Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 2, 2007
Tell Development and Peace's story to the parishes
By WILF BORGSTEDE
It is time the Church begins to put its money where its mouth is.
I am still involved at the local parish level, supporting the social justice message of Development and Peace and participating in the yearly Fall Action and Share Lent Campaigns.
Development and Peace has been, over the years, one of the prime mentors in my faith life. I must confess that without my engagement in the organization and its witness to the Gospels of Christ, my commitment to the Catholic Church would likely be considerably diluted, to the point of indifference.
The educational materials, addressing the issues and themes for the various campaigns, along with the help and encouragement of the regional animators, have always provided a glimmer of light and hope, that despite all the noisy confusion and violence in this world, goodness, caring and love for our common humanity would still prevail.
Development and Peace, as an organization, has always conveyed, for me, an image of a caring generous organization and the slogan that it has often used, "People First," is one that speaks to this human and compassionate quality.
I would hope that national council, when deliberating on the future of the organization, reflects on this fundamental priority and is not persuaded by the bottom line economics of a business model, that is self serving and carries what Pope John Paul II referred to as "the risk of an idolatry of the market."
If any type of cultural and global transformation is going to take place, education will play a pivotal role. This has always been the vision of CCODP and I believe needs to be reaffirmed by action, by the types of projects supported in the developing world, and also by providing the necessary support for the animation and educational programs in Canada.
After 40 years, I am continually amazed at how little most parishioners know about Development and Peace. Until CCODP is firmly imbedded in the formal structure of the parish councils, it will likely remain this way.
Development and Peace needs a major injection of clergy support. Development and Peace needs to be heard from the pulpit and the issues brought forward need to be addressed and given robust support not only by the laity but by the priests and the bishops.
Development and Peace needs a major injection of clergy support.
If this emphasis became a reality, D and P would certainly be looking at a balance sheet that would allow for the necessary growth and optimism so needed in our current global dilemma. If there was ever a time to advance the cause of issues pursued by D and P, the time is now. We, as a Church and as a people, need more of D and P, not less.
Parishioners need to know more about D and P and need to feel a part of the organization. They need to know, that as a democratically constituted organization, they have a direct hand in the governance and operation of the organization. Parishioners must begin to connect with the organization and its mission. This can only happen if the animators, staff and those active in the organization are given real and enthusiastic support.
It is time that D and P is rediscovered, reaffirmed and reenergized rather than having it move along the road of cutbacks, layoffs and down sizing.
The Canadian Catholic community, on a per capita basis, has never been richer. Why is an organization like Development and Peace scrambling to cover the bottom line?
I believe it is time the Church begins to put its money where its mouth is.
I encourage CCODP's national council to be bold and take up the challenge of being heard. After all, it speaks not only for us in the North, but also for our brothers and sisters in the South. Let your leadership be an inspiration to those at the grassroots level, attempting to give relevance to a message that has been written in the spirit of love and the blood of sacrifice.
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