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Letter from the President of the CCCB: Invitation to Participate in Development and Peace Annual Campaign "Share Lent"

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Dear brother Bishops:

The media have been bringing to our attention graphic descriptions of the unstable political, economic and social conditions of Haiti. The situation there is all the more tragic since Haiti is one of the poorest countries in our hemisphere, with the highest infant mortality rate in the world and more than 80 percent of its rural population living below the poverty line.

Haiti's current anguish exacerbates an already tragic situation. At the moment, the country's markets are closed; there is little food available; communications systems are down, and the daily lives of ordinary people have been totally disrupted. To make matters even worse, numerous armed bands have helped create a generalized climate of violence.

The suffering of our Haitian brothers and sisters calls out to us as human beings and, in a special way, as Catholics.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, our international solidarity agency, has its annual Share Lent collection on 28 March. I wish to invite you to consider encouraging the faithful of your diocese to be even more generous this year in their contributions to and support of DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE. Ten per cent of all Share Lent revenues are designated for CCODP emergency relief; the current situation in Haiti is a pertinent example.

This means that the more raised through Share Lent, the more that will be available for emergency situations such as we find today in Haiti. Share Lent contributions are not only a way to respond to an immediate humanitarian crisis but, ultimately, to contribute toward projects for re-establishing social and economic life.

For deploying this assistance in Haiti, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE can count on the support of its many Haitian partner organizations, its affiliation with the Caritas Internationalis network, and its contacts with the many Canadian religious communities who have served in that country for many years.

In his message for Lent 2004, the Holy Father reminded all the Church that “During Lent, we prepare to relive the Paschal Mystery, which sheds the light of hope upon the whole of our existence, even its most complex and painful aspects.” May our solidarity with all the world’s poor and suffering, including in a particular way this year the people of Haiti, help us bring new hope to their lives and to our own.

Sincerely in Our Lord,

+ Brendan M. O’Brien
Archbishop of St. John’s
President
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

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Last Updated on Thursday, July 27 2006  
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Canada’s oldest diocese, the Archdiocese of Quebec, was established in 1674. Most Reverend François de Laval was its first Bishop.