Reflections about Development and Peace / Caritas Canada – Holy Spirit Parish, Saskatoon

Joanne Steckler, Development and Peace / Caritas Canada parish representative and Pastor Fr. Joseph Salihu stand with a display of Share Lent 2022 materials at Holy Spirit Parish in Saskatoon. (Submitted photo)

Why am I involved in D&P?

By Joanne Steckler, Holy Spirit Parish, Saskatoon

I first became interested in Development and Peace over 20 years ago when a co-worker, Gail Ciona, suggested that our school should get fair trade coffee in the break room. She was a parish representative for Development and Peace at Holy Spirit Parish, which happened to be my parish.

I listened to her speak during Share Lent, asking parishioners to support the partners that D & P works with in the Global South. I asked her how she became involved and she told me she belonged to the parish’s social justice committee, so I signed up.

When I became the parish rep for D & P at Holy Spirit, Therese LeClaire asked if I wanted help. I had heard her speak at my children’s school and knew she had a long history with the organization. Together, we spoke to our parish about the campaigns, we gathered signatures on petitions and cards, we urged people to donate. The years that I worked with her taught me so much of what I now know about Development & Peace.

As a parish rep, I attended workshops and events supported by D & P, like the Way of the Cross on Good Friday.

I met many people devoted to social justice. One of those people was Betty Jmaeff, our deanery leader in Saskatoon. Her job involved informing and encouraging reps in their work in the parishes. She asked me if I would share the job with her and I agreed.

We worked together for several years and she taught me how to be an advocate for the work of Development and Peace.

When I took over the job of deanery leader, COVID-19 had changed many of the norms in our Church. Mass went online and organizations met virtually. It was and still is a time of isolation. Some of our D & P campaigns couldn’t happen in the parishes in the usual way or at all.

I am thankful for the support of our diocesan chair, Bernice Daratha. Through her example, she taught me that prayer and perseverance are key in social justice work.

I have learned many things over my years of working with Development and Peace. Financial support is important to our brothers and sisters in the developing world, but our understanding of the obstacles they face and our actions on their behalf are just as important.

The other lesson I learned is that you join an organization for the cause, but it is the people you meet who keep you involved.


A Pastor’s reflections

By Fr. Joseph Salihu, Holy Spirit Parish, Saskatoon

If the social teachings of the Catholic Church are our best kept secrets, then our Development and Peace program is the least understood aspect of our faith. Suffice to say, this program is fundamental. It provides grounding to our faith and the parameters for evaluating its authenticity.

It is easy to see the sacraments and worship-related activities as fundamental to our faith but difficult to see how they must flow into our day-to-day relationship with the world around us; however this is defined. There is always a tendency to want to privatize our faith and keep it separate from our social and political life.

My best experience with Development and Peace is the Lenten campaign. We had an active committee, in one of the parishes I ministered, which steered the campaign. Members of the committee took time to study the materials ahead of time and presented them to the parishioners.

To ensure maximum participation, this had to be done before the Sunday Masses. Unfortunately, there was no sustained efforts afterwards. When the period was over, people did not ask any follow-up questions that will lead to the issue (it was environment that year, preceded by immigration) becoming a part of our parish project. This attitude sets the context of treating Development and Peace issues as an addendum to the faith.

A burning issue in this regard is Indigenous relations. I notice that parishioners are far more willing to donate money than to have a real life, transforming encounter with Indigenous People. The ideal situation will be to see our social justice as a natural expression of our faith. Our worship should reflect a sensitivity to social and political issues, and we should engage social and political issues from our faith perspective. It should be a recursive circle. Sadly, this is often not the case.


Share Lent 2022 – Development and Peace / Caritas Canada’s People and Planet First campaign invites us to support our sisters and brothers in the Global South in defending their rights and the planet:

  • Donate online at or during the Solidarity Sunday collection on April 3, the fifth Sunday of Lent. Your generosity helps support over 85 projects in 27 countries around the world.
  • Learn more by reading the Share Lent mini-magazine and other resources available at
  • Sign the petition for strong laws to control Canadian corporations’ behaviour abroad at