We approach this Lenten season at St. Theresa’s as a time to come closer to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. As people of faith, we invite everyone in our parish to join us in opening our hearts in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Global South and to take action together to build a better world.
For almost 50 years, Canadian Catholics have faithfully responded to the cry of the poor by giving generously to Development and Peace. We have walked side by side with the women, men and children who experience the injustice of poverty, no matter where they may be.
This Lent we are being asked to look into the eyes of our sisters and brothers from the Global South as we continue to take part in the “Create a Climate of Change” campaign across Canada, inspired by the Jubilee Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis and his Holy Father’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. Both are spiritual calls for greater compassion in our world – compassion for our neighbours, those in the Global South living on the margins through our own actions, and our living Earth which so generously provides us with what we need for life.
Working with Development and Peace to bring this message of faith and love to our parish, we offer the Share Lent 2016 Symbols of Solidarity, symbols that reflect our commonalities as human beings, regardless of our where we live in the world and our cultural differences.
Tierra, techo, trabajo, derechos: These are the words of His Holiness Pope Francis. He reminds us that land, labour, lodging and rights are at the core of human dignity. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, the practice of pilgrimage holds a special place as it opens our hearts to compassion and love. As we embark on this pilgrimage of solidarity, let us fill our hearts with compassion and love for those who are seeking dignity: a roof over their heads, work to provide for their families and land to live on and grow their food from. During this Holy Year, Pope Francis encourages us to open our hearts to those living on the outermost fringes of society; fringes which modern society itself creates. Starting today, we offer those symbols to Create a Climate of Change within our hearts, to transform our lives so that our sisters and brothers can live in dignity.
This Sunday we carry in procession at the beginning of Mass, a plant. Thirteen- year-old Liz Benitz from Paraguay tells us that this plant represents TIERRA, the land; the land her community needs to live. Care of the land is vital to the health of Mother Earth, but the farmers in her country who care for the land are victims of huge inequalities, and are losing access to their land. Sometimes, they are even violently threatened. In Paraguay, with our help, Development and Peace is supporting peasant farmers, like her father, in defending their land rights.
For more information about Development and Peace and Share Lent please see resources at the back of the church or visit www.devp.org