The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace’s “Solidarity Quilt” was on display at the 50th anniversary Mass in Toronto March 4. Photo by Michael Swan

D&P’s fifty years of solidarity celebrated

  • March 7, 2017

Toronto Development and Peace members celebrated a half-century of solidarity at a Mass in St. Michael’s Cathedral with Cardinal Thomas Collins March 4.

“Over the years, these 50 years, Development and Peace has been there in our tangible world,” Collins told about 300 Development and Peace members in attendance at the cathedral.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace was founded in 1967, the same year Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical on global poverty and development, Populorum Progressio. As a membership-driven, lay movement, Development and Peace has delivered over $600 million in investments and programs to poor communities around the world through partnerships with local, grassroots organizations. In Canada, Development and Peace members have lobbied Ottawa and engaged with corporate Canada on behalf of the poor in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

It’s all about the real, concrete, tangible truths of Christian faith, Collins said.

“It is simply false, false, false that our faith is an ideal,” he said. “We do not follow the Christian ideal. Our faith is tangible, real…. It is not merely some intellectual fantasy.”

After Mass, Development and Peace member Peter Luk said he was surprised to learn from Collins how committed and passionate Canada’s bishops are about the organization.

Luk called his own membership in Development and Peace “very important to me.”

“It helps my personal conversion in terms of faith,” he said.

As part of its 50th anniversary, Development and Peace is offering free memberships.

“A lot of people don’t know about D&P, and it’s so important,” said Development and Peace member Patricia Griffith.

For Bridget Feng, her membership in Development and Peace is all about helping to build peace in a world that is producing wave after wave of refugees — to the tune of 64 million whom the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees currently counts as refugees, internally displaced or at risk of becoming refugees.

“We have to serve one another,” Feng said. “If we served one another there would be more peace on Earth.”

At the Mass, the Toronto Council of Development and Peace displayed the 50th anniversary “Solidarity Quilt” made up of squares contributed by diocesan councils across the country.

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