As the snow disappeared the purple crocuses in my yard have been enjoying the sunshine and   are another reminder that Lent is here, a challenging time for most of us with its serious messages f prayer, fasting and almsgiving. May we all enter fully into the spirit of this liturgical season.

“And through these days of penitence
And through your passion tide,
For evermore, in life and death,
O Lord, with us abide”

Content of Convention Books

As first mentor of your council you may be asked about which prayer should be said at noon during your convention. During the Easter season which varies from year to year the Regina Coeli replaces The Angelus. If your convention takes place this year between the dates of 21st of April to June 9th, Regina Coeli (Caeli is an acceptable variant) should be printed in the convention book.

During my presidency it was my privilege to be able to attend conventions in all our six dioceses, each with its own convention book. What treasures these are! Many members like to keep them as souvenirs, and they have even more value for those of you who plan to move up in the League. As diocesan officers, if you have occasion to phone a parish president in your diocese, the parish council report in the book can be a quick reference, and a good conversation starter.

Standing Rules of a Convention

Past presidents are usually expected to submit the standing rules for their annual convention to the compiler of each diocesan and provincial council’s convention book, and since the call for mine will be coming soon, I was particularly interested in what each diocese had used. As you know our league uses Robert’s Rules of Order to conduct business in our regular meetings at all 4 levels of the League. However, for our diocesan, provincial and national conventions special rules are put in place to expedite the business of these larger gatherings.  These are called Standing Rules of Convention, not Rules of Order.

What immediately caught my attention were the variations in the number and type of Standing Rules in each book, some with only six, some with eleven, and one with two full pages!   Three constants were that each book did have a set, and these were always read aloud by the past president early on in the convention, in order to educate convention attendees, many of whom are first timers, about the behavior/protocol necessary for the smooth running of business. At each diocesan and provincial convention attendees were directed to the relevant page(s) and followed along as they were read. The presider then asked for someone to move that these standing rules be adopted.

Life Member Edith Mockler, a much respected Registered Parliamentarian, whom I met at my first and several subsequent national conventions, explained them this way: “The Standing Rules of Convention are a set of rules dealing with the conduct and administration of a convention. Convention business meetings have very strict time limits, so the rules need to reflect that reality. Limiting speeches is usually one rule of a convention. Others could involve seating arrangements and procedures to clarify voting.”

The Standing Rules of Convention must not conflict with our League’s bylaws, and “usually contain both ‘parliamentary rules’ relating to the conduct of business, and non-parliamentary rules.” (RRONR 11th edition, p. 618) If your convention has a designated parliamentarian, she should always be consulted regarding the convention standing rules. To adopt the Standing Rules of Convention, a two-thirds vote in the affirmative is required.

If you have any further questions about Standing Rules of Convention, please contact me.

Diocesan Elections

If your diocesan elections are happening this year, your preparations will now be well underway. Remember that we do not take nominations from the floor for vacant positions. In the case of not enough applicants to fill all positions, your advice concerning suitable appointments would be invaluable.   Perhaps prepare a list of suggestions well ahead of time so that your president can do the necessary groundwork before having to make the appointment. Your list would also be useful if a position becomes vacant during your president’s term.  As my predecessor Pat Deppiesse wrote in her 5th communique:

“Because we have survived (!) we can give testimony that is believable and helpful, offering realistic and practical ways to get through new challenges. Be a joyful mentor, companion and advisor to anyone who asks.”

May God bless you,
Evelyn Rigby
Past President