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The Catholic Women’s League of Canada BC & Yukon Provincial Council National theme: One Heart, One Voice, One Mission Provincial theme: Joyfully Serving the Lord


Date:  December 16th, 2013    Education and Health Communique #5                           

From:  Caroline Ann-Alter, Education and Health Chairperson

Wishing all my sisters in faith, companions on our journey a very Merry Christmas, and may Jesus bless each of you with health, happiness and spiritual wisdom in 2014.

In this my fifth communique for 2013 I want to pass on several bits of information re Education and Health in our country.


On October 21st NDP Health critic Libby Davies introduced a private member’s Bill C-545: An act representing the provision of continuing care for Canadians.

Also introduced was a private member’s motion by Charlie Angus (ethics critic) to establish a national palliative care strategy.

The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) had recommended a national palliative care strategy when it held hearings in 2010. Results were released in 2011.

As we watch and wait, the debate in Quebec over euthanasia is now before the national assembly.


On any given day more than 160,000 Canadians over 18 years are in jail, though only 38,000 of them have been convicted of  a crime. Despite a decline in crime rates, the rate at which Canadians are jailed rose by 5% between 2001 and 2011.

So who is taking care of these persons? Where will they find healing, reconciliation, forgiveness and community?

Whitehorse Bishop Gary Gordon believes it is our responsibility as Catholics to extend communities beyond the safe border of our church, into the lives of the addicted, the poor, the wounded and the incarcerated. Along with a team of prison ministry veterans he is creating Catholic Connections in Restorative Justice: a network of Catholic volunteers and professionals to work with convicts and ex –convicts.

With a new website (www.ccin-rj.ca) plus plans for a national conference in September 2014, Bishop Gordon wants to up the Catholic presence both inside prison and working with prisoners after release. The website went public on Nov 23-24th

What they are trying to accomplish is to increase the Catholic presence in prison ministry.

Right now federal chaplaincy is a mess. Catholic presence at the table has been only miminal. Last year Corrections Canada fired all 49 part-time Chaplains. This leaves 74 full time professional chaplains in the federal system, two Muslims and the rest Christians.

Fundamentally the government has switched to a professional spiritual care model, like that used in the military, where the chaplain’s own faith is not relevant to the spiritual care offered.

The Catholic Connection in Restorative Justice will work to involve parish volunteers to help meet the needs in the system.

The thing about the Catholic world is that if we can energize 5% of the Catholics, that is a very sizable group of people.

How many of you knew about this issue?

On a more joyous note: the 1st anniversary of the canonization of St Kateri Tekchwitha on Sept 22nd was celebrated in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. In attendance was Archbishop Emeritus Sylvoan Lavori OMI, many other priests and aboriginal leaders and drummers.

The Eucharist was celebrated in English and in Cree. It was a great celebration. Let us all remember to pray to her, she has now got the power to help you!

Hopefully all diocesan chairs will forward this information on to parish chairs for their information and use.

Thanks to all again, even if you do this after Jan 1st. I know everyone is busy with Christmas preparations now.

God Bless Caroline

Education and Health Chairperson BC & Yukon.

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