SASKATOON — The upcoming 50th anniversary of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace in 2017 was highlighted during a diocesan Administration Day held Sept. 13 in Saskatoon, with a reflection during morning prayer and a display of quilt patches on hand throughout the day.
Celena Komarnicki, youth minister at Holy Spirit Parish, introduced the display, which included cloth art pieces created by dioceses in Western Canada for an anniversary quilt project. On a pilgrimage that began Ash Wednesday 2016, the quilt patches are making their way across the country, with more patchwork squares being added along the way, created by Catholic dioceses, youth groups and partner groups around the world.
The designs represent the way that Canadians have acted in solidarity with the poor and marginalized peoples of the world through the outreach of Development and Peace, which was founded in 1967 by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in response to Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter Populorum Progressio, which said that development is the new word for peace.
The Diocese of Saskatoon quilt patch was created by Colleen Hushagen of St. Peter’s Parish in Muenster, featuring images of a tree, seeds, and a hand. The tree symbolizes the peoples of the world as one family of God, responsible for each other. The seeds are a reference to the growth and sustenance required to live. The hand is a symbol of our ability to help others.
The quilt patch Hushagen created in May 2016 was made using the confetti method: tiny pieces of each colour were cut and placed on the square, then held in place by tulle. “When this process was completed to my satisfaction, the stipple quilting was done over all,” states the artist in an explanation accompanying the display.
“When the patches complete their pilgrimage just before Easter 2017, they will be sewn together to create a huge quilt, symbolic of efforts to promote justice, love and peace,” explained Komarnicki. “On behalf of Bishop Don and Development and Peace we thank you for your generosity, and support during Share Lent and for the acts of solidarity you have carried out during our fall education and action campaigns.”
Over the past 50 years about $600 million has been raised for Development and Peace, which has supported some 15,200 projects around the world, she reported.
“How many of you have prayed, fasted, educated, advocated, donated, or raised funds, taken leadership, attended workshops, signed postcards, or even just made a pot of soup?” Komarnicki queried. “We give thanks to God for your compassionate and merciful hearts, which have helped our sisters and brothers around the world to live in dignity.”
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is the official international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada, and is the Canadian member of Caritas Internationalis. It is a membership-led organization supported by parish collections, individual donations and government grants.
Development and Peace seeks ways to help people of all faiths in the Global South break the cycle of poverty through community based, sustainable development initiatives. Since 1967, Development and Peace supports partners working to improve living conditions in some 70 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Middle East.
Funds support grassroots organizations run by people who know first hand the issues facing the developing world. These overseas partners help determine the nature of Development and Peace’s involvement abroad.
Development and Peace also solicits donations from Canadians to provide emergency relief abroad for natural disasters, civil disturbances and other human tragedies, as well as raising awareness and calling for action through the fall postcard campaign in parishes across Canada.