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Catholic Vancouver Feb. 27, 2018

Cardinal's visit a thrill for local Development and Peace

By Alicia Ambrosio

Archbishop Miller inspects damage following the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in  He was part of a Canadian delegation that visited communities affected by the typhoon and witness reconstruction projects. (Development and Peace photo)

Special to The B.C. Catholic

For local members of Development and Peace, the Canadian branch of the Church’s Caritas aid network, Cardinal Antonio Luis Tagle’s visit to Vancouver is akin to receiving a head of state.

“We are over the moon at his coming,” Felix Durity, the vice chair of Development and Peace’s Vancouver Diocesan Council, told The B.C. Catholic.

Caritas Internationalis is the Church’s international federation of humanitarian aid agencies, and Cardinal Tagle serves as its president.

In many ways Cardinal Tagle’s visit brings full circle some of the work Development and Peace has done over the past several years.

Most Caritas member organizations work on both local and international projects. The mandate given to Development and Peace has the organization focusing on international relief projects.

One of the international projects Development and Peace supported was the relief and rebuilding efforts in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan hit the country in 2013. 

Development and Peace provided funding to Caritas Philippines and formed a consortium, along with several other local aid agencies, to purchase a plot of land. The land was used to establish Pope Francis Village in Tacloban, which provided housing to 600 families left homeless by the typhoon.

In 2014 Archbishop J. Michael Miller met with Cardinal Tagle while part of a Canadian delegation that visited the village along with other projects supported by Development and Peace.

Now it is Cardinal Tagle’s turn to visit Vancouver and meet the people who helped make Pope Francis Village possible.

His visit comes in the middle of the Development and Peace Share Lent campaign, which this year has as its theme “Together for Peace.” The goal is to raise awareness of projects that highlight the role of dialogue in peacebuilding efforts.

Jeremy Laurie, the animator for Development and Peace in British Columbia and Yukon, told The B.C. Catholic the focus of the campaign is dialogue and “creating a culture that knocks down walls and builds bridges.”

Not only is Development and Peace fundraising during Lent to support overseas projects that use dialogue to help build peace, the organization also has a special “Solidarity Calendar” with 40 days’ worth of activities anyone can do to promote dialogue in their own communities.

The calendar suggests four different types of activities: prayer, learning, taking action, and thinking or reflecting. On specific days the calendar also suggests different types of monetary offerings that can be made to different types of initiatives, or saved for a larger donation to Development and Peace.

During the cardinal’s March 19 visit the Archdiocese of Vancouver will be hosting a special gathering, in association with Development and Peace, for about 200 people to meet and chat with the cardinal. The archdiocese will also be collecting donations that will later be sent to Caritas Internationalis.