Letter Regarding Recognition of Two CCODP Projects by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum

Tuesday, February 17 1998

Mr. Raymond Boucher
Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
5633 Sherbrooke Est
Montréal, Québec H1N 1A3

Dear Mr. Boucher:

It was with great pleasure that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops learned that the Pontifical Council Cor Unum has recognized two projects of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) as part of the 100 PLUS Projects of the Holy Father. Please communicate our congratulations to your National Council, staff and members.

We were especially pleased to see, in the context of the recent Synod of Bishops for America, that one of the projects selected by the Holy Father was a Mexican human rights network that is active in the state of Chiapas, specifically in the troubled Diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas. Our episcopal colleague, Most Reverend Samuel Ruíz, has played a monumental role there in providing pastoral and social ministry in defence of the indigenous population, and in attempting to build a just and lasting peace.

Several other Church-based human rights organizations also participate in this Mexican network, which is a privileged partner of the Canadian Inter-Church Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (ICCHRLA). Through ICCHRLA’s work, funded over the last 20 years by both CCODP and our Conference, Canadians are able to express their international solidarity with Mexican human rights organizations that richly deserve our support as well as this gracious honour from the Holy See.

The other project that was chosen, in Benin, Africa, is a testament to the vision and leadership of Archbishop Isidore de Souza of Cotonou and his collaborators in the diocesan development office. It is especially exciting because this project originates with the poor and vulnerable themselves. Their work is an expression of the leadership capacity of African women who are developing micro-enterprises in the poorest neighbourhoods. It is encouraging to hear this successful project may soon be replicated throughout the Archdiocese of Cotonou.

Again, congratulations for this papal honour. We pray that it encourage Development and Peace to continue to serve in solidarity, not only through these two particular projects but also through your many others of which we can also be equally proud.

Yours sincerely in the Lord,

+ Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte
Archbishop of Montreal
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops