By Lisa Gall, CCCB Communications Office
[ Ottawa] – A new Office for Family and Life has been established by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).
One of the national priorities for the CCCB is to accompany families in light of the changing realities of Canadian society by working with diocesan/eparchial life and family networks.
During the 2020 Plenary Assembly – and following an extensive period of discussion, consultation and discernment by the CCCB in collaboration with other relevant organizations – the Canadian bishops have approved the creation of a new Office for Family and Life within the CCCB’s current structure, to better respond to the needs of families at the national and local levels.
“Given the centrality of life and family issues with respect to the ministry of bishops, the alignment of the work to be accomplished by the new national office, with an emphasis on strengthening and supporting the role of families in our local communities, will allow us to fully realize this pastoral priority,” said CCCB President Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg.
Beginning Feb. 15, 2021, the new office will undertake its mandate to grow the conference’s engagement with diocesan personnel for family and life issues, as well as to cultivate relationships with external organizations and individuals to promote formation, the exchange of ideas, network-building and advocacy focused on the pastoral care of families and the dignity of human life from conception until natural death.
The office will be led by its first director, Michelle Dabrowski.
Dabrowski was first appointed in September 2020 as the CCCB Research and Resource Development Assistant for the Office for Evangelization and Catechesis (where she supported initiatives related to palliative care, youth consultations, and online resource development). In her new role as Director of the Office for Family and Life, Dabrowski will be responsible for the implementation of all national projects to be carried out by the new office in both official languages.
The Office for Family and Life will likewise support the work of the new Standing Committee for Family and Life.
The Standing Committee is a consultative body within the CCCB structure that is mandated to provide the appropriate CCCB bodies with information, insights and recommendations on questions related to family and life issues.
It will be comprised of four bishop members, as well as non-episcopal members representing anglophone and francophone parts of the country and who have expertise and competencies in areas related to family and life.
The bishop members appointed to the standing committee are: Archbishop Christian Lépine (Chairman), Bishop Christian Rodembourg, M.S.A., Bishop Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., and Archbishop Gérard Pettipas, C.Ss.R. The non-episcopal members will be appointed by the CCCB Permanent Council in 2021 and will include an official delegate of the Knights of Columbus as an ex officio member.
For more information on the Office and Standing Committee for Family and Life, please visit https://www.cccb.ca/about/secretariat-offices-and-services/office-for-family-and-life/.
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