March 3, 2022
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
For almost as long as I can remember, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development & Peace has been a part of the faith life of countless Catholic across our country. Some of my earliest memories of Lent are of the colorful Share Lent coin boxes and the opportunity to give to those in need. The annual collection invited me to look beyond my own community to those places in the world where people struggle for dignity, freedom, and the basic necessities of life.
In Lent 2022, Development & Peace returned to running its Share Lent collection in our parishes, after eight years as a partner in the Together We Serve Annual Appeal. While that partnership bore much fruit, it limited the organization’s ability to engage Catholics in the dual nature of its work: education and fundraising. The time has come for Development & Peace to re-establish its presence in the Archdiocese of Edmonton and in the faith life of each one of us.
I encourage our parishes to open their doors to Development & Peace and to support both its Share Lent campaign and year-round educational efforts. I invite our Catholic schools to partner with Development & Peace in its Schools’ Program, Think Fast and fundraising initiatives. Above all, I invite all Catholics in the Archdiocese of Edmonton to learn more about Development & Peace and its current priorities, achievements and aspirations.
Grounded in the social teaching of the Catholic Church, Development & Peace engages deeply in the work of charity and advocates strongly for the poor and oppressed. With over 10,000 members, Development & Peace supports projects that mobilize action for change, moved by its Catholic identity and mission. Both its members and its work are inspired by and deeply rooted in Sacred Scripture, which calls us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable before our own – a responsibility the Church calls the preferential option for the poor. Although uncomfortable at times, the prophetic nature of Development & Peace’s work often challenges us to consider our own role in social, economic and environmental inequities that can harm those beyond our borders.
In 2021, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and Development & Peace completed a joint review of the organization’s structure and partners. The purpose of the review was to strengthen the relationship between the Bishops and Development & Peace, and to assure Catholics that the mission and projects undertaken by its global partners continue to align with the moral and social doctrine of the Church. With the review now complete, and the implementation of changes arising from it, I have no hesitation in endorsing Development & Peace, its Share Lent campaign, and its active presence in the Archdiocese of Edmonton.
When you support Development & Peace-Caritas Canada, you are engaging with our Lord in His mission to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, and to let the oppressed go free (cf. Luke 4:18). I extend my heartfelt thanks to the members of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development & Peace for their devoted service, and to all donors for their generous support.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
✠ Richard W. Smith
Archbishop of Edmonton
Download: Letter from Archbishop Smith (PDF, 2 pages)