Last weekend marked the beginning of the season of Advent, a time of hope and reflection as we prepare to welcome Christ into our midst. It also marked an important moment in the life of Development and Peace – Caritas Canada.
This past weekend we moved forward with promising adaptations to the governance structure. On November 27, 2020 at our Annual Meeting of National Members we elected 12 National Members to the Council for one year, and on November 28, 2020 the National Council appointed four bishops to join us on the Council. These changes follow recommendations from the 2019 organizational review, fruitful discussions with the Bishops of Canada, dialogue with members and hard work from all involved in National Council.
I want to thank all those who participated in this process. Nearly all Diocesan Councils took part and it truly demonstrated the deep commitment that so many of us have towards the mission of Development and Peace. Guided by your feedback, it was decided we will pursue a model for National Council composed of two persons from each region in Canada (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and the West), one young adult and two members-at-large, alongside four bishops, for a total of 15 National Council members.
In particular, the Structure and Reporting Working Group, collaborating with the National Council Executive and the Governance and Nominations Committee, have been preparing a roadmap for these and future enhancements to National Council. This includes a 2020-21 transition year with a 16-person National Council as we review the bylaws, as well as making sure there is a continued and regular dialogue with members on the topic of governance over the coming year.
It is my great pleasure to present to you the new members of the National Council:
Evelyn Beaudoin (West), President
Tim Turner (Atlantic), Vice-President
Simone Fournier (Quebec), Secretary
Richard Pommainville (Ontario), Treasurer
Most Rev. Pierre Goudreault, (Quebec), Executive Committee
Brenda Arakaza (Francophone Youth Representative)
Richard Beaucher (Member-at-Large)
Most Rev. Guy Desrochers (Ontario)
Christopher Duncanson-Hales (Ontario)
Danny Gillis (Atlantic)
Most Rev. Peter Hundt (Atlantic)
Reanne Laurie (Anglophone Youth Representative)
Most Rev. William McGrattan (West)
Jason Noble (Quebec)
Boris Polanski (Member-at-Large)
Nancy Stuart (West)
National Members for 2020-2021:
Sandra Bourque (PEI)
Ghislain Morin (Francophone NB)
Christianne Vachon-Horgan (Anglophone NB)
Francis Yehouenou (Eastern Quebec)
Françoise Lagacé (Western Quebec)
Keith Gauntlett (Central Ontario)
Frank Fohr (Southwest Ontario)
Gertrude Rompré (SK)
Christine Baghdady (AB)
In the coming weeks, information about the adoption of the final report of the review of our partners will also be shared.
It is an honour to serve as President of Development and Peace and to represent such a dynamic movement of lay people putting their faith into action and living out the gospel through their involvement with Development and Peace – Caritas Canada. Pope Francis has placed a special emphasis on synodality, saying, “A synodal church is a listening church, aware that listening is more than hearing. It is a reciprocal listening in which each one has something to learn.” We truly felt that spirit of synodality during our meetings. We learned together and we shared together, guided by the desire to pursue the mission of Development and Peace standing side-by-side with the people of the Global South.
Let me take this opportunity to wish you a joyful Christmas. As we prepare to open our hearts to the message of peace and love that will arrive with the birth of Christ, it is an opportune moment to begin on this synodal path of renewal and hope for our movement.