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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 cwl.ca. 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 colf.ca. 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 canada.ca/en/campaign/prime-ministers-youthcouncil.html.

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 petitionofonemillion.ca/sign-petition/ 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 epcc.ca 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