40 years for Development and Peace

By 
  • September 27, 2007
{mosimage} TORONTO - Pope Paul VI had a name for the kind of people who will gather for Mass at St. Basil’s Church on the University of Toronto campus 2 p.m. Oct. 27. He called them “The Artisans of Destiny.”

It was the middle of the Cold War and just after the close of the Second Vatican Council that the pope used those words to describe the people who would lead church efforts to make a real difference for the poor majority of a world split in two by the “international imperialism of money.” In his encyclical Populorum Progressio, Pope Paul proposed a “full-bodied humanism” as the antidote for capitalism that treats people as either means of production or sites of consumption.

{sidebar id=2}The Canadian bishops responded to that vision by setting up the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. Oct. 26 and 27 Toronto’s artisans of destiny will gather at St. Michael’s College to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their mission in the church.

It won’t be all cake and champagne. The Toronto Archdiocesan Council of Development and Peace will celebrate the last 40 years of work on behalf of poor nations and communities with serious discussion about the future of development work.

They’ve invited Fr. Peter Henriot, director of Zambia’s Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, to address a colloquium on how development work is making a difference in Africa today. The Jesuit priest will also deliver a talk about Populorum Progressio and other social justice encyclicals, and how they relate to Development and Peace’s mission.

One of the most important accomplishments of Development and Peace over the past 40 years has been its ability to make development everyone’s concern, said CIDSE secretary general Christiane Overcamp.  CIDSE (Co-opération Internationale pour le Développment et la Solidarité) is an alliance of 15 Catholic development agencies.

“They show that development work is not the exclusive domain of experts, but that it is in essence about the solidarity between peoples, between grassroots groups in north and south, between individuals that have strong vision of a world that is not divided by injustice,” Overcamp told The Catholic Register in an e-mail from Brussels.

Development and Peace’s 40th anniversary celebrations in Toronto get underway at 6 p.m. Oct. 26 at St. Michael’s College Alumni Hall, room 101. Henriot’s address on Populorum Progressio goes at 10 a.m. Saturday morning in Carr Hall, followed by a pizza lunch, Mass with Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins at 2 p.m. and a reception at Fr. Madden Hall 3-5 p.m.

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