By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Celebrating the Catholic Women's League

On Saturday night I joined with over 600 people to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Canada's first Catholic Women's League council, which was formed here in Edmonton. The CWL is definitely an organization worthy of celebration.

I've been observing the service of the CWL to both Church and country for a long time now as both priest and Bishop. It is a community of women who are steadfastly faithful to their Catholic identity. I am convinced that we can offer no greater service to our country and world than to be what we are, to be Catholic, authentically Catholic. In many ways we can look to the CWL as an example.

To be Catholic is to be convinced, in every fibre of our being, that there is nothing more beautiful than to know Jesus Christ. Therefore the Catholic will centre her or his life on prayer, the study of the Word, and the celebration of the sacraments, in order to grow in the knowledge of Christ and his love. Time and again I have seen the CWL look for ways to help their members fulfill their desire to grow in the faith, both within the League and in the all-important context of the family.

To be Catholic is to be a person of communion. We are, after all, the Body of Christ. This requires communion with the Holy Father and the College of Bishops. It demands a common fidelity to the teaching of the Church. I have seen in the CWL a remarkably consistent commitment to the Church's doctrine and a ready willingness to bring it to bear on fundamental social issues of the day.

To be Catholic is to reach out in love and compassion to the needy. In fact, that's how the first council in Edmonton and Canada came to be, born of concern for immigrants. A commitment to charity and justice cannot be absent from a Catholic life authentically lived. Neither, therefore, can it be lacking in the life of any Catholic institution. Far from absent, this commitment is in the forefront of the CWL, locally, nationally and internationally.

Happy centennial to the CWL of Edmonton! They will have many occasions throughout the remainder of this year to celebrate this milestone, including the hosting of the 2012 national convention, and celebrate they should. Indeed, we should all celebrate them because of the remarkable witness and service they provide in both the Church and community.