Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
April 16, 2001
CWL leader sees jubilee as highlight
Veeken to stepdown at convention
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Preparing for and celebrating the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 was Mary-Lou Veeken's highlight during two years as president of the archdiocesan Catholic Women's League.
Veeken said the league had spiritual development programs on jubilee themes for three years leading up to the year 2000. Local councils took on projects such as making jubilee quilts that were displayed at last year's convention.
As well, each council had a jubilee candle to burn at its meetings for three years. When the year 2000 came around, those local candles were brought together and melted into one at last year's convention, she said.
Veeken will step down as president and be replaced by Dorothy Johansen of Edmonton at the archdiocesan CWL convention April 20-22 in Red Deer.
"I'm going to do housework and I'm going to cook for my family," laughs the Sherwood Park resident reflecting on the end of her term.
But she'll remain on the archdiocesan executive as past president and says she plans to run for a position on the provincial CWL executive when the provincial convention is held in Sexsmith in June.
"I'm not getting out. I'm just moving into different areas," she told the WCR.
The archdiocesan convention will be highlighted by presentations on World Youth Day 2002, religious vocations, and Canadian blood services. Retired Archbishop Joseph MacNeil will celebrate the opening Mass at St. Mary's Church.
Jan Dunnigan and Becky Kallal will lead a workshop on developing resolutions. Father Erik Riechers will also address the convention. At the closing Mass, spiritual advisor Sister Mary Lou Cranston will install the new slate of officers.
Parish restructuring in the archdiocese has had a small effect on the CWL. The only merger to take place so far has been between St. James and Assumption councils in Edmonton, Veeken said.
In rural areas, some councils keeping going even when the parish is merged. "That keeps a Catholic presence in those communities, which is a good thing," she said.
"Even before the Transformation of Parishes, we had councils that operated without churches."
The league has 80 councils and 4,550 members in the archdiocese, numbers that are holding firm, even though CWL membership across Canada is declining, she said.
Those local councils remain active and vital parts of their communities. Veeken told of the council in Olds that raised $10,000 for charity in the last year, much of it through a turkey dinner that attracted 700 people.
Other councils are celebrating major anniversaries, such as 50 and 75 years, she said. One member, Mary Meraw of Wetaskiwin, last year celebrated 80 years in the CWL.
Veeken said the league continues to serve parishes and communities, provide spiritual development for its members, and to be a voice in society regarding government legislation.
Last year, Alberta CWL members were encouraged to express their views to the provincial government regarding Bill 11, which legalized private health clinics. And during the provincial election, the CWL joined with like-minded groups to develop a voters' guide to candidates' stands on important issues.
Veeken says she's enjoyed her time as president. "It's been a really good two years.
"It's been a challenge and I've enjoyed getting to know a lot of members, not only in the archdiocese, but also across Canada."
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