Human Dignity: More than Ever

Wednesday, February 20 2013

EN-Human_DignityCommitment to human dignity is needed more than ever in our world today. One billion among us go hungry, and countless others are sacrificed to the idols of greed, violence, and war.

Belief in human dignity has been the driving force of the Canadian Catholic Organization of Development and Peace for the past 45 years.  It is not economic progress but the human person, made in the image of God, who is at the heart of its mission. This gives a special quality to the work of Development and Peace, which would not be possible without your generous support of the Share Lent campaign.

What is this special quality? To believe in human dignity is to be convinced that poverty is not simply a material problem to be solved. Poverty is instead a call to journey together with the poor in search of the Kingdom of God – where justice and peace reign.

I myself have spent time in Haiti with Development and Peace. I have seen this special quality. The people I met were as grateful for the gift of our presence as they were for that of our financial support, which has changed the lives of many in the country.

My experience in Haiti recalls for me the words of the Holy Father, who tells us that, “Practical activity will always be insufficient, unless it visibly expresses a love for the human person, a love nourished by an encounter with Christ. My deep personal sharing in the needs and sufferings of others becomes a sharing of my very self with them… I must be personally present in my gift.” (Deus Caritas Est, 34)

Development and Peace is the visible expression of our love as Canadian Catholics for the human family and of our hope that the world can be a better place for all.

I invite you to be personally present in your gift to Share Lent 2013.  Start by truly reading and reflecting on the stories in these pages. They are stories from countries where Development and Peace is working for human dignity with courageous men and women. May their witness call all of us to deepen our own commitment to the dignity of each and every person.

+ Richard Smith
Archbishop of Edmonton
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops