Share Lent collection for Development and Peace derailed by COVID-19 shutdown: virtual campaign launched

The 2020 Share Lent collection was "virtual only" since churches across the country were closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

The suspension of public celebrations of Mass to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also means a suspension of Sunday collections in parishes across the country — including on Solidarity Sunday, when a major collection happens each year for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace / Caritas Canada.

Marked annually on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Solidarity Sunday includes the Share Lent collection, which is vital to the work of Development and Peace / Caritas Canada. In an effort to provide Canadians with a way to continue to support Share Lent, a “virtual collection” will be held this year, with more information and links found online at  (website)

“Although we are working to find a new date for the Solidarity Sunday, we would like to make this coming weekend a virtual giving Solidarity Sunday (online or by phone to 1-888-664-3387),” said Priva Hang’andu, Saskatchewan Regional Animator for Development and Peace/ Caritas Canada.

Donations can also be sent by mail to: Development and Peace, 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd. West, 3rd Floor, Montreal (Quebec) H3G 1T7.

Development and Peace / Caritas Canada is also asking Canadians to consider sharing year-round through a monthly giving program. By signing up as a Share Year-Round donor, supporters give Development and Peace the ability to respond to needs as they arise. It is expected that Development and Peace’s partner organizations around the world will need support more than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen has written a letter of support for the Development and Peace /Caritas Canada Share Lent collection, but the chance to share with congregations via verbal announcements or parish bulletins has also disappeared this year with the COVID-19 shutdown of Sunday gatherings.

Bishop Hagemoen’s letter about Share Lent is posted on the diocesan website: Link to Letter of Support.

For over 50 years, Development and Peace has supported 15,200 local initiatives in fields such as agriculture, education, community action as well as the consolidation of peace and advocacy for human rights in 70 countries. With human dignity at its centre, a holistic approach to development founded on the principles of Catholic Social Teaching is what Pope Paul VI called “authentic development.”

The 2020 Share Lent focus is in solidarity with the Indigenous and traditional communities of the Amazon, and calls on Canadians to again act to support and protect “Our Common Home” — in particular the vital ecosystems of the Amazon and the vulnerable people who live there.

Development and Peace‘s For our Common Home campaign, which was launched in the fall of 2019 and continues over the Lenten season, responds to Pope Francis’s call in the encyclical, Laudato Si’, to care for the Earth and its peoples

“At this Lenten time, we turn our prayers and action toward supporting our sisters and brothers in the Global South who protect the forests, lands, air and water, and as such are preserving our common home for present and future generations. We invite all people of good will to give with their hearts to support Development and Peace‘s programs in Canada and in the Global South, and to act in solidarity with the most vulnerable people,” says Serge Langlois, Executive Director of Development and Peace / Caritas Canada.

A variety of materials exploring the Share Lent theme can be found online: LINK to RESOURCES, including videos: