Serge Langlois

D&P has an offer that’s hard to refuse

  • September 7, 2017

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is offering something for nothing until Oct. 20 — membership in one of Canada’s biggest and oldest social justice organizations.

Celebrating its 50th year, Development and Peace has been giving away free memberships all year. So far, it has signed up 2,500 new members. That brings its membership close to its historic high of 10,000. As the free membership giveaway winds down over the next month, Development and Peace executive director Serge Langlois wants to exceed that number.

“We would like as many people as possible to join,” Langlois told The Catholic Register in an email. “We can’t make the world a better place and more just without people coming together in solidarity with those who are experiencing injustice, oppression and poverty.”

The renewal at Development and Peace isn’t just about more members. The organization has also been adding younger members and giving young people responsible roles.

“We have two youth who sit on our board and we have youth groups across the country,” Langlois explained. “You can see the inspiration that these younger members get from being around (older) people who protested apartheid and sweatshops. (Young and older members) have so much to learn from one another and accomplish together.”

Membership isn’t just a card in your wallet or mass emails in your in-box.

“Our membership is directly tied to our governance. We have elected diocesan councils in 47 dioceses across Canada and these councils meet at regional meetings to elect our board members,” said Langlois.

After Oct. 20, membership will once again cost $5 a year.

“Development and Peace is first and foremost a social movement for global justice,” Langlois said. “And you can’t be a movement without people. Our members have a real sense of ownership and investment in the organization.”

When the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops set up Development and Peace right after the Second Vatican Council they wanted it to be a lay movement, Langlois said.

“And it continues to function as such today,” he said. “We are democratically governed and, as a movement, we are a group of people who share a common outlook.”

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