Development and Peace heeds Pope Francis’ call for solidarity during COVID-19 crisis

22 September 2020

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

A new national campaign launched by the Canadian Catholic Church’s international development and aid organization Development and Peace began on Sept. 12 to face what the organization calls this “critical moment.”

The campaign, called “Recovering Together”, is an effort to put Pope Francis’ call to put people and the environment at the forefront of efforts to address the immediate global impact of the ongoing COVID-19 health pandemic while also dealing with the longer-term threat of climate change.

“We’ve been very inspired by Pope Francis’ cathechesis series on COVID-19 and the need for a global response that is based on solidarity and the preferential option for the poor,” Kelly Di Domenico said.

“We know that we have all been impacted by the pandemic in one way or another, so it is essential that we come together as one human family so that we can all recover and build a more just and equitable world in the process.”

“The pandemic has put our human family in crisis. Severe malnutrition and extreme poverty are increasing around the world as people get sick, jobs are lost and markets are closed. Vulnerable people including refugees, women and Indigenous peoples face the worst impacts of the pandemic, which began while we are facing another global threat—the global climate crisis,” according to a statement released by Development and Peace about the campaign.

“Together, we have to tackle these global challenges of the pandemic, climate change and extreme inequality that have come to define our era,” the statement said.

“How we respond right now will determine the future of life on our planet. This critical moment is our opportunity to create the greener and more just world that we have always dreamed of,” Development and Peace said of the 2020-2021 campaign that “is focused on global solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Canadian development and social justice organizations, including Development and Peace, have come together to define Six Principles for a Just Recovery to guide the response to the complex crises we face.

According to Development and Peace’s communications director Kelly Di Domenico, the campaign is part of a global movement for what is being called “a just recovery” from COVID-19.

The campaign comes at a time that Development and Peace has itself faced its own challenges financially and structurally after a review of the organization that was initiated by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) eventually came to fruition this year when the organization began the process of implementing recommendations from a Deloitte Canada consultant report that impacts its governance and operations.

As well, the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fundraising and the organizational impact of what was a multi-year review process led to the organization making some tough financial decisions that saw staff layoffs in the summer and pay cuts being implemented at Development and Peace.

Development and Peace deputy executive director Romain Duguay told the Canadian Catholic News back in the spring that this was a “transition year” for the organization.

Fundraising resources and details about the Recovering Together campaign are available through Development and Peace’s website (, and Di Domenico is grateful that despite the challenging financial times that Catholic churches have faced because of temporary church closures and restricted attendance due to public health measures to combat COVID-19 many churches have agreed to help with Development and Peace’s fundraising.

“There are 26 dioceses, including Ottawa-Cornwall, which have agreed to take up collections for us, which is wonderful. In Ottawa, the collection will take place on Nov. 15, which is World Day of the Poor,” Di Domenico said.

“We know that the context regarding COVID-19 cases is in constant flux, and it is not always feasible for collections to take place or easy for people to attend mass in person, so we are also encouraging our supporters to make donations online.”