Cathy Bouchard of Red Deer is the new provincial president of the Catholic Women's League.

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Cathy Bouchard of Red Deer is the new provincial president of the Catholic Women's League.

June 29, 2015
THANDIWE KONGUAVI
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The Catholic Women's League must embrace bold and creative rethinking, national president Barb Dowding told members at this year's provincial CWL convention.

Dowding explained the 2015-17 theme One Heart, One Voice, One Mission in her speech to the members of the Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Council who attended the two-day convention which kicked off in Yellowknife June 5.

"Our mission as CWL is embodied in many different ways, as many as the women in the league," said Dowding, who lives in Vancouver.

"We are to abandon the complacent attitude that says we have always done it this way and embrace bold and creative rethinking, . . . not alone but as a community."

Cathy Bouchard of Red Deer, the new provincial president, said prospective members want to know they are making a difference with their time, not just meeting for coffee.

"We're too busy to do that now so to gather and make a difference with our time – that's a huge thing for young people," Bouchard said. "I'm not going to spend my time hanging out doing nothing. I better be doing something, or I'm not doing it."

A total of 115 members attended the convention.

During her tenure as president, Bouchard hopes to unite existing CWL members and excite them with the possibilities of league involvement. Enabling present members to see how their voices can make a difference in society will also attract new members.

Bouchard sees the provincial council as a channel to develop and suggest action and education on key topics such as the healing process from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Pope Francis' new encyclical Laudato Si on the environment.

The CWL is a strong advocate for the environment and the encyclical will help them break the issue out for prayer and action, said Bouchard.

At the provincial and national levels, the league is already reviewing the TRC recommendations, she said.

"We need to use our voice and actions to show our First Nations sisters that we value them, that we hear their pain, that we accept some responsibility for the wrongs and for making the change to make things right," she said.

"We want to be part of the path to healing."

Bishop Mark Hagemoen of Mackenzie-Fort Smith spoke on building relationships with indigenous peoples, said Bouchard.

Members are also looking forward to the coming Jubilee Year of Mercy, which gives the opportunity to live and proclaim the joy of the Gospel, she added.

GOOD NEWS TO THE POOR

The call of this year to "renew our enthusiasm to bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind" embodies the action of the CWL, said Bouchard.

At the conference, 36 parishes were recognized for increasing membership in the last year. Two councils, St. Michael Bow Island and Assumption Council in Hay River, tied for the Father Walter Krewski Membership Awards with 12 new members each.

In addition to Bouchard, the 2015-17 provincial executive includes vice president Judy Look; past-president Dorothy Johansen; president-elect June Fuller; secretary Ruth Boden; treasurer Yvette Foster; and standing committee chairs Carol Schlachter, Joan Langevin, Betsy Fletcher and Gladys Brown.

FORMER DIOCESAN PRESIDENTS

"This is an excellent group of women that God has given us to work with," said Bouchard. "All of them have been diocesan presidents and have fantastic gifts and talents."

The Alberta Mackenzie provincial council includes representatives from all five dioceses, she added.

Two resolutions were passed at the convention and will be forwarded to the national level. The resolutions can only be discussed publically when they are passed, said Bouchard. If they are not passed on the national level then the provincial council will continue to work on the resolutions.