Development & Peace recognizes Michael Beckermann’s life and contributions


Michael Beckermann, aged 80, died August 18, 2017 at the Welland General Hospital after a lengthy illness.

Born in Germany, Michael came to Canada in 1957 and received a degree in engineering from McGill University, Montreal. After moving to the Niagara region he worked at Atlas Steel, Welland, for many years.

Following retirement, he continued his strong commitment to social justice through his work with Development & Peace, CRA Community Tax Clinics, Kairos, Sisters of Loretto, and many volunteer activities.

The St. Catharines diocesan council for Development & Peace wishes to recognize the exemplary life and contributions of Michael to the Church’s mission to advance social justice.

He was instrumental in directing and promoting the work of Development & Peace in building democratic structures, furthering the cause of peace, and campaigning for the equitable distribution of natural resources and environmental justice. In 2011 the national council of Development & Peace formally recognized Michael and Eileen McCarthy, of St. Catharines Diocese, for their commitment to social justice over many years, and for their efforts to improve living conditions for the poorest of the poor in the Global South.

At his funeral Mass August 31, 2017, held at Our Lady of Peace, Niagara Falls, Fr. Craig Morrison, O. Carm, reminded the congregation of the etymological and authentic relationship between Michael and Micah (who is like God) during his homily on Micah 6:8 “This is what God asks of you, only this; to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.” Michael lived by these words.

Long-time friend and fellow council member, David Diston, confirms the connection reporting that, “Michael was no extrovert cheerleader, but a thoughtful man who recognized that his areas of strengths and ability to serve social justice lay in quiet leadership and support roles.

“During much of my term as president of the St. Catharines diocesan council for Development & Peace, Michael was treasurer of the national council covering all of Canada. His support was total, from ride-sharing in his beloved VW diesel vehicles to joining me at meetings with then Bishop O’Mara to ensure the bishop’s practical and effective support of the annual Share Lent educational and fund-raising activities. Michael was always available with advice and support,” Diston related.

Diston speaks for the diocesan council past and present in praying, “May Michael rest in peace in God’s happiness.”