the time of birth. Following what I thought was a very successful presentation to the provincial government, one member of the legislative assembly stood and asked why were we not talking about abortion! Only resolutions adopted that year were presented. The delegation’s answer was, “Of course we would be pleased to discuss abortion, as members believe in life from conception to natural death!”

At the 99th annual national convention in August in Calgary, the national council adopted Resolution 2019.01 Canada to Honour its Commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. I urge every parish council to read the resolution and support the action plan.

While not feasible for most of us to attend the March for Life in Ottawa this May, I suggest all councils organize a bus and attend the March for Life in a provincial capital. The more people participating, the more attention brought to life issues and thus more media coverage.

Members are encouraged to obtain LifeCanada’s Dying Healed program brochure, Make Time for Life. Its purpose 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.

Ministry to Youth
A few parish councils reported having a Catholic Girl’s League. This is a wonderful way to work with youth in the parish. I encourage investigating and participating in this initiative—these girls are future League members! Because these are parish-based group, this initiative requires the pastor’s approval, diocesan insurance coverage and Royal Canadian Mounted Police security checks for all involved.

May I suggest councils get involved with shelters for high-risk youth?

Ministry to Disabled/Seniors/Widowed
Is your parish user-friendly for those with wheelchairs? Members are encouraged to volunteer at local nursing homes in the activity department, to invite seniors to League events and to drive seniors to appointments and shopping excursions. Consider sponsoring a grief and bereavement workshop.

Ministry to Separated and Divorced
In the spring issue of The Canadian League, a Christian family life article had information about how, when some marriages just cannot be saved, the church offers help through the annulment process. To assist with this initiative, included in this mailing is the Annulments Today, Merciful and Just booklet. Canon Law is consistent throughout Canada. I recommend parish councils order copies through the national website and make them available in the parish vestibule. Request the pastor host an informal presentation on the annulment process, inviting someone from the local marriage tribunal to speak.

Does your child or grandchild have an interest in exploring what religious life is about? Why not ask them?
Members are encouraged to discuss vocations with their children and invite priests and religious into their

Please make every effort to complete the annual survey. Share all your good works—this is so important!
I look forward to reading the results! Remember to “print” before you “submit”!

May God bless you as you continue your work “For God and Canada.”
Blessings to all.

Download pdf copy




Parish Christian Family Life memo Fall 2018

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Dear parish council Christian family life chairpersons,

Fondest greetings as I embark on a new journey in The Catholic Women’s League of Canada at the national level! Unable to attend the national convention due to a planned trip to Spain, I returned to find a lovely email greeting from National President Anne-Marie Gorman informing me of my election as standing committee chairperson, and the gift of Christian family life standing committee chairperson. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed, pleased and terrified! To be at the national table is an awesome responsibility and one with which I will certainly need the help of the Holy Spirit!

Some of you are new to this position, and many are in their second or even more years in some cases! I look forward to working with you. I encourage you to read the Executive Handbook available on the national website Communiqués from past national and provincial standing committee chairpersons may “speak to you”, revealing something that you would like to make a personal goal for your term. I sent an email to the Catholic Organization for Life and Family requesting a package of their wonderful pamphlets. This is another great resource that may be ordered for a donation or downloaded online at Consider having sub-committee chairpersons. This will not only train members, but may bring forward some new enthusiasm, good ideas and help! Don’t try to “do it all” on your own. Remember Saint Mother Teresa said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”

I have reviewed the 19-page tabulated 2017 annual reports and am struck by how much amazing and absolutely wonderful work in each of the initiatives under this committee is being done in parish councils across the country. You are to be applauded and thanked for the generosity of time and financial aid to help the many issues raised under the Christian family life (CFL) standing committee. Unfortunately, of the 1,200 parish councils across the country, CFL only received reports from 666 or 55.5%. I can only assume that the reported work was also being done in the other half of the councils. I encourage you to ensure your good works are recorded next time.

Giving much thought about what my priorities will be for the two-year term, my personal theme will be “How can we help….” and “How can we serve….”. I would like to explore several initiatives, and seek your help to do this. I would like to investigate present actions and those we may wish to initiate to help with issues like domestic abuse, annulment procedures, abortion and its aftereffects, and unplanned pregnancy support.

What is in place in your parish, diocese or province? How are you already involved in helping these injured people? I hope to talk about these subjects in future communiqués and articles and would appreciate hearing about parish council activities regarding these subjects and/or what you might like me to investigate further.
Please feel free to contact me by phone or by e-mail to share your thoughts.

Ministry to Youth
The Prime Minister’s Youth Council is an advisory board created in 2016. Up to 30 Canadian youth aged 16 to 24 comprise the non-partisan board. They advise the prime minister on education, economy, climate change and other issues affecting youth. The call for applications is currently underway with a deadline of November 30, 2018. For more information visit

Please pray for the Synod on Young People focused on the theme of Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment taking place October 28, 2018, in Rome. Watch for the results of the synod.

Sanctity of Life
The Petition of One Million 2019, a project initiated by Ontario Alliance for Life, calls upon the federal government to enact legislation granting full legal protection to an unborn child from the beginning of its biological development as a human being, the same protection granted to any other human being. The petition will be presented to the federal government in 2019. Encourage members to visit for more information or to obtain a copy. If you have signed it, thank you.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director for the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has an excellent new DVD entitled Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death, which asks the question, “Should we be giving medical professionals the legal right to end the life of another human being?” Visit for more information or to purchase a copy. Consider sharing it with family, council members and parishioners.

I am attending Life Canada’s upcoming conference and gala, September 29, 2018 in Vancouver entitled Science, Darwinism and the Human Person. Guest speakers include: John G. West, PhD, vice-president of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and associate director of the institute’s Center for Science and Culture; and Camille Pauley, co-founder and president of Healing the Culture, a non-profit organization that evangelizes and converts people to be deeply, authentically and permanently pro-life.

I look forward to meeting you at conventions, and certainly through correspondence. I also look forward to meeting provincial Christian family life chairpersons and reviewing their communiqués to keep up to date with what is happening in each province. Best wishes to you in proclaiming the ideals of the Catholic church through this standing committee. Please be sure to give a short report at each meeting to inform members of the issues and inspire involvement. Contact me if there is anything I can help you with. I will keep you in my prayers and ask you to keep me in yours! Have a beautiful fall and a happy return to the joy of working “For God and Canada” through The Catholic Women’s League of Canada.

Pat Deppiesse, national chairperson of Christian family life

October 5, 2018

© Calgary Diocesan CWL