Money raised in previous Share Lent campaigns has helped Haitians “find new dignity and hope” in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake, said Archbishop Richard Smith. Photo by Michael Swan

D&P's Share Lent appeal launches

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  • February 14, 2012

OTTAWA - Archbishop Richard Smith is inviting Catholics to open their hearts to those in need by contributing generously to this year’s Share Lent campaign.

The annual fundraising campaign kicks off Feb. 22 and runs through April 7. It is the major fundraiser for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, the Canadian bishops’ development agency, accounting for about 30 per cent of its annual budget.

“For Catholics in Canada, the annual Share Lent collection offers a special opportunity to hear the cry of the poor and to reach out to those in need,” wrote Smith, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a Feb. 9 letter. “A few months ago, I was part of a solidarity visit to Haiti, organized by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. It was a moving experience. Time and time again, we met those whose lives had been crushed under the weight of poverty and oppression, but now are able to find new dignity and hope.”

The CCCB has posted extensive reports about the Dec. 14-21 visit to Haiti at www.cccb.ca. It includes a detailed report on the reconstruction of Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake. It also outlines the progress made with the help of $20 million in Canadian Catholic aid through Development and Peace and its Caritas partners.

His Lenten letter also referred to the ongoing process of renewal at Development and Peace under the bishops’ guidance that began after the Holy Father issued his social justice encyclical Caritas in Veritate in July 2009.

“The journey of faith and conversion includes many moments when we see a need to improve and renew society, the community of faith and ourselves individually,” Smith wrote. “Development and Peace is well aware it too must adapt and improve.”

In a reference to Pope Benedict XVI’s Lenten message, Smith focuses on the Holy Father’s reflection on the word “scrutinize.”

“The Lord tells us to scrutinize and be concerned about the log in our own eye, not the speck in our neighbour’s eye (Luke 6.41),” Smith said. “Be concerned for one another, the Holy Father tells us. Don’t be isolated, indifferent or disinterested in your brothers and sisters.

“Reach out to others,” Smith added. “Open your hearts to their needs.”

Smith closed his letter with a further exhortation to be generous.

“During our Lenten journey, let us ‘encourage one another and build each other up... always seeking to do good to one another and to all’ (1 Thessalonians 5.11, 15).”

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