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Members learn about revised vision, mission and values at annual general meeting

By Hélène Gobeil, Communications and Campaigns Director

On January 20, Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada held its second virtual annual general meeting (AGM). To facilitate participation from across Canada, the AGM featured live English-French and French-English interpretation. Anchored by Richard Pommainville, a member from the Diocese of Ottawa, the proceedings opened with a welcome address by the Most Rev. William McGrattan, Bishop of Calgary and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

One hundred and sixty-nine people attended the assembly. There were 84 diocesan delegates, seven youth delegates and four episcopal delegates, as well as observers and staff.

Five members were elected to the national council: Reanne Laurie, anglophone youth representative, elected by acclamation for a second term; the Most. Rev. Martin Laliberté, Bishop of Quebec, elected by acclamation; Danny Gillis for the Atlantic, elected for a second term; Frank Fohr, elected for a second term; and Luc Picard, member for Quebec, elected for a first term.

Brenda Arakaza, the president of our movement, and Kathleen Cross, our strategy and organizational development consultant, then presented the new 2023-2028 strategic plan (available on our website), with a particular focus on the updated vision, mission, values and approaches. Arakaza said, “We have been working hard to develop priorities, strategies, objectives for the next five years. The consultative approach we opted for enabled us to create a strategic plan rooted in shared understandings and principles, which foster commitment from all parts of the organization.”

Arakaza then invited members to illustrate with a drawing what this update of our vision, mission, value set and approaches meant to them.

Treasurer Danny Gillis also presented the audited and approved financial statements for 2022-2023.

Carl Hétu, executive director of Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada, then presented the annual report. He mentioned that since October, the Israel-Palestine conflict has kept many in the organization busy with preparing communiqués; running a fundraising campaign; supporting our partners; and organizing a webinar with Pierbattista Cardinal Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and Anton Asfar, secretary general of Caritas Jerusalem, in which 350 people participated.

Members were then asked to vote on five proposals on a wide range of topics, including member training, the schools program and communications.

A certificate of appreciation was presented to the Most Rev. Pierre Goudreault, for serving on the national council and the executive committee for nearly four years. The importance of his contribution, his discernment and his commitment to the organization were underlined. A certificate was also presented to Jason Noble for serving on the national board for six years. He was thanked not only for his expertise and experience, but also for his warmth and friendliness.

The meeting concluded with a reflection on our mission and values.

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