Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 28, 2008
Archbishop lauds work of Catholic Women's League
League dedicated to pursuit of younger members
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Dianne Buyks and Angela Espejo will help women form
campus-based CWL councils.
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Archbishop Richard Smith has high regard for the Catholic Women's League and told them so April 19 while addressing the league's annual archdiocesan convention.
The archbishop, who has been exposed to the CWL from a young age through his mother's involvement and is currently its national spiritual advisor, said he is familiar with the "wonderful work" of the league.
"I consider it a wonderful blessing to have been the national spiritual advisor to the league for the past five years," he told the 175 delegates and guests attending the April 18-20 convention at the Stockade Convention Centre.
"It has given me the opportunity to meet members literally across the country. I have also seen the wonderful unity of the league, a unity around a love for God, a love for the Church and love for the country. That's how extremely significant for the life of the Church and for the life of this country is the Catholic Women's League."
Smith said the fact that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops appoints the CWL's national spiritual advisor is a testimony to how the bishops regard the league.
"I do hope you realize you are part of something wonderful.
"You are part of something necessary in this archdiocese and you are part of something that is very highly valued and esteemed by the bishops of Canada."
Smith made his comments April 19 at the beginning of his talk Embracing Christ Through the Eucharist.
Other convention speakers included Dr. Wanda Brodner of Lloydminster who spoke on Love One Another and Jeanne Davies of Red Deer, who led a workshop on stewardship of resources.
Earlier in the convention Father Paul Kavanaugh announced he was leaving his job as spiritual advisor of the Edmonton archdiocesan CWL after five years in the position.
He enjoyed working with the league because "they are awesome and they are reliable."
The Edmonton CWL has a council made up of about two dozen young women at St. Joseph's University College. It also pioneered the Catholic Girls' League and currently has girls' councils in five parishes.
This summer, members of the St. Joseph's College University council will spill the secrets on how to attract young members.
The council, which has increased its membership by 60 per cent to 24 members aged 18 to 22, is planning an intercollegiate development conference for university and college women across Canada on how to start their own CWL campus councils.
"We will provide workshops to help these young ladies grow in faith and enhance their leadership skills," said conference chair Dianne Buyks, 21.
The Aug. 15-17 conference at the University of Alberta will be free, but Buyks asked convention delegates for support in sponsoring conference participants.
The St. Joseph's council has been successful in recruiting new members "because we have received the full support of our diocese," said council president Angela Espejo, 21.
"They welcomed us with open arms and they supported us from the very beginning."
One of the biggest challenges for the St. Joseph's council "is that our members are constantly graduating and so we have to find new members," Buyks noted.
In her annual report, Cathy Bouchard, president of the CWL Archdiocesan Council, said the council's 4,744 members, who are dispersed in 74 parish-based councils across the archdiocese, have contributed to the vitality of the Church, family and community, at home, in their parishes, in the archdiocese, even globally.
"In this diocese (Catholic) women continue to offer their leadership skills by serving on school boards, school councils, health boards and at all levels of civic and provincial politics," Bouchard said.
CWL councils donated $174,314 over the past year to a variety of causes and activities identified by the league.
The CWL presented the annual $500 Doreen Melton scholarship to seminarian Miguel Irizar, who has already completed studies in philosophy in Rome. The more than $1,200 collected at this year's CWL Mass collection went to The Back Porch, an Edmonton pro-life group.