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Fr Bob Writes – Feb 18, 2018

A Message from Development and Peace:

Share Lent 2018 Address

Sisters and brothers, may peace be with you! It is with a similar greeting that millions of our sisters and brothers greet each other every day on our Earth, our common home.

These greetings invite us to cultivate peace. They express that we recognize the presence of the other by our side and that we welcome them; that we wish to live in peace and that we choose dialogue as our means of communication.

Together for Peace is the theme of this year’s Share Lent campaign, which really speaks to people. Why? Because we all wish for peace to reign in the world, our world. Because it is an appeal that resonates with the events happening in our world today and is a rallying cry that brings hope to the generations of today and tomorrow.

Together for Peace invites us to promote dialogue as the primary way to build peace; dialogue between you and me and between peoples. Intergenerational, intercommunal, and interreligious dialogue. Dialogue for conflict prevention and resolution. Dialogue for forgiveness, reconciliation, and to live more harmoniously together.

We all need to ask ourselves this question: How am I, on a daily basis, an instrument of peace for myself, for the people I’m in contact with, whether it be those in my family, my community, or my workplace, and for my sisters and brothers in the Global South? This question is especially relevant during the Lenten season, a time of preparation for Easter; a time for introspection, for getting in touch with others and with God; a time for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

We rightly say, that we are “Happy to be artisans of peace!” This declaration makes us realize that peace is an endeavour that must be built from our own hands. It is a vocation that requires commitment, passion, patience, and perseverance, and must be lived out daily through our gestures of welcome, compassion, service, dialogue, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Peace on a global scale begins by first growing in our hearts, minds, and attitudes. It is through our small everyday actions that world peace is made possible. Development and Peace partners take such

fruitful actions. They are instruments of peace and beacons of hope in our world. These partnerships and the work achieved through them are made possible thanks to our solidarity, our donations, and our generosity.  The following examples testify to this rich collaboration:

In Lebanon, our partner Adyan contributes to peace in the Middle East. The organization helps foster cultural and religious tolerance by offering conferences, training sessions, and workshops on peace, reconciliation, and coexistence. Adyan’s work is essential in this part of the world, wounded by past and present wars.

In Cambodia, the Indigenous Community Support Organization (ICSO) is a partner organization that works with the country’s minority Indigenous communities to help them have their rights recognized by the government, defend their land from corporate interests, and develop economic activities that are sustainable and allow them to live in dignity.

In Peru, the Bartolomé de Las Casas Institute runs the Hugo Echegaray leadership school, which trains community leaders. Students strengthen their capacity for creating dialogue, consensus, participation, and consultation so they can exercise ethical and responsible grassroots leadership in their communities.

In Nigeria, Development and Peace partner SERAC, (the Social and Economic Rights Action Center), works with communities that are victims of forced evictions. They train community leaders from some of the most marginalized communities on human rights and political issues so they have the knowledge and tools to engage in effective dialogue with the government and political authorities.

The Share Lent campaign Together for Peace invites us to show solidarity with our sisters and brothers who, like us, participate in building peace in the world.

So that Development and Peace and its partners can continue to be artisans of peace in the world, we appeal to your generosity.

I thank you, on their behalf, for your donation. Together, let us support Development and Peace partners.  Together, let us be proud to be artisans of peace!