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CURRENT CHRISTIAN FAMILY LIFE COMMUNIQUÉS 

    

  

  

  


  

Christian Family Life Communiqué #5

Marge Appell, Provincial Christian Family Life
May 2019

    

This is my last communiqué as my two year term comes to an end at the SK Provincial Convention in June. I’ve enjoyed my time as Provincial Christian Family Life chairperson and encourage your councils to continue working in the areas this committee encompasses.  

  

I just attended the Regina Diocesan Convention in Weyburn on May 5th/6th and was reminded again how important it is to gather with women from across the diocese to talk about common issues/concerns and to listen to speakers who inspire us as we work to make a difference in our parishes and society as a whole.  Hopefully I will see some of you at the upcoming Provincial Convention, in Humboldt, on June 2nd and 3rd

  

Pat Deppiesse, our National Chairperson of Christian Family Life, has written several communiqués since she was installed last year.  They can be found on the National Website.  I’ve passed along some of her information in the past, and she has asked that Provincial chairpersons highlight a portion of her last communiqué so that you are aware of this information.  It addresses Ministry to those Separated and Divorced as follows:

  

“The Spring 2019 issue of the Canadian League contains information about the annulment process when some marriages just can’t be saved.  Families affected by divorce may not be aware of available help allowing them to move forward and return to the graces of the church by petitioning for a declaration of nullity of their former marriage. Consider reaching out in compassion to those affected by divorce. To assist with this initiative a booklet entitled “Annulment Process” is available on the National website as of April 23rd. This booklet was compiled with the assistance of the Vancouver archdiocesan marriage tribunal office.  An effective educational tool for members and councils, the booklet may be downloaded from cwl.ca and copies printed for your use.”

  

Thank you to Pat for the above update. It’s important to be aware of all new developments in every area covered by the Christian Family Life committee.  Our portfolio is large and keeping updated files is very necessary.

  

In the hope of giving you food for thought over the summer, I’ve compiled a list of future events so you can ponder upon what your councils can do to promote, participate, and/or celebrate them.

  

  1. National Family Week will be celebrated from October 7 – 13, 2019.  Since 1985, Canadians have come together for local festivities celebrating families, and beginning in 2007, Families Canada has coordinated the programs with other National Family Week event organizers.  This is in addition to our province celebrating Family Day in February each year.  If you missed celebrating National Week for Life and the Family this May, something our Canadian Bishops encourage us to do yearly (using resources prepared by the Catholic Organization for Life and the Family - COLF), then consider marking the importance of family life during the first week of October.   There is an information/activity package available to assist you.  Simply google National Family Week and you will access the help you need.
  2. The next World Meeting of Families will be held in Rome, 2021.  Last year it was held in Ireland and was very successful.  You can still search the Internet for stories about this event; they are interesting reading and may give you some ideas for future use.
  3. World Youth Day will be held in Lisbon in 2022.   Youth Days have been hugely successful since they began and with the Internet, we can enter into the proceedings on a daily basis even if we can’t attend or know someone who is participating.  At the very least, we can pray for the success of the event from our own living rooms!
  4. Lastly and by no means least, is our own National CWL Convention which will be held in Saskatoon from August 11-14, 2024.  Why not start planning now to attend that special event in our home province?  In the parish council to which I belong, we are dedicating the proceeds from one fundraiser per year for the purpose of paying (at least some) of the expenses for members to attend.  Maybe you could do something similar.  Raising money takes time and years pass quickly.  Let’s get as many SK members as possible attending that National Convention and show delegates from across Canada that SK knows how to host our guests!

  

Perhaps, as you take a well deserved rest over the summer months, you may have time to research past resolutions of the Christian Family Life Committee and formulate plans to further those initiatives.  Our past national chairperson, Doreen Gowans, included a complete listing of those still active in the handout she distributed at the 2017 National Convention.  I have listed a few that address issues which have been in the news of late.  Let our politicians know what you think and pray for justice in these areas.  There is always work to be done!

  

2011.01             Prohibition of Practices re: Human Reproductive Material

2005.09             Support for Families Experiencing Perinatal Loss

2004.01             Protection of Human Life

2002.09             Human Stem Cell Research

1999.01             Elder Abuse/Assault Awareness

1995.02             Abortion Funding

  

In closing, thank you for the opportunity of serving as the SK Provincial Christian Family Life standing committee chairperson.   Keep up the good work in your parishes and beyond!  As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are!”   God bless us all as we work “for God and Canada”.

    

      

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Christian Family Life Communiqué #4

Marge Appell, Provincial Christian Family Life
February 2019

      

Greetings!  It’s been a long, often very cold, and difficult winter.  I trust you are surviving as best you can.  I totally understand that carrying on CWL volunteer efforts are challenging at the best of times, particularly when there seem to be fewer of us to do the work, but it’s even more so at this time of year with temperatures in SK plummeting for days on end!  Let me suggest using this time to work at home by writing letters to our governments urging action on any number of issues that require action.  One such issue is addressed below.  Please participate.

  

Have you heard of the SK Call for Conscience Rights Campaign?  Christians across the province are urging our provincial politicians to enact legislation which will protect healthcare professions from having to participate in Medical Aid in Dying (MAID).  Since the legalization of MAID, this has become a very important issue for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and all other health professionals in our province and all across Canada.  In SK, our Catholic bishops are asking all parishioners to review and sign letters that will be presented to the legislature during the upcoming Spring Session.  Other Christian church leaders are also asking their members to participate in this campaign.  It is hoped that 14,000 people will write/sign letters, informing our Premier, the Minister of Health, and the Leader of the Opposition that conscience rights of health care workers must be protected.   I hope you have heard of this initiative through your parishes; if not, participate anyway by writing your own letters.  I have pertinent information if you wish to contact me.

  

To remind/update you about a few facts:  “Medical Assistance in Dying is a controversial procedure that has been permitted by the Supreme court of Canada and Parliament.  It involves directly ending a patient’s life by lethal injection.  Some caregivers believe that it is morally acceptable to end the life of a patient upon request, while other do not…Our right to freedom of conscience and religion is enshrined in s. 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Our right to protection against discrimination is enshrined in s.15…The SK government has the opportunity to protect the conscience rights of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals by passing legislation to protect healthcare professionals from being forced to participate in or refer for medical assistance in dying.  Conscientious objectors need to be able to continue to care for patients.”  (source:  Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience Information sheet)  For more information, go to the website:   www.canadiansforconscience.ca.

  

Our faith teaches us that life is a precious gift, one that is to be cherished from conception to natural death.   Anything less than that is a violation of what it means to be image-bearers of God.  Please join me in sharing your concerns with our elected officials.  They need to hear our voices.  Please help protect those who entered medicine to heal and save lives.  And please pray.  Pray for our elected representatives in the Legislature, that they do what is right and just, and pray for all health care professionals, that they are never put in a situation where they must choose between their conscience and their career.   

    

  

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Christian Family Life Communiqué #3

Marge Appell, Provincial Christian Family Life
July 2018

      

Hello everyone.  I hope you are having a relaxing summer and experiencing many blessings throughout.  While the work of our Christian Family Life portfolios usually takes a hiatus at this time of year, there are still many things we can think about and plan for ahead.  Summer is a good time to ponder and pray for the success of many endeavors, and praying, as we all know, is one of the best things we can do to strengthen our resolve and seek solutions.

  

I’ve recently re-read a number of the Christian Family Life communiqués generated by Doreen Gowans, National Chairperson, whose term ends at the National Convention this August, and I thank her for the leadership she provided through her informative messages.  Following are some highlights from Doreen’s past communiqués, as well as my own, upon which we can continue to pray and act.

  

“Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment” is the topic of the Synod of Bishops which is being held in October, 2018.  Pray for its success.  Here is some background:  Over the past number of months, Pope Francis has invited youth to “leave shyness at the door” and to “speak bravely” about issues that youth face and the challenges they have in our church.  Youth across Canada and indeed, in the world, were asked for input, and many Dioceses responded by organizing ways to reach our youth and listen to their concerns.  Let us pray that all submissions are heard with openness and genuine intent to listen to and engage the young people in our midst.

  

Catholic Christian Outreach – Rise Up Conference is for young adults, ages 18-35.  It is being held in Calgary, AB, December 28, 2018 – January 1, 2019, and is hosted by Catholic Christian Outreach which seeks to motivate and inspire leaders for the renewal of the world.  Pray for the success of the conference and access more information at cco.ca/riseup.

  

Petition of One Million 2019 – Did you know that 4 million children have been killed by abortion since 1969?  That number is staggering!  One way CWL members can inform our politicians that we value life from conception to natural death is to sign this petition (details below) in support of pro-life issues.  The goal of the project is to collect more than 1 million signatures, recognizing those who have been aborted, and proclaiming to all Canadians that every life matters and must be protected from conception to natural death.  In support of pro-life issues, these signatures will be presented to the federal government in 2019.  Go to petitionofonemillion.ca/sign-petition/ then download and print the signature page.  Collect as many signatures as you can and send them to the address at the bottom of the petition.  If you have questions, email Alliance for Life Ontario at aflo@mgl.ca or call  1 (866) 588-2684.

  

The National CWL Convention, in Winnipeg, August 11 – 15, 2018 - This event is just around the corner.  If you know someone attending, ask them to visit the following displays and bring back literature/information for your councils.  Such displays are invaluable in acquiring the most up-to-date details on current issues.

  1.  Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, will be displaying “Don’t kill me; I oppose euthanasia” bracelets, which can be purchased for a donation.  Consider buying some to distribute “back home”.  He will also have the DVD “Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death”.   Purchase of the DVD could be shared by several councils or by a region/diocese for viewing in your areas. 
  2. Denise Mountenay from “Together for Life Ministries” will also have an exhibit at the National Convention.  Look for the DVD “Hush”, a documentary about abortion and its effects on a woman’s health.   Unfortunately the website (hushfilm.ca) that gave information about this film is temporarily down, so I will try to find and send more information to you as soon as possible.

We must do everything we can to remind people that life is precious and its sanctity must be protected!  

   

World Meeting of Families is taking place in Dublin, Ireland, from August 21-26, 2018.  The theme is “Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”.  This is an event held every three years (in different locations) to celebrate, pray, and reflect upon the central importance of marriage and the family as the cornerstone of our lives, of society, and of the church.  Pray that deliberations are fruitful and visit their website to update yourselves on the outcomes.  Simply type in “World Meeting of Families, Dublin, Ireland, August, 2018” and you will find a wealth of information to peruse.  Perhaps something will inspire you in promoting family life activities in your parishes and communities.

  

COLF (Catholic Organization for Life and Families) - Don’t forget the resources made available by this organization.  Refer to my last communiqué for ideas on how to involve your parish in praying for sanctity of life issues. 

  

This last reminder is for all Diocesan standing committee chairpersons:  Please remember that you are all expected to write and send communiqués to your parish counterparts several times a year.  Feel free to use the information sent out to you from Provincial Standing Committee chairs, as well as what your National counterpart sends to you.  Also remember that a copy of each communiqué you write is sent, not only to parish standing committee chairs, but to your provincial counterpart as well.   

  

 In closing, may Our Lady of Good Counsel guide you as you rest, relax, pray, and prepare for another busy year as Christian Family Life chairpersons.  We have an important role in educating our fellow members and parishioners on pressing issues.  God bless each of you as you do this very important work “for God and Canada”!   

  

  

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Christian Family Life Communiqué #2

Marge Appell, Provincial Christian Family Life
May 2018

  

Blessings to all of you who have carried out the work of the Christian Family Life portfolio throughout this past year in your councils and communities!  It has been a year of many challenges, especially with regard to right to life/end of life issues in our society.

  

At the end of April, I attended the Regina Diocesan CWL Convention in Yorkton.  As always, the speakers were informative and thought provoking.  In particular, Dr. Mary Deutscher gave a presentation on “Protection of Conscience for Health Care Professionals”, a timely topic as everyone, especially doctors and health care professionals throughout our country, grapples with issues of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and conscience rights.  Our basic belief, the sanctity of and right to life from birth to natural death continues to be attacked, and we need to renew our efforts to protect this precious gift.  What are the members of our CWL councils doing in this crucial fight?  Are we informed about the issues?  Are we letting our governments know that we are pro-life and against life ending measures?  Are we writing letters in support of a health care system that values every life, no matter the challenges it presents, and allows our health care personnel to act on conscience in these instances? 

  

Please renew your efforts to make your beliefs known – write the prime minister, the leaders of the opposition, your members of parliament and their provincial counterparts.  Tell them life is precious and should be respected from birth to natural death.  Tell them more funding is needed for palliative care.  Tell them your vote, at election time, will go to the representative who cares about the preservation of life, and not abortion, assisted suicide, or euthanasia!  Write now and write often – not just one letter, but many.  Set a goal.  Write one per month, or even week.  Write a collective letter from your council each time you meet.  We need to make our politicians aware that many Canadians do not agree with the killing of the unborn or hastening the death of the sick and elderly!  As I have said before: there is much work to be done.  We must stand up for and be vocal about what we believe.

  

One way to inform yourselves and to help other people in your parishes and communities become/stay informed is with resources available from the “Catholic Organization for Life and Family” (COLF).  On its website you will discover a wealth of information – pamphlets such as:  “The Unborn Child - a Reflection on Abortion”, “Living Suffering and Dying – What for?”; “Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide” and many more.  These pamphlets are available at a very low cost – often as little as .25 or .40, and they are great resources.  Simply type colf.ca into your computer and then click on “Publications”.   Ordering is easy and the money for these resources well spent. 

  

COLF also has a “Prayer for the Protection of Human Life” card.  Buy some of these cards and hand them out to the parishioners in your parish.  Encourage your members, their families, and your parish community to pray.  Sometimes it’s all we can do, but we are also well aware of the power of prayer!

  

 In closing, may Our Lady of Good Counsel watch over you and guide you as you promote Christian Family Life in your councils and parishes.  Everything you do has an impact.  You may not see it now, but the seeds you sow today will bear fruit.  Always remember, we are doing important work “for God and Canada”.   God bless.

  

  

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Christian Family Life Communiqué #1

Marge Appell, Provincial Christian Family Life
June 2017

  

Greetings to all of you!  This is my first contact with you since being elected to Provincial Council in June.   I’ve been a League member for 50 years and active on Regina Diocesan Council for approximately 9 years, and I just completed my term as past president in April.  In the months ahead, I hope we become good “email” friends!   Please contact me if there is any way I can be of assistance or service to you.

  

Since the SK Provincial Convention, I have spent time familiarizing myself with this portfolio.  It has extensive responsibilities so is a bit overwhelming however, with God’s help, I begin.

  

First of all, quoting the Executive Handbook, a chairperson of this standing committee should:

  • Refer to communiqués and/or reports from all levels
  • Study and act on League resolutions adopted at each level pertaining to this committee
  • File with the recording secretary a copy of monthly and annual reports.

  

That sounds fairly straightforward but upon looking at the topics included and explanations about each one (also printed in the Executive Handbook), there is much work to be done.  Overall responsibilities include:

  • Marriage and family
  • Sanctity of life
  • Ministry to:   youth,  widowed,  disabled,  separated,  seniors,  divorced, and single (life)
  • Vocations

  

Now, how do we approach addressing any/all these responsibilities in the best way possible?   Perhaps a good plan/a renewed start for a Standing Committee Chair is to read the expanded list of responsibilities, make jot notes beside things your council is already doing, evaluate those activities, then decide how to improve/expand them.  You might also choose another initiative in which your council is interested or there is a need in your community and/or our country.

  

Besides the communiqués and reports from National level, I intend to keep a scrapbook/binder of resource material to help me focus on the responsibilities of the Christian Family Life portfolio.  As I read newspaper/magazines, particularly the Prairie Messenger (which sadly will end publication next spring), and research topics on reputable Internet sites, I will clip/bookmark articles that pertain to the topics listed.  This will give me an insight into what is current and information to which I can refer when writing my own reports/communiqués.  Perhaps organizing your approach in this way will be helpful/useful to you, too. 

I also believe prayer is central to any approach taken in all aspects of life.  Therefore let’s be diligent in praying for/about individuals and families, as well as marriage, sanctity of life, and vocation issues.  To that end, I offer you a few suggestions:

  

The following two websites offer resources useful to encourage prayer in various situations.  Both are very easy to navigate.

  • cccb.ca – posts suggestions for prayers on a monthly basis, besides many other items of interest
  • colf.ca – publishes various resources (some free, some at minimal cost). 

             Numerous resources are pictured, covering not only prayer but issues of family life, raising children,

             and euthanasia/assisted suicide. 

  

Or type into your computer, the topic or event you want to research.  For example:

World Day of Prayer for Vocations    Very quickly, I found:  It was held May 7th this year.  Next year it will be April 22nd .  I found 75 different resources to help plan for this day – 13 different pamphlets to publicize it (pkg. of 50 for $12), a parish resource package, prayer cards, graded worksheets for children (0.35 each), a letter from the Holy Father encouraging prayer for vocations (free), sample bulletin blurbs (free) – in other words, many good ideas.  Get started now; plan for 2018!  Involve your parish priest – none of them will refuse efforts in this regard!  

  

Several other events to keep in mind as you plan your League work are:

National Week for Life and Family – celebrated across Canada May 14 - May 21, 2017, with the theme “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World.”  Obviously, this week has passed, but  familiarize yourselves with the resources that were available and make tentative plans for a council/parish response in 2018.  Check the websites listed above.

  

World Meeting of Families – Dublin, Ireland, August 21-26, 2018.  The theme is “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World.”  Go to the website and download the free 2 page information guide.  

  

Next World Youth Day – Panama City, 2019.  Now is the time to plan how your council can become involved.  Examples: fundraise for youth from your parish/diocese to attend or become prayer partners of those attending.  Check the website for other suggestions.

  

This is a summary of my overall plan – perhaps it will work for you, as well:

  1. Check the Executive Handbook for the areas of responsibility that fall to this Committee.
  2. Keep a reference scrapbook of anything that pertains to topics listed.
  3. Make jot notes of things your council already does in any of these areas.
  4. Evaluate what you do and make necessary improvements and adjustments.
  5. Decide upon new actions that are of interest to your council and community.
  6. Encourage prayer as a positive and on-going response to addressing all concerns/issues.

  

In closing, may the Holy Spirit guide you in this important work “for God and Canada”.  Take care and God bless.