Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 5, 2002
New CWL head seeks younger members
CWL extends welcome to interested teenagers
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The new president of the archdiocesan Catholic Women's League wants to attract younger women to the organization and form new league councils wherever they are lacking.
"My drive is going to be to increase our membership, looking mainly at the younger women (who attended World Youth Day in Toronto)," CWL president Fran Lucas told the WCR.
"We had a lot of youth who participated in WYD and I think we need to capture that group of women who were there. Most were supported by the CWL in their parishes so we need to make sure that we keep in contact with them so they understand the benefits for them to be CWL members."
Lucas, a manager of training and development at North-lands Park and member of St. Joseph's Basilica Parish, took over as president at the league's April 25-27 archdiocesan convention in Sherwood Park. She had been president-elect for the past two years and replaces Dorothy Johansen of Edmonton as president.
More than 230 delegates representing 4,500 league members in 78 local councils attended the convention at Sherwood Hotel and Conference Centre.
In an interview, Lucas referred to young women who attended World Youth Day as "naturals" and said the CWL must approach them and encourage them to join.
She noted her St. Joseph's Basilica Council sponsored a number of younger women to attend WYD. Now the younger women are coming out and helping the council in its activities. At least one of them, a 17-year-old, decided to join the council.
Women can join the CWL at 16. "They are beginning to see there is a benefit for them to be members of the league."
Lucas also noted there are a number of parishes throughout the archdiocese that still don't have a CWL council. "We are going to make sure that we get in contact with them and that we encourage them to form councils."
The CWL will also encourage its leaders and members to fight the secularization of Christmas by focusing on the true meaning of the season. A resolution in that regard was passed unanimously at the convention.
It calls on each standing committee of the CWL to make the spiritual observance of Advent their focus for the next two years.
"Members of the CWL should avoid being mesmerized by the blatant advertising of the commercial world and are encouraged to retain their focus on the true meaning of Christmas and the Advent season of preparation," says a background brief on the resolution.
The resolution also urges the provincial CWL to produce a unique religious Christmas card for league members and asks the national CWL to produce a brief program of readings and music specific to the Advent season.
"We want to restore the spirit of Christmas and the meaning of Christmas," Lucas said. "We are trying to make Christmas more spiritual."
Lucas, a mother of one, joined the CWL at St. John Bosco Parish 15 years ago with the idea to serve the Church and her faith community. She's got a lot more than she bargained for, including a number of "very strong and lasting relationships."
Johansen, the former CWL president, thinks Lucas will do a superb job as president because she is "well organized, dedicated and personable."
Her good nature, she said, will allow Lucas to work well with the people around her. Lucas sees herself as "approachable" and "receptive" and said her door will always be open "to people with ideas."
Chosen president-elect at the convention was Mable Solomon, a mother of four who has been a member of Edmonton's St. Francis of Assisi Parish CWL for the past 18 years. She will take over from Lucas two years from now.
A social justice advocate and an idealist, Solomon's dream is to one day eliminate poverty, homelessness and illiteracy from the face of the earth, starting in Edmonton where there is a 15 per cent illiteracy rate.
Solomon opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq and was pleased with Prime Minister Jean Chretien's stance on the war. "I think that's the best thing he did in his (political) career," she said. "We ought to be peacekeepers."
Others elected to the archdiocesan executive along with Solomon were:
Vice-president: Cathy Bouchard of Red Deer. Secretary: Denise Blackstock of Leduc. Treasurer: Dolores Martens of Red Deer.Elected CWL conveners at the convention were Gwen Elliott of Camrose; Pam DeLuca of Edmonton and June Fuller of St. Albert.
The CWL's annual Doreen Merton Scholarship went to second year seminarian Marc Cramer. The CWL's provincial convention will be held in early June at Nisku.