Catholic Women’s League of St. Gianna’s Parish

November 13, 2016

Hi Everyone,

Last Season the focus of the CWL was on Palliative Care and Bill C-14 Assisted Dying Legislation. With medically assisted dying capturing the headlines, our CWL council, together with other councils across Canada, prepared a written petition calling for access to hospice palliative care for all Canadians. Our petition, signed by 202 parishioners, was sent to the House of Commons on May 11th, 2016. To further highlight and promote hospice palliative care, a 12 hour prayer vigil was held in our Perpetual Adoration Chapel on May 4th, where over 50 people participated. As taught by our Catholic faith, these initiatives advocated respect for the dignity of life from conception to natural death.

This season we further the Call to Action to be a community where “All Are Welcome”. In September we watched the video from Father Conroy’s “Own our Faith” which interviews members of the LGBT community and  shows their challenge to feel welcome in our Catholic faith community. We also reflected on the words of Pope Francis who in his most recent Apostolic Exhortation - “Amoris Laetitia” (Sections 250 and 251), states: “We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided,. Also, an article in the Winnipeg Free Press was discussed; “Ottawa slow in rectifying past LGBT bigotry.”

We continued the conversation around being LGBT in the Catholic Church. We discussed concerns that there are many LGBT Catholics that do not feel welcomed by their faith tradition. We learned that we are wanting to know more and learn more about this current day issue... The question was raised, ‘How does our local CWL respond to this challenge? Our meeting was definitely the most fascinating that I have ever participated in, for it was a ‘meeting of the minds and hearts’ of the brilliant, faithful women that we are, in the CWL, at St. Gianna’s Church.

Rebecca Skinner
Acting President St Gianna CWL


CWL Summer Break

Well we have had a rather fruitful first half of 2016.We heard a superb talk from Dr Harlos on living through palliative care, we obtained 202 signatures that were sent to the House of Commons to petition against Physician-Assisted Death (P.A.D.), we had over 50 people pray for palliative care for the 12 Hours of Prayer for Palliative Care. We also and more importantly developed relationship with one another over these last many months.

For the months of June, July and August we will be taking a summer break. We thank you for your participation and look forward to meeting with you again in September. Please do not hesitate to email us with your ideas for our next Speakers Corner in September.

Thank you,

Rebecca Skinner
Acting President St Gianna CWL


12 Hours of Prayer for Palliative Care

CWL - 12 Hours of Prayer PosterThe Catholic Women’s League of Canada calls all people of faith to join nationwide in 12 Hours of Prayer for Palliative Care on May 4, 2016. This is designed to take place during the National Hospice Palliative Care Week organized by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association as a profound witness to the sanctity of human life.
All parishioners, family and friends are invited to join the members of St. Gianna’s Catholic Women’s in prayer and solidarity on May 4th from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in our Perpetual Adoration Chapel. Please see the sign up sheet in the narthex of our church to indicate the time of your participation.


Living, Suffering and Dying

- St. Gianna’s CWL hosts an informative evening
Thursday, April 21st at 7:00 p.m. at St. Gianna’s Church

“Our modern world is so focused on well-being, on personal flourishing, that we no longer know what to do with suffering, sickness, disease, old age and death.” 

These words were spoken by Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, Fr Darrin presents1President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, in October 2014, when the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) launched its national palliative care campaign. Through the teachings of our Catholic faith, we are called to respect the dignity of life in all of its stages, from conception until natural decline. These values can be challenging to uphold when we are immersed in a culture that hides from suffering and has no time for death.

Join us for an evening of information and reflection on the topics of Dr Mike Harlos2palliative care and the redemptive value of Christian suffering. Our presenters will be Fr. Darrin Gurr, pastor of St. Gianna’s Church, and Dr. Mike Harlos, Medical Director of Adult and Paediatric Palliative Care Care for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

This informative evening takes place Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Gianna’s Church.

* Join us from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for refreshments and appetizers. Visit our columbarium and learn more about its unique mission.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  - Matthew 25:40

For more information, please contact:

Rebecca Skinner, Acting CWL President


Physician-Assisted Death: It's Time to Learn, Speak, Act!

Dr. Mary Shariff’s wonderful October 13th talk on Physician-Assisted Death explained how the Supreme Court of Canada case is much more confusing and vague than the “right to die” movement would have you believe.

Over the next few weeks and months, the St. Gianna CWL we will be embracing initiatives to help parishioners to:

  • Learn more about PAD, as well as, palliative care needs;
  • Speak to others about this complicated issue;
  • Act to stifle PAD and to support palliative care initiatives.

Before you assume that there’s nothing we can do, note that there is hope.

After Carter vs. Canada, the Anti-Euthanasia movement sent out thousands of postcards that requested two things:

  • To set up a panel to gather opinions to guide the government with the legislative response to Carter v. Canada.
  • Urge the government to invoke the nothwithstanding clause.

The government set up the Panel. Now let’s continue this momentum.

Here are two great websites:

To learn more about PAD:

To learn more about how the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians view how to deal with Carter v. Canada:

Visit our CWL Action Table after our Sunday Liturgies.
For more information, contact Acting CWL President Rebecca Skinner at:

click:  Participate in the Consultation

click:  Statements by Catholic Bishops of Canada

click:  College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba

click:  Event Poster


Assisted Death: Implications for Canadians

Date:  Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Time:  7:00-9:00 p.m. (following the St. Gianna Novena Mass)
Place:  St. Gianna Beretta Molla Parish, 15 Columbia Dr., Winnipeg
Refreshments and fellowship to follow.

As you may know, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the ban on doctor-assisted suicide. The Government of Canada created an External Panel responsible for guiding the government in constructing legislation on assisted dying.  The Panel established an online consultation to consider the voices of Canadians. In response, The Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops asked  Catholic communities to  provide their wisdom on assisted death to the online consultation.

St. Gianna's CWL has invited Dr. Mary J Shariff to speak to our parish on October 13th, 2015. Mary is a brilliant lawyer with an extensive resume in dealing with assisted dying.  Mary’s talk will explain the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision on Physician Assisted Death and the way in which Canada currently compares to other jurisdictions that have passed similar laws and possible legal implications.  The talk will be followed by a question and answer session.

click:  Event Poster

Dr. Mary J. Shariff Biography:
Mary ShariffMary J. Shariff is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba. Mary currently teaches Bioethics and Law and Contract Law in the JD program and Legal Research and Theory in the Masters of Law program. She is a Research Affiliate of the Centre on Aging and the Desautels Centre for Private Enterprise and the Law, both at the University of Manitoba.  Her principal area of research is bioethics and law, and her work includes research related to palliative care, aging and death as well as the environment and animals. Her research on end of life has been published in the McGill Journal of Law and Health, Health Law in Canada and the Canadian Medical Association Journal. She is co-author of the 4th edition of the book, Canadian Medical Law: An Introduction for Physicians, Nurses and Other Health Care Professionals (published in December 2013). Mary acted as an expert witness on comparative laws in the Canadian physician assisted death case, Carter v Canada (Attorney General).

For further information feel free to contact:

Rebecca Skinner, Acting CWL President



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