Diocesan Letter to Parishioners for Share Lent

Dear friends in Christ,

This year, as we approach Ash Wednesday and mark the beginning of Lent, let us remember that the liturgical season of Lent is a season of conversion. It is a time set apart for deepening our relationship with Christ and seeking inner transformation through fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.

In his encyclical “Laudato Si”, Pope Francis calls us to a “true ecological conversion.” Francis ties together the degradation of the environment with love for the poor and reminds us that the poorest nations in the world suffer the most under the conditions of climate change.

As the official international solidarity organization of the Catholic Church in Canada, Development and Peace – Caritas Canada is poised to respond to these cries. This Lent through their Share Lent campaign, D&P is inviting Canadian Catholics to join in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Global South who are feeling the most significant impacts of the changing climate. The theme of this year’s campaign is People and Planet First. Development and Peace is highlighting the work of their partners who, despite their challenges, are finding ways to live in harmony with their environment. And in so doing, they are creating alternatives to the unjust social and economic systems that both keep them poor and are responsible for the degradation of the natural world on which we all depend.

As we begin our Lenten journey in remembrance of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, let us follow in his footsteps and humble ourselves. In a spirit of sacrifice and the true conversion we are called to by our Church, our Diocese can act as an example of solidarity at a time where moral leadership is more difficult and yet more necessary than ever.

Since 1967 the CCCB has set aside the fifth Sunday of Lent as Solidarity Sunday. In our Diocese, we usually have it at the end of Lent, regardless of the Fifth Sunday of Lent and following the specific time scheduled by the parish. At that time, we will have a collection in support of the People and Planet First campaign in each parish and I encourage you to give generously.

The health restrictions may deter many from attending in-person Mass, so I request that all priests promote Solidarity Sunday in their churches the 5th Sunday of Lent, April 3rd, and online to reach all parishioners. You can make your donations to the campaign online at www.devp.org/sharelent, by mailing a cheque, or by calling 1-888-234-8533.

The Development and Peace campaign gives us a chance to live a rich Lenten experience by uniting in solidarity with impoverished and oppressed people of the world. I invite you to use the liturgical resources provided by Development and Peace this Lent, which you can also find at www.devp.org/lent, so that you can share this message of love, solidarity, and conversion in your parishes, schools, and communities.

This Lent, in Christ’s name, I invite you to place the people and the planet at the heart of our spiritual focus.

+ Guy Desrochers, C.Ss.R.

Bishop of Pembroke

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