News & Events
Feb 12, 2015
Bishop Gary's Lenten Message
February 5, 2015
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Peace is not simply the absence of warfare,
based on a precarious balance of power.
It must be built daily, and it must strive towards
a more perfect justice among human beings.
(Populorum Progressio, 65)
As we approach the Season of Lent, we are reminded that the bishops of Canada have traditionally set aside this time as an opportunity for Catholics in Canada to learn about, pray for, and concretely support their sisters and brothers in the Global South. The Catholic Church in Canada has done this with the assistance of its official international solidarity and development arm, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, through the annual Share Lent campaign.
Inspired by the principles of the Church's social teaching, especially the preferential option for the poor (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2448), Development and Peace works to facilitate greater social justice in the world by addressing the root causes of poverty and injustice.
Development and Peace financially supports over 100 partner organizations working to build a just world in over 30 countries. Many of those partners were founded by religious communities and Catholic social action movements and are approved by the local bishop or the conference of bishops in a country. Many are also members of Caritas lnternationalis, a global confederation of Catholic charitable organizations headquartered at the Vatican. Caritas Internationalis is one of the largest humanitarian aid networks in the world providing prompt intervention and aid to victims of natural disasters and conflicts.
The main principle behind the Share Lent campaign is to address the needs of communities by establishing sustainable local development. This is done through providing technical and financial support to proven grassroots organizations, who aid and empower local people who are the major stakeholders in those communities. This year's Share Lent campaign forms part of the Caritas Internationalis global campaign against hunger launched by Pope Francis in December 2013.
Entitled “Sow Much Love," the campaign focuses on the importance of eradicating hunger by supporting small family farmers in the Global South. The campaign has three objectives for the parish community: education, renewal of the "spirit of Lent," and fundraising.
It would be opportune within this Lenten season to dedicate some time discussing in whole or in part the Share Lent materials at a parish pastoral council meeting, a finance committee meeting, a Catholic Women’s League meeting, and a Knights of Columbus meeting.
This work of the Church in Canada and our Diocese, so close to the heart of the Church and her mission, is not an option! As with many things, our faith commitment, our fidelity to honouring the will and the mind of the Church in reaching out and caring for our marginalized brothers and sisters, must be a priority beyond judgement or personal opinion.
So as we prepare to respond to Christ’s call to draw even closer to him this Lenten Season, in order to be filled with Easter Joy and empowered to build his Kingdom of Truth, Justice and Peace, let us recall those words of wisdom from the Book of Sirach:
Stretch forth your hand to the poor, so that your blessing may be complete.
+Most Reverend Gary Gordon
Bishop of Victoria