Pope Francis encourages us to show loving concern for each other, and in so doing care for those who are often forgotten. As a Catholic community, how does the challenge to show this love for our neighbour manifest itself across our archdiocese? The story of Jamie, a client from Les Centres d’Accueil Héritage, is one of many that are made possible with the support of our annual ShareLife appeal.
After recently experiencing the death of his wife, 96 year old Jamie has adjusted his life once again by moving to Les Centres d’Accueil Héritage (CAH). As this is the only French-speaking retirement home in Toronto, Jamie is drawn by the camaraderie of other francophone friends. The activities and friendship of the residents and staff at CAH gives Jamie the caring love and support he needs. He may be alone in his final years, but Jamie is able to live life happily as he freely shares his personal stories with those around him.
When Archbishop Philip Pocock established the ShareLife campaign in the Archdiocese of Toronto, he was continuing a tradition of Catholic outreach that began over a hundred and twenty years earlier with the establishment of the Houses of Providence. Over a century later, we continue to provide for the needs of the marginalized both here in our archdiocese and in many countries around the world. I am grateful for the generosity that our parishioners have shown for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and I invite you to join me once again during this Lenten season by making a sacrificial gift to the 2015 ShareLife campaign.
Last year, ShareLife’s 42 agencies and grant recipients provided over 381,000 services to over 114,000 people here in our archdiocese, and assisted countless others in developing countries around the world. In 42 municipalities, and in more than 20 languages, those in need received support and care as a result of our generosity. Our goal in 2015 is to raise $12.95 million through our ShareLife parish campaign in order to sustain the vital work of these agencies. While this may appear to be an ambitious goal, we know that it can be achieved with all Catholic parishioners supporting the important work of our agencies through our annual appeal.
This year, the Family of Faith campaign is taking place across the Archdiocese of Toronto. While parishioners are being asked to support the work of the Pastoral Plan, it is important that we maintain our financial support for the ShareLife campaign. There is no duplication of effort – ShareLife remains responsible for providing funding to our agencies and international programs.
We are all called to “show loving concern to each and every person” and care for those who are vulnerable in our community. As in the story I shared about Jamie, we see the face of the Lord to be served and are challenged to live out that call each day. The ShareLife parish campaign gives us an opportunity to reach out in justice and love. My prayer is that you will join me as together we work wonders to lovingly care for those who are in need around us.
Yours sincerely in the Lord
Thomas Cardinal Collins
Archbishop of Toronto