Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
December 24, 2001
Collins issues clarion call for CCODP
Organization enables Catholic to make Christ present in the world
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Catholics are called to bring the "loving presence" of the Lord to those around the world who live in poverty, injustice and oppression, says Archbishop Thomas Collins.
They can do that through the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, Collins said at a Dec. 12 Mass celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
"It's through Development and Peace that Canadian Catholics can truly make the Lord present in the midst of this world."
Some 700 people attended the Dec. 12 Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica. A large portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe, placed near the altar, faced the congregation.
God has come already to this world and we need to seek his dwelling place, Collins told the congregation. "Where could we find him?"
He said Our Lady of Guadalupe pointed the way when he appeared to a poor Mexican peasant named Juan Diego in 1531.
"If we are to seek God here in this world, we will find him in the midst of poverty and vulnerability. That's the dwelling place of almighty God here on this earth."
"If we seek the Lord we seek it there as Our Lady of Guadalupe made manifest so marvellously to Juan Diego."
The Lord is present to those in need, Collins insisted. "We will find him not far away. We well find him, above all, where there is need, where there is a cross, where there is suffering, where there is violence, where there is oppression, where there is injustice. And we must be there at that place of suffering and poverty, which is truly the place of God."
And we must do this "actively, constantly and faithfully," Collins said, stressing that the best way to reach out to the poor of the world is through Development and Peace. He invited them to stop by a display that Development and Peace set up at the back of the church.
"It's through Development and Peace that we as Canadian Catholics can truly make the Lord present in the midst of this world. So I encourage everyone to become actively involved in Development and Peace and reach out to other people through the world."
Catholics can also do that more immediately in their parishes "by looking to those places, not far away, where there is rejection, poverty, loneliness."
Catholics are called to action "because violence, evil and darkness have come very close to the heart of this shining, sparkling society of ours," the archbishop said.
"We ask for the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe that we may be faithful disciples of her divine Son."
"I think this is an excellent statement from the archbishop," said Johanna Loyola, a young Catholic and CCODP member who attended the service. "There is too much injustice and oppression around the world and I think people should get involved in social action."
"I think the archbishop's message is very much needed today," said Heather Jamieson as she left the church. "I think it needs to be said a lot more."
The archbishop is "absolutely" right, said Jennifer Lee, 25. "It's obvious we have to get more involved. We have to share what we have."
Most pleased with Collins' message was the Alberta-Mackenzie animator for Development and Peace.
"I'm extremely thankful to the archbishop for doing that," said Bob Schmidt. "For many years that is what the organization has been saying, that we attempt to stand as witness to the poor, we attempt to serve the poor.
"The focus that the Canadian bishops gave us 35 years ago was to work internationally. So to have this support coming from the archbishop of Edmonton is absolutely tremendous."
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