I hope you all had a blessed Christmas season. As we go into ordinary time and the end of my first year as president, I would like to give everyone a year end review and a taste of what we have to look forward to this year.
1. Inform Members
My first goal was to keep everyone in the loop as to what is going on, locally, statewide and nationally. I hope that these newsletters helped. I will continue to do so on an as needed basis, since some months there is more going on than others.
Our next board meeting is Monday February 8th at 7PM. All members are invited. As soon as the agenda is fixed, I will be sending it out
2. New Members
We are growing! We welcomed 2 new members this year: Dr. Mary Grace Lasquety (who also happens to practice with me) and Sr. Anna Marie Groark. We need to continue to reach out to others and build our membership. There is strength in numbers!
3. Getting Our Name Out
We have been busy making coalitions with other pro-life groups and solidifying our previous relationships. Some of what we have done:
- Continued support of Pro-Life WI as sponsors and working/going to their annual Milwaukee area fundraiser in October
- Supported WI Right to Life, especially recognizing the retirement of their long term leader, Barbara Lyons
- Through Frank Smith’s efforts, we had a guild table at the archdiocesan Seminary Dinner
- We had a table at the Men of Christ Conference and St Camillus generously gave us space at their table for the Women of Christ
- While we did not fill a table, I was a table captain at the Eyewitness for Life breakfast. Jim Linn, who is their medical director, attended as well
- With San Camillus hospice, Pro-Life WI, and the Nazareth Project, we held our first annual Human Dignity at the End of Life Conference. It was attended by 247 people! We were able to get CME and CEU credits for physician, nursing, and social work participants. The reviews were generally favorable and we’re excited to begin planning our next one (more about this later). For those of you who couldn’t make it and for those who did but wanted to hear what the other speakers had to say (or listen again to those you did hear), San Camillus will have it available on their website. Check it out at Stcamillusevents.com .
- Lastly, Dr. Christine Zainer vigorously defended the truth and our pope at the Milwaukee Art Museum’s forum on their piece labeled “Eggs Benedict”. While the secular society defends condoms as a way to prevent the spread of HIV, countries such as Uganda dramatically lowered their rate of infection by promoting natural marriage and fidelity (even the experts say that condoms played a minimal role in this).
4. This has been a busy year legislatively.
On the state level testified for the following bills:
- Abortion ban when the fetus can feel pain (testimony read into the record on the state senate floor during the debate. We also wrote a letter to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). This will save over 80 lives/year.
- Legislation to defund Planned Parenthood at the state level
- Ban on research using aborted fetal organs
- Legislation making sex trafficking more difficult in this state. Present laws have made us the “Harvard” of pimp school in the Midwest.
- At the national level, I spoke with Speaker Paul Ryan on behalf of our WI guilds about passing permanent federal conscience legislation. (Right now, our protection must be renewed with every budget bill)
5. We upheld our faith with our annual White Mass Sunday October 18th.
Those of you who missed it, missed a great talk by Dr. Kevin Miller on “Serving the Gospel of Life: Theological Meaning and Healthcare Applications”. This year’s White Mass will be, as always, October 18th, and Archbishop Listecki is confirmed as our presider. More details to come.
6. We continued our relationship with the archdiocese.
Not only were they co-sponsors with us at the end of life conference, we also serve as members on the archdiocesan bioethics committee.
We are presently in the process of setting up a meeting with Archbishop Listecki and our board sometime this year to see how we can be of greater help to him. Also, we will try to reach out to the various archdiocesan organizations to come to our meetings and see how we can be of mutual support.
7. We have joined various state and national coalitions.
- Wisconsin Against Physician Assisted Suicide
- Health Not Hurt (supporting research that does not involve the destruction of human life or use of aborted fetal tissue)
- Conscience Coalition Working Group (a national group promoting conscience protection)
- We continue our coalition with the other state guilds.
8. We now have a website!
You can pay your dues (hint! hint!) as well as read past newsletters and board minutes. I will also try to keep it more up to date on our activities. Look us up at mgcma.org.
9. Financially, our organization is strong.
Thanks to everyone’s volunteer work, our expenses are low. The biggest expense was the website. For more details, check out our board minutes.
10. With all of this work, we still managed to have some fun.
Thanks again to Frank and Krishna for allowing us to picnic at their lovely home on the lake.
Now for this year. Remember it is an election year, and while we do not support specific candidates, we do support specific policies. Protecting the vulnerable: be they not yet born or at end of life, the poor, the stranger among us. This is what we as Catholics stand for.
If anyone has any other ideas for things we can do (and we’re definitely light on the fun stuff), please contact me at email@example.com. Also, we could use more helping hands.
Lastly, our future calendar. Save the following dates:
- Monday February 8th 7:00 PM at San Camillus Milwaukee Guild board meeting
- Saturday March 5th 8:30 to 1 PM at San Camillus “Lenten Spark ” This is a retreat for healthcare workers to strengthen their faith and renew their sense of service. Especially at this time, in this culture, we need a time to bond and renew. I particularly picked this Saturday since it is the day before Laudate Sunday in Lent, the Sunday of hope.
- Thursday April 28th Wisconsin Right to Life Dinner I hope we can get a table together
- Saturday November 12th 2nd Annual Human Dignity at the End of Life. The theme will be suffering and aging. The plan right now is to expand it to a day long conference
I am also hoping that we can make a table at the various fund raisers for our other local crisis pregnancy centers as well as continue our support for Pro-Life WI and the seminary.
I want you all to know how humbled and honored I am to serve you all as your president this past year. Let us pray, in this year of mercy, that we may all know His mercy towards us and by receiving that mercy, show it to others.