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Catholic Vancouver Jul 11, 2017

New local CWL head hopes to keep refugee focus

By Agnieszka Krawczynski

Father Thomas Smith stands next to the newly elected Catholic Women’s League executives at their archdiocesan convention in Coquitlam this past May. (Photo courtesy of the Catholic Women's League).

VANCOUVER—Promoting parish refugee sponsorships remains high on the list of priorities for the new president of the Catholic Women’s League in Vancouver.

Encouraging parishes to sponsor refugees has been a focus for recent presidents, said Angeline Stiglich, the new president of the Archdiocese of Vancouver CWL. And she sees herself continuing that emphasis.

“Most parishes in the diocese have done some sponsorship of refugees and it something we continue to encourage,” she said.

Stiglich is also passionate about finding ways to improve the organization and to encourage more young women to join. “The CWL is a wonderful organization,” she said, and she is enthusiastic about its future.”

Stiglich officially stepped into the role at the CWL archdiocesan convention in Coquitlam in May. The three-day convention at St. Clare of Assisi Church featured speakers on topics ranging from developing a spiritual life to conflict resolution and assisted suicide.

The CWL has been a national leader in raising awareness of the need for improved palliative care and has held two National Days of Prayer or the cause.

It is convention season for the CWL. The provincial convention, which drew hundreds of women from across B.C. and the Yukon, was held in Kelowna June 14-18. The national convention takes place Aug. 6–9 in Charlottetown, where resolutions will be debated for presentation to the federal government.

There are 57 CWL councils in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, making annual conventions the ideal place to connect and share ideas with Catholic women across the province or the country, she said. “It’s nice to get together with old friends, meet new people, and know the challenges faced in the other dioceses.”

Special guests at the provincial convention in Kelowna included Bishop Joseph Nguyen of Kamloops, CWL spiritual advisor Father Edwin Kulling, and Bishop Ken Nowakowski of New Westminster.

The league discussed resolutions on resources for individuals identifying as transgender, mental health care coverage in B.C., age verification on adult websites, protection of conscience rights, and concerns with Bill C-16 which amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.

CWL national president Margaret Ann Jacobs could not elaborate on the resolutions, as they have not yet been approved at the national level.