D&P’s Share Lent seeks to foster change

  • February 18, 2016

Each year during Lent the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace makes its major push for funding, tapping the one source that not only keeps the organization afloat but also the only source of funding that can validate its existence — ordinary Canadian Catholics.

This is the 49th year of Share Lent for Development and Peace and every year the need has been great.

Development and Peace supports partners in the Global South facing unfair social, political and economic structures, allying with groups there for social change while educating Canadians about the causes of poverty.

“The sense of urgency with every year seems to increase,” Development and Peace executive director David Leduc told The Catholic Register as Share Lent got underway Ash Wednesday.

This will be the second Share Lent campaign in which Development and Peace offers a free Lenten app on Google Play and the iTunes App Store. The app offers daily reflections that connect Lent with the work of Development and Peace partners in countries such as Palestine, Paraguay and the Central African Republic.

The app and the entire Share Lent campaign start with the phrase “Create a Climate of Change.” But it’s not just any change. The campaign aims for the kind of change Pope Francis called for in Laudato Si’, his major encyclical on the environment.

“The impact of climate change, which is highlighted so tremendously by Pope Francis’ encyclical this year, has really given tremendous wind beneath the wings of a collective movement to bring change and action to the question of climate change,” said Leduc. “That requires a two-pronged approach — here in Canada, reflecting on the choices we make in life and on where we are, which is in the spirit of Lent; and making choices that will have an impact on our lives locally and on the global community we’re part of.”

It’s a traditional Lenten call for conversion. The program highlights connections between personal, individual choices and a better world in a six-minute YouTube video.

This year’s campaign is just as interested in helping Canadians reduce their carbon footprint as it is in persuading people to give. It isn’t just about the money. It’s also about bringing Catholics together in shared concern for the world they live in, said Leduc.

“People have been extremely generous in Catholic communities across Canada in the work of Development and Peace,” he said. “It’s something we would like to continue to grow — the element of sharing with all of those who so generously support us. We want to share the impact of the work we’re doing, so it becomes a little bit more part of their daily lives.”

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