Richard Gagnon

February 18, 2008


Dear Clergy, Religious, and Faithful of the Diocese of Victoria,

This year’s Share Lent Campaign falls on the weekend of March 9th, the 5th Sunday of Lent. The Share Lent Collection each year goes into development projects sponsored by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace among the poor in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Development and Peace assists the poor of Third World countries in two ways: by supporting community projects in the Global South and by doing much educational work on global issues of poverty and development here at home in Canada.

The theme for this year’s Share Lent Campaign is: “I believe: I give.” The Church’s approach to questions of social justice and the need to have solidarity with the poor should lead us first of all to pray, then to act and to give of our time, talent and treasure. Two billion poor people in Asia, Africa and Latin America – approximately one-third of humanity – do not have adequate, even basic health programmes, educational opportunities, housing or clean water appropriate for basic standards of human living.

In spite of these very real shortcomings, there is also much hope present in the world through the solidarity with the poor expressed and experienced through the agency of many international charities and organizations. Among these international efforts to assist those living in the underdeveloped world as well as those suffering from natural disasters, Development and Peace plays an important role. For example, in Sierra Leone, West Africa, an organization called “Network Movement for Justice and Development” has worked with local groups and churches in 90 communities to carry out development projects in parts of the country that were devasted by civil war. Development and Peace is in partnership with these local organizations and when we financially support Development and Peace we support grassroots projects which are aimed at improving the lives of the poorest of the poor.

In the past, the parishioners of the Diocese of Victoria have always responded generously in support of the poor of Africa, Asia and Latin America. I encourage you to be generous this year as well, in support of the work for true justice among the many who are in need in Third World communities. There will be informative messages from Development and Peace during these Lenten weeks to assist you in developing an awareness of this year’s Campaign goals.

On behalf of the many volunteers who assist Development and Peace in the Diocese, I thank you.

Yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Richard Gagnon
Bishop of Victoria