WINNIPEG — The National Week for Life and the Family will be celebrated across Canada May 13 - 20 with the theme, “Love: Encountering the Other.” In Manitoba that message has been expanded to include the modern challenges of “Connecting in a Media World.”
The annual week of observation began in 2013 as an initiative of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and since its inception the Archbishops of Winnipeg and St. Boniface, and the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg have joined in a united effort in planning for the week specifically to reach the people of Manitoba.
Led by the archbishops, a committee meets throughout the year to discern how best to present events and materials that will raise awareness of issues related to life and the family, from euthanasia and assisted suicide to palliative care and the many challenges facing families of faith in an increasingly secular world. The group includes representation from the clergy and laity, staffs of the archdiocesan offices, the Catholic Women’s League and the Knights of Columbus.
Two events that are always a part of the National Week for Life and the Family in Manitoba are the March for Life, preceded by mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, and the Mass for Life, dedicated to the care of all human life, from conception to natural death.
The March for Life is held prior to the actual week, this year on May 10, coinciding with the National March for Life in Ottawa and marches that take place in cities across Canada on the same day. In Manitoba, the March for Life is preceded by mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in downtown Winnipeg, a short distance from the Manitoba Legislative Building where the March for Life begins.
The Mass for Life, on May 16, will be a Ukrainian Catholic Divine Liturgy preceded by praying the rosary at St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Catholic Church.
As the subtheme of “Connecting in a Media World” suggests, this year there is an emphasis on the effects of technology on family and interpersonal relationships which the bishops and committee hope to address with the following events:
May 9: Screenagers is a documentary film offering solutions on how youth can be empowered to navigate the digital world and find a healthy balance. It is appropriate for adults and children ages 10 and up, 7:00 p.m. at Canadian Mennonite University.
May 15: Social Media: Making it Work in our Church, for secretaries and parish web designers. Learn some practical tips to empower your church to become more visible online and learn how to launch your parish presence in the digital world, 7:00 p.m., St. Timothy Parish.
May 17: Double Taps, Double Lives. Are you portraying your true self on the web? An evening for young adults and youth ministers. Presented by Clayton Imoo, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese of Vancouver, 7:30 p.m., St. Philip Minh Parish.
May 18: Disconnecting Media and Reconnecting Family. Discover how to use media as positive tools for connecting families and maintaining a healthy balance with both social media and technology. Presenter is Clayton Imoo, 7:30 p.m., St. Boniface Cathedral Hall.
May 12: Campaign Life Coalition is holding its fund-raising banquet at the CanadInns on Pembina Highway in Winnipeg.
In Dauphin, four events are planned: a screening of the movie Irreplaceable on May 10 at St. Viator’s Church; a bake sale May 11 at the Marketplace Mall; the Life Hike, May 12 starting at the Knights on 11th Ave. Hall; and a Mother’s Day brunch at the Knights on 11th Ave. Hall.
Details of all these events can be found on the Archdiocese of Winnipeg website.
Over the years a number of videos have been created to share the National Week for Life and the Family in Manitoba with as wide an audience as possible. These include a 2015 event dubbed Late Night with the Bishops, held after the Mass for Life. Using a talk show format, the three bishops were given an opportunity to share what life and family means to them personally. There are also video messages from 2014 with each of the bishops discussing the meaning and importance of the National Week for Life and the Family. The videos can be found on YouTube by searching NWLF Archdiocese of Winnipeg.