by Sr. Cecily Graves, fmm
Now, in 2010, the role of the Diocesan Mission Council is two faceted. First, we are responsible for the churches on four native reserves in the Diocese of Calgary. We pay the salaries of the priests who work at each church, and if and when necessary, we give limited parish assistance. Three of these churches have their own parish priests and administration, a parish council and offer various ministries. One church is a mission of a city parish and is dependent on it for Eucharist and other sacramental services. These native churches are becoming more self-reliant and less isolated, forming bonds with one another and nearby churches.
Mission Council's second responsibility is to respond to the many appeals that come into the Diocese from churches throughout the world. Before a positive response to any of these is considered, it must fit into the category of pre-evangelization, direct-evangelization or indirect-evangelization. Research is done to assure the validity of a request, and to ensure that it has the approval of the local Bishop. Then our council addresses the question of availability of funds and the actual situation of the church within the country.
We seek to share the greatest treasure we have - our knowledge of and relationship with Jesus. Where possible, we show tangible support for our brother and sister churches enduring persecution. This of course cannot be abstract, and often involves material aid. E-mail communication helps a lot and brings a closeness with the people involved, and a better understanding of the situation that we are being asked to support. Currently, we have projects in the persecuted churches of Pakistan and Eritrea. The Philippines, the Caribbean, Vietnam and Africa are home to some of our projects this year, as well.
Mission Council is grateful to the volunteers who give time to work on our stamps and recycled card projects. Also many thanks to the people for their encouragement, monetary donations and notably, to the CWL throughout the Diocese for their support.
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is committing $50,000 towards humanitarian aid in the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines, which was hit by flash floods and landslides triggered by Tropical Storm Washi on December 17th and 18th.
Local authorities are reporting that over 640,000 have been affected by the floods, including 300,000 people who are now displaced and living in evacuation centers or with relatives. This region of the Philippines is not prone to tropical storms of this nature, and was unprepared for the constant downpour and strong winds, causing excessive damage and over one thousand deaths.
According to the latest situation reports from local organizations and authorities, the most immediate needs are drinking water, food, sanitation and hygiene kits and non-food Items, such as bedding, baby clothes and sleepers.
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is supporting the work of NASSA, the national Caritas member, and Ranaw Disaster Response and Rehabilitation Assistance Center (RDRRAC), in some of the worst-hit areas. NASSA will focus its work in the region of Negros Oriental and in Lanao del Norte, providing food, drinking water and non-food Items to the most vulnerable. RDRRAC is working with displaced populations living in the Iligan area, providing food items, sleeping materials, kitchenware, first aid kits and trauma healing sessions.
"We continue to pray for the victims of this tragic calamity," says Fr. Edwin A. Gariguez, Executive Secretary of NASSA. "And we hope that we can share more the spirit of solidarity and hope with our brothers and sisters in need."
For further details about the Development and Peace response to the floods in the Philippines, please visit the Development and Peace website at http://www.devp.org/en/pressroom/2011/comm2011-12-23
The Sahel region of Africa is on the brink of a major humanitarian crisis. This region, which runs beneath the Sahara desert, is facing catastrophic food shortages after erratic weather has caused the failure of crops. In addition, rising food costs have made it increasingly difficult for families to access food.
An estimated 18 million people are facing food shortages due to poor rains, which have had a detrimental effect on crops. This is part of a pattern of recurrent droughts in the region which has made it difficult for communities who rely on subsistence farming to cope. Rapidly rising food costs have made the purchase of food inaccessible to many.
In addition, the armed conflict in Mali has de-stabilized the region by displacing over 220,000 Malians, many of whom have taken refuge in neighbouring countries, which are also affected by this crisis.
Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania have declared states of emergency and have asked for international aid. Senegal, Gambia and parts of northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon are also affected.
Development and Peace is currently supporting local partner organizations in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso with the distribution of food staples and other activities to help communities cope with food shortages and malnutrition.
Local Caritas partners are in action, organizing programs to help communities cope with the effects of this worsening food crisis and Development and Peace is supporting them in these activities. In conjunction with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, we are mainly supporting large-scale food distribution projects organized by Caritas Mali, Caritas Niger and Caritas Burkina Faso. However, there is more that can be done in these countries and others, like Senegal, Chad and Mauritania, which are also affected by this crisis.
Here are some of the activities that you can help support today:
- In Mali, Caritas Mali, amongst other activities, will distribute 1,135 tons of cereals and grains to 3,626 households (25,377 people). They will also support around 100 reserve granaries, a community initiative that allows farmers to protect themselves against price speculation for cereals during shortages.
- In Niger, Caritas Niger will organize Cash-for-Work programs in 69 vulnerable villages and Food-for-Work programs, which will benefit close to 4,000 households. They are also organization the distribution of free food to approximately 15,000 families in extremely vulnerable regions.
- In Burkina Faso, Caritas Burkina Faso will, amongst other activities, support farmers in improving agricultural production and will provide help for replenishing and feeding livestock. They are also distributing 1,688 tons of cereal to more than 2,000 families.
- In Chad, Caritas Chad is distributing free supplies to vulnerable populations in the Sahelian and Sudanese regions of the country, reaching 116,980 people.
- In Senegal, Caritas Senegal is distributing 250 kg of rice and 20 liters of cooking oil to 176,728 people in vulnerable households from June to September.
- In Mauritania, Caritas Mauritania is supporting the construction and rehabilitation of water sources for human and animal consumption as a way to reinforce the resilience of local villages, where 4,300 households are affected.
Information was taken from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) website at http://www.devp.org/en/emergencies/west-africa
Further Information on the current situation in West Africa can be viewed on the following CCODP website links:
Video on Food Crisis in the Sahel
By Kelly Di Domenico, Communications Officer
http://www.devp.org/en/blog/new-video-food-crisis-sahelM (dated August 31, 2012)
No Home for the Displaced in Mali
By Kelly Di Domenico, Communications Officer
http://www.devp.org/en/blog/there-no-home-displaced-mali (dated August 21, 2012)
When You are in Difficulty, to Find Someone to Help You is a Joy
By Kelly Di Domenico, Communications Officer
http://www.devp.org/en/blog/when-you-are-difficulty-find-someone-help-you-joy (dated August 17, 2012)
The Diocese of Calgary is participating in an emergency appeal to assist those affected by the Food Crisis in West Africa and accepting financial donations. All funds will be forwarded to the Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP). The Government of Canada will match all donations made until September 30th.
Donations can be made in the following ways:
- by sending a cheque payable to your parish and earmarked \"Sahel (West Africa Food Crisis)\"
- by sending a cheque payable to the RC Diocese of Calgary, earmarked \"Sahel (West Africa Food Crisis)\" and sent to Pastoral Centre, 120 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB, T2S 2T2 .
For further questions, please contact Jana Drapal at the Social Justice Office at 403-218-5519 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Details on the Government's decision to match donations can be found on the CCODP website: http://www.devp.org/en/pressroom/2012/comm2012-08-09 .
Balkan Flood Appeal
Catastrophic floods are occurring in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and the mass of the Balkan peninsula over the past few weeks. Many of our brothers and sisters in our parishes are deeply concerned about the welfare of their families and friends back home. Many people have lost everything they own. Bishop Henry has requested that a second collection be taken up in all parishes for humanitarian relief. Please see his attached Memo:
Caritas Canada is channeling funds to the respective Caritas groups who are working on the ground to help:
Additional donations can also be made by sending a cheque payable to your parish, earmarked "D & P – Balkan Floods" or by sending a cheque payable to the RC Diocese of Calgary, earmarked "D &P – Balkan Floods" and sent to the Pastoral Centre at 120 -17th Ave S.W., Calgary AB T2S 2T2.
Thank you for your generous contributions!
Please Read Memo: Balkan Flood Relief- Bishop Henry
A Gift of Prayer
Mission Prayer by permission from "The Society of Propagation of the Faith"
Lord, our God, help us to walk with you on the pathway of the beatitudes and to live out your mission in today's world.Bind us to all men and women of our time so that together we may bring the Good News to the ends of the earth.Open our hearts and our Christian communities to the needy, the afflicted, the oppressed.May we radiate the Living Christ and transform our lives in hope of the Resurrection.This prayer we make to you who are living God now and forever.
A Gift of Volunteer Time
Be attentive: To the Spirit of love, healing and service, for a true missionary begins the journey with one's own self then moves on to their family, parish, community and diocese. Only when also called by God do they then proceed to share the gifts of the Holy Spirit to those in need throughout the world.
Our Patron Saint of the Universal Missions, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus was a "cloistered" Carmelite nun who became a Doctor of the Church.
Ways to serve Diocesan Mission Council
For more information contact Sr. Cecily Graves, Executive Director
- Consider becoming a Board Member
- Organize a Parish Mission Committee (discuss idea with your Parish Priest and Parish Council)
- Collect stamps and donate them to Diocesan Mission Council
- Donate used greeting cards to be recycled
- Volunteer your time with the many Outreach programs, organizations and projects in your Parish, throughout the Diocese or in your community
- For more information see Canadian Outreach Opportunities
A Gift of a Monetary Donation
During the meeting of the Mission Board on March 1st, 1972 two major actions were taken. The late Bishop Paul O'Byrne appointed Fr. Joseph Toole as Director and the proposed constitution was presented and studied by the Board. The following month April 12th, an "historical decision" was made that changed how the people of the Diocese of Calgary gave to the Missions, the less fortunate and needy of our Diocese and the world. Previously, the parishioners gave to the Missions via the Mission Sunday Collection which was then given to Propagation of the Faith, one of the Pontifical Societies. Fr. Toole moved; "that persons should be able to donate to the Peru Mission (for the work of Father Malo), through their parish or through the Diocese, and that they receive receipts for such donations." It was seconded by Mrs. Bea Davis and the Motion was carried.
Forty years later the Diocese of Calgary activity in the Mission of the Church has changed extensively to include a number of organizations, to which you could give a monetary donation.
We encourage you to review the different possibilities by reading more information in our section Canadian Outreach Opportunities or, if you prefer, send your designated mission donations directly to Mission Council or Together in Action (formerly ABA) c/o the Diocesan Pastoral Centre.
Let the promptings of the Holy Spirit that dwells in your heart help you to discern where your donations are needed. May God our Father continue to bless you with joy and peace as you help the less fortunate of our Parishes, Communities, throughout the Diocese and the world.
With gratitude we Thank You.