Following an organizational review of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace – Caritas Canada to improve its collaboration with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, implementation of the resulting recommendations will begin this fall.
The organizational review was conducted by the firm Deloitte and involved the participation of staff and members of Development and Peace, as well as staff of the CCCB and Bishops across Canada. The results of the analysis suggested 14 recommendations, which were then integrated into the four following work streams to facilitate the implementation process:
The recommendations of the report were accepted by Development and Peace’s National Council in November 2019, and several meetings between the Executive Committees of the CCCB and Development and Peace took place to discuss the expectations of both parties in the implementation of the recommendations and agree to a process.
“Throughout these discussions, we never lost sight of Development and Peace’s mission to serve the poorest and most vulnerable of our world and to build God’s kingdom of peace and justice,” says Evelyne Beaudoin, President of Development and Peace. “We all agree on the vital importance of preserving the identity of our organization as rooted in the Church’s social teachings and embodied in and through acts of solidarity; and we agreed to move forward in the vision of Pope Francis of a synodal Church”
It was also agreed that Development and Peace’s National Council will be reduced from 21 to 15 members, with 11 elected representatives from Development and Peace and four Bishops from the CCCB. The following four Bishops, representing also the four regions, will join the National Council at its next meeting in November 2020:
Each Bishop will also serve on one of the four working committees put in place to implement the recommendations for each of the above-mentioned work streams. Each committee will be chaired by a member of the management team of Development and Peace. In addition to the participation of a Bishop, each committee will be composed of members of the National Council and staff of the CCCB. The four working committees will report to an oversight committee composed of two Bishops and two members of the Executive Committee of the National Council.
Preparatory meetings will take place over the summer with the formal work of the working committees to begin in September. The working committees will be assisted by the firm Deloitte, and the implementation process is expected to be completed by the end of December 2020. Regular progress reports will be communicated throughout the process.
“We are pleased with the progress of the collaborative conversations and joint meetings.” says the Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, Archbishop of Winnipeg and CCCB President. “We are hopeful that, as we begin this new chapter of greater and more far reaching collaboration and alignment between the Bishops of Canada and CCODP – Caritas Canada, much good fruit will ensue in our outreach to the poor and those most in need. The necessary changes to be made, as well as the good will and hard work they entail, will help the Church radiate its mission to the world.”
I remember going past the dorm buildings, down the hill, through the cafeteria, and out into the coulees in the Oldman River. It was dark out — the University of Lethbridge hadn’t installed the floodlights yet — and so the only light I could see by was the moon reflecting off of the clouds, sailing eastward on a full chinook wind. I came to the crest of the coulees and just stood there, unsure of exactly what was going on or what exactly I was hoping to accomplish by getting fresh air.
And that’s when He came to me.
The song’s chorus goes:
“And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy that we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.”
It sounds cliché, and it probably is, but I can’t deny that I felt the presence of the Holy Ghost there that night, riding in on the wind, wrapping me tightly in His embrace, teaching me that I am beloved regardless of my academic abilities. To accept that God loves me as a cerebral exercise is one matter, but to experience it in the heart is another matter entirely. I think I began to understand this all more clearly that night. I felt peace in the midst of the academic storm, and joy in the midst of personal trial. Most importantly, I knew that I was His own.
I stood on the coulees for quite some time, the wind washing over me and carrying all of my anxieties out to Saskatchewan (or wherever the chinook winds go). When I finally left to return to another few hours of pounding my keyboard, I knew that regardless of how my academic work turned out, of more importance was that I would turn out, because I have a loving God who will light a lamp and sweep the house to find His lost coin.
I would go on walks outside again throughout my degree whenever I was overwhelmed and anxious; even now, it has been a very present help in the midst of the pandemic. And still, every so often, God finds me on these walks and speaks with me in my heart, and we share that joy together that “none other has ever known”.
Written by Solomon Ip, a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist, Calgary.
When our family first moved to Calgary in 2014, we immediately fell in love with the unparalleled beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Over these past six years, our family has made regular hiking trips in the Albertan wilderness. For us, hiking is a profoundly spiritual encounter with the Divine. Below are several of the spiritual benefits we experience when spending quality time in God’s creation:
Reinvigorated prayer life
The Judeo-Christian tradition has long promoted immersing oneself in the beauty of creation to help us better appreciate the power and wisdom of God. Sacred Scripture is full of beautiful verses and images praising God the Creator. “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1). Daniel 3:56-88 is a powerful canticle of all creation blessing, praising, and exalting the Lord. More recently, Saint John Paul II wrote: “Every time that I have the opportunity to rest in the mountains and contemplate these landscapes, I thank God for the majestic beauty of creation. I thank him for his own Beauty, of which the universe is a reflection, capable of fascinating attentive souls, urging them to praise its greatness” (July 11, 1999). To emphasize this spiritual aspect of time spent in nature, our family begins our hikes asking God to bless our time by making us more mindful of creation. When we reach our destination (the summit of a mountain or a physical landmark) we spend time offering prayers of thanksgiving for God’s abundant generosity in creation. Inevitably when we find ourselves in particularly difficult parts of the trail, we often invoke the intercession of the Blessed Mother to bring us to our destination safely! At the conclusion of our hike, we always thank God for such a privileged experience.
Pushing our physical limits
In addition to affirming the beauty of creation, the Catholic tradition also affirms the beauty of the human person. Saint Paul writes “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you… therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). It is important that we keep our bodies healthy. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati – a Lay Dominican who had a deep love of the mountains and the outdoors – adopted for himself the personal motto of verso l’alto (in English, “toward the top”). This phrase synthesized his way of life: to always seek what enhances, that which carries us beyond ourselves, to strive for the highest goals, to avoid mediocrity, to become the best version of ourselves that we can be. For Frassati, this meant pushing our own physical and spiritual limits. While hiking provides a variety of physical benefits - such as improved muscular fitness, lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, and improved cardio-respiratory fitness – it also pushes us to overcome our (perceived) physical limits. In my situation, climbing to mountain summits is slowly helping me to overcome my fear of heights. Achieving small goals empowers us to attempt bigger goals next time. Pushing ourselves to our physical and spiritual limits forms us into the best versions of ourselves - healthier and stronger temples of the Holy Spirit. Verso l’alto!
Deep, meaningful conversations
Daily life for our family has many moving parts: two parents that both work full time; three young children in three different schools; extracurricular activities; etc. Amid all this busyness, it is important to actively cultivate meaningful connections with each other. Going on hikes forces us to unplug from social media/entertainment and to spend quality time with one another. Hiking together for several hours allows us to engage in deep and intentional conversations. It allows us to share our “joys and hopes, griefs and anxieties” with one another – and with God. These hikes are sacred moments of connection between spouses, parents and children, and siblings.
Written by Dr. Peter Baltutis, associate professor of history and religious studies and the Catholic Women’s League Chair for Catholic Studies at St. Mary’s University in Calgary. He is also a Lay Dominican. Peter and his family are parishioners of St. Patrick's Parish in Calgary.
At this time of continued vigilance during the Pandemic, it is more important than ever to keep nourishing our prayer life, especially for those who are not able to attend any liturgies at our church. Join in prayer with the universal church through the Liturgy of the Hours, Livestream Mass and Lectio Divina. Pray for those suffering with the Coronavirus, those who care for them, and those who are suffering from anxiety during this stressful time.
For the mental health
From the pandemic to the financial market, working from home and experiencing job loss, many find themselves under immense stress. How can this transform us for the better? Find the help you need through experienced counsellors, or take the time to examine ourselves, our priorities and our spiritual life.
Resources at your fingertips
One of Calgary’s newest vegetable gardens is located in the backyard of Elizabeth House (EH), a maternal care home that’s now growing ready-to-eat plants alongside healthy babies. In a world hungry for good news, this project fits the bill, says Michelle Haywood, program manager at Elizabeth House.
Opened by the Catholic Diocese of Calgary more than 20 years ago, Elizabeth House provides supportive housing to at-risk pregnant and parenting women who need a safe place to live. Seeded into two new raised beds, this year’s inaugural garden is busy growing everything from lettuce to tomatoes, carrots and squash. It’s also nurturing at least one young resident’s interest in vegetable production—and it all began with a group of Catholic men who dared ask the folks at EH a simple question: How can we help?
The raised beds, like every other landscape revitalization project undertaken at Elizabeth House since 2017, were built by the St. Peter’s Council of the Knights of Columbus. That’s the year the council’s Grand Knight Peter Dugandzic reached out to Haywood. That conversation laid the foundation of a relationship that’s flourished over four years, thousands of dollars and hundreds of volunteer hours.
“What the Knights have done here is amazing, but it’s about more than landscaping,” notes Haywood. “There’s also a sense of being cared for by this group of gentlemen offering their hands and hearts to help us. It’s hard to put that kind of support into words.”
Love in action
By 2018, Dugandzic was leading a group of Knights of Columbus in some serious hands-on work. Together, the men transformed the home’s weed-filled backyard into a summer oasis, complete with new sod and a new patio, outdoor furniture, a barbecue, perimeter shrub beds and an underground sprinkler. That same year, another council based in Airdrie provided the labour to re-side EH’s home and detached garage.
Last year, the Knights tackled the home’s front yard, again adding fresh sod, shrubs and irrigation.
“Everybody was pretty excited when Peter brought the idea to the council,” remembers Lu Scarpino. Sworn in as the Grand Knight at St. Peter’s this July, Scarpino was the council treasurer when the project began. “Elizabeth House is doing great work and it’s nice to be able to support that. I think we’ve built a relationship that will continue for many years,” adds Scarpino.
Fr. Jonathan Gibson agrees. The pastor at St. Peter’s parish, Fr. Gibson says the relationship between the knights and Elizabeth House reinforces the governing principles of the Knights of Columbus. Charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism have all been strengthened by the project, says the priest. He views the relationship between the Knights of Columbus and Elizabeth House as a real-world example of how these knights live the heart of the gospel by doing work that cares for the women and children who live at Elizabeth House.
With the vegetable garden beds built and seeded, Dugandzic and Haywood are now focused on relocating a grotto built on the grounds of the original EH site in the Mission district. The stone work will be done by the same skilled tradesmen who built the grotto and one at the new Our Lady of the Rockies church in Canmore. The statue of Mary is being repainted by Dugandzic’s wife, Dorothy Voytechek. The new grotto will include a glass panel to protect the statue from the elements.
The grotto will be added to the backyard; already a place of refuge for residents, their children and EH staff, says Haywood. Given the complications of COVID-19, she knows the Knights at St. Peter’s didn’t have their usual opportunities to fundraise in 2020. That means some of the costs incurred were covered by individual knights and their families.
Dugandzic, who’s already working with Elizabeth House on projects for 2021, says he launched the EH project as a way to invigorate the Knights he led. Looking back, he admits the project’s success goes way beyond the physical spaces they created. “Elizabeth House is dear to our hearts. We like the work that they do. That house is nearly always full and it feels good to know our knights have helped make it an even more special place.”
Written by Joy Gregory for Faithfully
Written by Christina Candra, a parishioner of St. Joseph's Parish in Calgary.
Our favourite places
We are blessed here in Calgary, to have so many places available for us to enjoy hiking, both in as well as out of town. Living in the Northwest part of the City – literally 10 minutes of walking distance from our home, Nosehill Park has become our favourite hiking place, and we take advantage to hike it every chance we get, especially for one or two hours after supper during the summer or winter months. The climb to the top from where we live is fairly steep but gradual, and is always worth it – as we’d be rewarded with views of the City, the Airport, as well as the Rocky Mountains all in one swoop once we get there.
In addition to Nosehill Park, the following are our favourite places for hiking with my wife or the whole family, pretty much to suit how much time we have:
Written by Tom Hardjowirogo. Tom and his wife Terry are parishioners of St. Luke's Parish, Calgary.
If the last several months have reinforced anything, it is the extraordinary grace of an ordinary moment lived well. Faced with an abrupt “stripping away” of the extras that made life very full, our little family has had to work hard to claim, in simplicity and joy, the identity of domestic church. It has been challenging and edifying to see the ordinary, mundane moments through the lens of faith.
In the slowing down, we are becoming more aware of the opportunity these moments present to us. We have come to understand more deeply the invitation to elevate them and give glory to God through them. We hunger and thirst for Christ in the Eucharist, for the community life of our parish, for song, and the opportunity to embrace our friends. Yet this hunger has also made all the more clear to me that my little family is the microcosm of that greater Church reality! We are the image of Trinitarian love to the world, through our faithful and fruitful love for each other. As St. John Paul the Great reminds us in Familiaris Consortio, “...the family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God's love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church His bride.” And so we seek ways to tangibly image His love to our children, and through them to those around us. It is incredible how ordinary realities can become imbued with incredible spiritual symbolism. Take, for instance, a picnic!
With four small children there is nothing perfect about the planning, preparing, and living out of a picnic adventure! There is mess, there are spills, there are little hands fumbling at sandwich making and mommy working very hard to keep her patience, while daddy sweats to load enough supplies in the car for what seems like a month’s trip. There is immense effort in the instruction, between the extra time everything takes and the imperfection of the end result. Truly, my humanity rebels a little against the effort when it could be done so quickly and neatly by only me! However, I know that this is a perfect moment of learning in the schools of service and forgiveness. Inevitably I will slip in my patience once or twice as we prepare our food or load it all up. I apologize and ask for forgiveness, and they willingly grant it. I have come to realize that family life is made all the more vibrant by the ready asking for and granting of forgiveness. Certainly, the outcome of our preparations will be rustic. Yet, I am convinced that we have no idea how these moments of family unity, service to each other, and joyful celebration imprint themselves as bookmarks of joy on our children’s little souls.
Every good picnic begins with the preparation. As we plan what we will bring and how we will prepare it, we look to both simplicity and beauty. We pause to admire the vibrant red of a strawberry, the perfection of the inside of our watermelon, or even the gorgeous seedy crust on a loaf of bread. I say out loud, “thank you Lord for the gift of this beautiful food!”. In that moment our children are formed in the habit of gratefully walking through the day communicating with their Creator. We remind them often that grateful people are joyful people. Is there a more beautiful reflection of God’s love to the world than our joy? Possibly not! Even more profoundly, we can recall that the word Eucharist comes from the greek, eucharisteo, or thanksgiving! In this way our simple, thankful, picnic preparations remind us of the Bread of Life.
The time comes to enjoy the fruit of our labour. With our feet in the earth and our lungs filled with healing air, again we give thanks for beauty so tangible as to point our hearts directly to the Giver of all these good gifts. While we enjoy our simple picnic meal together, my husband and I meet each other’s gaze. We do not need to use words to communicate to each other that we are rejoicing in this sacred moment. Our sweet children, noticing that gaze, feel safe and sound in our family’s love. Their little hearts know, despite the chaos that may be in the world around us, that life is very good and we are held by Love. This is the extraordinary grace of an ordinary moment lived well.
Written by Emily Packard for Faithfully. Emily and her family are parishioners of St. Patrick's Parish in Calgary.
Photos courtesy of Emily Packard
Written by Emily Rochford. The Rochford family are parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish in Strathmore, AB.
History of Mission Mexico
“The first book gives an overview of the issues faced by the people. Book 2 is our response. The photographer, is a young man, from one of the villages, who has worked closely with us over the years. Actually, I guess he is no longer young! I bought him his first digital camera 18 years ago and he is now a full-time photojournalist.
The following links will take you to a PDF of the books that I keep on my personal website. Just scroll through and you will have a good understanding of the many wonderful groups we have partnered with and the smiles of so many whom we have been blessed to be associated with over the past 20 years.”
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers