Presented to the

Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops of Canada

and the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus

 

With the indispensable support of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) continues its mission to build a culture of life and a civilization of love in Canada. This report reviews the work of the Organization in the period from 30 June 2016 and 30 June 2017, much of which was taken up by the ongoing process of review and re-visioning begun earlier in 2016 and by the search for a new Executive Director.

 PUBLICATIONS

 Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Urgent Questions!

 COLF’s euthanasia brochure was rewritten in order to reflect the new Canadian reality (following the passage of Bill C-14). The revised edition was launched in June 2017.

 The Joy of Love” At the Heart of the Family – A brief journey through “Amoris Letitia”

This thirty-two-page brochure, written during the closing months of 2016, and launched on 7 February 2017, accompanies Pope Francis as he walks resolutely in the footsteps of Saint John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council, to support Christian spouses and families, inviting them “to value the gifts of marriage and the family, and to persevere in a love strengthened by the virtues of generosity, commitment, fidelity and patience.”

In the closing weeks of 2016 work was begun on a catalogue of COLF documents to be used as part of new marketing efforts.

2017 SEMINAR

From March 30th to 31st, more than a hundred participants attended the 2017 COLF Seminar, held this year in Gatineau, focusing on the theme “Sex, Gender and Ideology”. Five experts addressed various aspects of the gender ideology:

 Videos of the talks given at our seminar will be posted on our website – which is currently scheduled for major renovations – and will no doubt be useful to individuals and to parishes confronted with this issue.

IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE

29 October 2016: COLF’s Executive Director, Ms. Michèle Boulva, participated in the 2016 Symposium of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) in Windsor, Ontario.

8 December 2016: Ms. Michèle Boulva wrote to all Members of Parliament in support of Bill C-277 – an act providing for the development of a framework on palliative care in Canada.

During the second half of 2016, COLF’s Assistant Director, Mr. Peter Murphy, participated in two meetings of national pro-life leaders held in Ottawa. Following his appointment as Executive Director at the end of November 2016, Dr. Michel MacDonald has had several opportunities to address Ottawa-area audiences on the issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide and has represented COLF at several meetings of pro-life leaders.

 In January 2017, Dr. MacDonald participated in the US March for Life, in Washington, DC, where he had the pleasure of meeting Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and Deputy Supreme Knight, Patrick Kelly.

 Dr. MacDonald and Mr. Peter Murphy represented COLF at the National March for Life – and related events – on May 11, 2017.

 

DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS

Links with dioceses, movements and associations

COLF continues to work for the promotion of life and family with Diocesan representatives, including members of the Table provinciale de pastorale familiale (TPPF in Quebec), and representatives of pro-life groups, ecclesial movements and new communities. People registered in our database regularly receive COLF news updates via email and now by social media (Twitter). A survey undertaken by the bishops of Canada during their 2016 plenary assembly reflected a desire on their part to see COLF collaborate more closely with representatives of the various Diocesan, life, marriage and family offices. At the beginning of 2017, Dr. Michel MacDonald, working in collaboration with COLF staff and Board began to articulate plans intended to realize this goal in the near future.

 In February of 2017, Dr. MacDonald was notified by the General Secretariat that the space then occupied by the Organization at 2500 Don Reid Drive was required for use as a lounge for visiting bishops. Over the course of the following weeks, COLF staff was busily engaged in a process of sorting and culling files and various other accumulations, in anticipation of the move. COLF has now happily relocated to quarters formerly occupied by the staff of the matrimonial tribunal.

 

COLLABORATION WITH THE CCCB

 CCCB Plenary Assembly

 Ms. Michèle Boulva attended the plenary assembly of the bishops of Canada, 26-27 September 2016.

Life Giving Love Campaign

A review of resources for the Life Giving Love Campaign was begun in December 2016.

 2017 Week for Life and the Family

Grows by Giving” – were developed and proposed to the Executive of the CCCB (and subsequently made available from the Conference’s website).

 Marriage Preparation Conference

From June 1-3, 2017, Dr. Michel MacDonald and Mr. Peter Murphy represented the CCCB at a conference held in Dublin, Ireland, entitled “Marriage Preparation and Support in Amoris Laetitia” – an event preparatory to the 2018 World Meeting of Families and intended specifically for representatives of the marriage and family life offices of the various national assemblies of bishops.

THE FUTURE OF COLF

COLF staff and Board members have continued their in-depth review of the work accomplished to date by the Organization and to consider the needs arising in the current socio-cultural context. During the closing weeks of the summer of 2016, COLF staff collaborated with the General Secretariat in developing a questionnaire regarding the mission and work of the Organization which was subsequently administered to the bishops of Canada during the their plenary assembly in September. As noted above, decisions regarding future allocation of resources within the Organization will be informed by recommendations arising from the survey.

 In November – with a view to a more effective engagement of contemporary Canadian culture – members of COLF’s Board took part in a marketing planning session with Mr. Daniel Torchia, Managing Director and Partner, with Torchia Communications of Montréal.

COLF IN THE MEDIA

In keeping with the past, representatives of the Catholic media have regularly contacted COLF to inquire about our position on current events. On October 12, 2016, COLF’s out-going Executive Director, Ms. Michèle Boulva, was interviewed regarding her twelve years with the organization.

ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS

At the board meeting of November 2016 a list of potential board members was compiled for review by the in anticipation of the completed service of Ms. Cristina Alarcon and Mr. Michel MacDonald, and the soon-to-be-completed service of Mr. Peter Stockland and Ms. Amélie Martineau-Lavallée. Dr. Marie-Claire Roderick, of Saint John, New Brunswick, joined COLF’s Board in November 2016, and Dr. Marie-Claude Bourque of Chelsea, Quebec, in March 2017.

At the June 2017 board meeting, Archbishop Richard Smith, Ms. Amélie Martineau-Lavallée, and Mr. Peter Stockland – having completed their service on the Board – were thanked for their work in the cause of life and family. As the same time, the appointments to the Board of Mr. Pavel Reid, Senior Director of Ministries and Outreach with the Archdiocese of Vancouver and Ms. Deborah Larmour, Director of the Family and Life Office for the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon, were ratified. Archbishop Richard Gagnon, of Winnipeg, succeeds Archbishop Smith as representative for the CCCB’s Anglophone sector.

After twelve years of devoted service to COLF, Ms. Michèle Boulva retired at the end of December. Following an extensive search for someone to succeed Ms. Boulva, Mr. Michel G. MacDonald, a graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family and of Saint Paul University – and a former member of COLF’s own Board of Directors – was named late in November. Having completed his studies in sacred theology, Mr. MacDonald was awarded PhD and STD degrees at the June convocation of Saint Paul University.

This report is respectfully submitted

by the Members of the Board of Directors of COLF

Board of Directors:

  • Dr. Marie-Claude Bourque, Chelsea, QC, Medical Practitioner, wife and mother

  • Mr. Nat Gallo, Ancaster, ON, Knights of Columbus, Former Supreme Director and Assistant to the Supreme Knight for Canadian Affairs

  • Mr. Larry Kustra, Winnipeg, MB, Knight of Columbus, Supreme Director

  • The Most Rev. Paul Lortie, Bishop of Mont-Laurier, QC

  • Ms. Amélie Martineau-Lavallée, Québec, QC, Director of Diocesan Family Ministry, Archdiocese of Québec

  • Ms. Kim Phuong Huynh, Outremont, QC, Marketing

  • Dr. Marie-Claire Roderick, Saint John, NB, Psychologist

  • Mr. Peter Stockland, Montréal, QC, Professional Journalist and Director of Cardus Centre for Cultural Renewal

  • The Most Rev. Richard Smith, Edmonton, AB, Archbishop of Edmonton, AB

Staff Members:

  • Dr. Michel G. MacDonald (Executive Director)

  • Mr. Peter D. Murphy (Assistant Director)

  • Ms. Christine Shepherd (Administrative Assistant)