CWL 71st Annual Convention
St. Lawrence CWL of Thompson hosts memorable Manitoba Provincial Convention
CWL members from across Manitoba travelled to Thompson, Manitoba to celebrate the 71st Annual Convention of the Manitoba Provincial Council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada on June 8 & 9, 2019, hosted by St. Lawrence Parish Council and Keewatin-The Pas Diocesan Council.
While some travelled by car, a number of delegates, including Fran Lucas, National President-Elect and Fr. Diosdado Parrenas, Winnipeg Diocesan Spiritual Advisor, travelled the eight hours by charter bus from Winnipeg to Thompson on Friday, June 7, with a sightseeing stopover at Pisew Falls.
Saturday morning found the provincial executive hard at work at their pre-convention meeting. Those with free time enjoyed the morning outing by charter bus, taking in the Spirit Way Tour, led by Volker Beckmann. A bracelet making workshop facilitated by Jeannette Ali, member of St. John Brebeuf Parish Council, was the afternoon activity.
Delegates, guests and dignitaries gathered for Mass at St. Lawrence Church, celebrated by Archbishop Murray Chatlain, Keewatin-Le Pas Diocese, and concelebrated by Archbishop Richard Gagnon, Winnipeg diocese, along with Fr. Gunasekhar Pothula, Pastor of St Lawrence Parish, Fr. Shantha Gandamalla, Keewatin-The Pas Diocesan Spiritual Advisor, Fr. Diosdado Parrenas, , and Deacon Clarence Fisher, Snow Lake Parish Council Spiritual Advisor. Archbishop Murray wove the history of the diocese throughout his homily as he spoke of our need for security, affirmation and control that get in the way of receiving the peace of the Holy Spirit.
Banquet greetings that evening were brought by: Fran Lucas on behalf of national president Anne-Marie Gorman; Rolande Chernichan, president, Manitoba Provincial Council, both archbishops; Colleen Smook, Mayor of Thompson; Kelly Bindle, MLA for Thompson; and Thomas Kraemer, State Secretary, Manitoba State Council, Knights of Columbus.
Convention opened Sunday morning with the colour party as flags and banners were processed in, O Canada was sung and an inspirational spiritual program was led by Marielle Rigaux, Community Life Chairperson and Fr. Paul Bringleson, Manitoba Provincial Spiritual Advisor. Complementing the spiritual program with its focus on water, the convention display spoke to the League’s national theme: Care for Our Common Home and included a variety of items relating to the theme. Convention business was called to order by President, Rolande Chernichan.
Convention guest speaker Jims Alackel, Keewatin-Le Pas Youth Ministry Coordinator, spoke of God’s call that brought him to work with the youth of the North. Assisted by NET Canada Missionaries team, he has travelled throughout the diocese, meeting with and being present to the youth, giving retreats and workshops as invited.
Guest speaker Archbishop Richard Gagnon spoke on the history, structure and workings of the Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops (CCCB) and he provided insight on subjects of particular interest to the League.
The afternoon opened with the Prayer Service for Deceased Members. Three red roses representing deceased members of each diocese were placed in a vase by diocesan presidents: Lucille Rossington (Keewatin-The Pas), Paulette Chase (St. Boniface), and Pat Ward (Winnipeg). A single white rose representing deceased spiritual advisors was placed by Rolande Chernichan.
Business included oral reports from each of the executive and saw adoption of the resolution titled: Establishment of refundable deposits and return depots for recyclable beverage containers. The resolution will be presented by the CWL Provincial executive to the Manitoba Premier and cabinet when they meet.
Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to St. Lawrence CWL Parish Council and Keewatin-The Pas Diocesan Council for hosting the provincial convention.
Certificates of Merit were awarded to national convention planning committee members: Susan Bernier, Chair; Suzanne Moore, Co-Chair; and Eva Arsenault, Public Relations and Photography, for their work in helping Manitoba Provincial Council host the national convention in Winnipeg in August 2018.
Convention attendees brought with them religious books, articles and rosaries for northern missions in response to a special request by Fr. Guna, pastor of St. Lawrence Parish. In response to the CWL National Centenary Committee HUG Project (Helping, Understanding, Giving), members brought items to be donated to women’s shelters in the North. Also brought were containers filled with drink can tabs to be donated to the Tabs for Wheelchairs program, as well as plastic bags that will be recycled through the Bag-Up Manitoba program and remanufactured into benches, bird houses, bird feeders and planter boxes.
St Lawrence CWL members were joyfully assisted by members of their parish in providing generous northern hospitality, served with love. Delegates were treated to warm bannock, a delicious lunch and brown paper bag lunches for those who had a long road trip home following the convention.
The convention day wrapped up with elections and the installation of officers. Congratulations to Janet Brunger, President, Crystal Reiter, President-Elect, Con Marks, 1st Vice President and other officers of the new Manitoba Provincial Council executive. CWL members across Manitoba look forward to the next two years under their very capable leadership!
Report and Photos were submitted by Susan Bernier and Rolande Chernichan