Development and Peace echoes Pope Francis’ call for solidarity in time of crisis with new campaign to respond to COVID-19

Development and Peace has launched a campaign focused on recovery from COVID-19 (image from

By Brian Dryden, Canadian Catholic News

[Ottawa – CCN]  – A new national campaign launched by the Canadian Catholic Church’s international development and aid organization Development and Peace/Caritas Canada is striving to face what the organization calls a “critical moment.”

The campaign, titled “Recovering Together”, echoes Pope Francis’ call to put people and the environment at the forefront of efforts to address the immediate global impact of the ongoing COVID-19 health pandemic, while also dealing with the longer-term threat of climate change.

“The pandemic has put our human family in crisis. Severe malnutrition and extreme poverty are increasing around the world as people get sick, jobs are lost and markets are closed. Vulnerable people including refugees, women and Indigenous peoples face the worst impacts of the pandemic, which began while we are facing another global threat—the global climate crisis,” according to a statement released by Development and Peace about the campaign.

“Together, we have to tackle these global challenges of the pandemic, climate change and extreme inequality that have come to define our era,” the statement said.

“How we respond right now will determine the future of life on our planet. This critical moment is our opportunity to create the greener and more just world that we have always dreamed of,” Development and Peace said of the 2020-2021 campaign that “is focused on global solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to Development and Peace’s communications director Kelly Di Domenico, the campaign is part of a global movement for what is being called “a just recovery” from COVID-19.

“We’ve been very inspired by Pope Francis’ cathechesis series on COVID-19 and the need for a global response that is based on solidarity and the preferential option for the poor,” Di Domenico said.

“We know that we have all been impacted by the pandemic in one way or another, so it is essential that we come together as one human family so that we can all recover and build a more just and equitable world in the process.”

The campaign comes at a time that Development and Peace has itself faced its own challenges financially and structurally after a review of the organization that was initiated by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) eventually came to fruition this year when the organization began the process of implementing recommendations from a Deloitte Canada consultant report that impacts its governance and operations.

As well, the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fundraising and the organizational impact of what was a multi-year review process led to the organization making some tough financial decisions that saw staff layoffs in the summer and pay cuts being implemented at Development and Peace.

Development and Peace deputy executive director Romain Duguay told the Canadian Catholic News back in the spring that this was a “transition year” for the organization.

Fundraising resources and details about the Recovering Together campaign are available through Development and Peace’s website and Di Domenico is grateful that despite the challenging financial times that Catholic churches have faced because of temporary church closures and restricted attendance due to public health measures to combat COVID-19, many churches have agreed to help with Development and Peace’s fundraising.

“There are 26 dioceses, including Ottawa-Cornwall, which have agreed to take up collections for us, which is wonderful. In Ottawa, the collection will take place on Nov. 26, which is World Day of the Poor,” Di Domenico said.

In the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, the collection will take place on Nov. 15, the weekend of an annual “Diocesan Mission Work” collection, with 50 per cent of that collection to be directed to the Development and Peace “Recovering Together” campaign.

“We know that the context regarding COVID-19 cases is in constant flux, and it is not always feasible for collections to take place or easy for people to attend Mass in person, so we are also encouraging our supporters to make donations online,” noted Di Domenico.