ShareLife campaign

sharelifeWe are encouraged in Scripture to extend mercy to those around us – primarily toward family members  and especially to those who are vulnerable in our community. The giving of our time, talent and treasure can be manifested in so many ways as we try to make a difference in the lives of people in need. One of the ways a meaningful connection of mercy took place in our archdiocese was experienced by Brittany, a young mother of two from York Region. The staff at Rose of Sharon in Newmarket have had countless opportunities to show mercy over the years.  Acts of kindness by helping new moms and their babies feel welcome is their way of showing compassion. Brittany says, “Little did I know what a positive impact the staff at Rose of Sharon would have on me as a new mom. Here I was, seventeen years old and pregnant, thinking this would never happen to me!” She has come a long way since high school in the past few years, now with her five year old son Ethan and one year old daughter Sarah. Brittany enrolled in the mother baby programs designed to help her become acclimatized to the new role of young motherhood. She was provided with the opportunity to continue her education and look for work, all the while having access to diapers, food, clothing and cooking classes. Brittany was able to find work and use her new-found skills to raise her children effectively in her community. She was able to come back on board with Rose of Sharon last year and become involved in further parenting programs after Sarah, her second child, was born. Last year, ShareLife’s 42 agencies and grant recipients provided 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 2016 goal, while ambitious, is to raise $12.95 million through our ShareLife parish campaign in order to sustain the important work of these agencies.

We demonstrate mercy in our parishes through initiatives such as out of the cold programs, food banks, and parish visitation programs that minister to the disabled, elderly and sick. Our Catholic Family Service agencies provide essential counselling services to families and individuals in need. Safety and comfort is provided to homeless men, women, and youth in shelters like Good Shepherd Centre, Covenant House, Street Haven, Matt Talbot Houses and Sancta Maria House. Seniors experience a comfortable place to live and receive friendly visits at Society of Sharing, Providence Healthcare, LA Centre for Active Living, and Les Centres d’Accueil Héritage. Rosalie Hall, Rose of Sharon, Rose of Durham and Vita Centre provide support to young mothers and their children. Overseas programs that provide for social justice initiatives, the mission of evangelization, and food for poor children are established through the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development & Peace, the Pastoral Mission Fund and Canadian Food for Children. Priests, deacons and lay individuals receive the training they need to enter full-time pastoral ministry through St. Augustine, Serra House and Redemptoris Mater seminaries.  When Archbishop Philip Pocock established the ShareLife campaign in 1976 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. As we now celebrate our 40th anniversary at ShareLife, I am grateful for the generosity that our parishioners have shown over the years. I invite you to join me once again during this Lenten season by making a sacrificial gift to the 2016 ShareLife campaign! We are all encouraged to show mercy to one another, especially for those who are vulnerable in our community. With the help of Rose of Sharon, Brittany has now become a patient and understanding mother, capable of dealing with life’s trials and her growing family. Brittany thanks ShareLife donors for their financial part in helping her grow through the challenges she faced as she enjoys life with her children. The ShareLife 2016 parish campaign gives us an opportunity to reach out and care for one another. My prayer is that you will join me as together we work wonders to show mercy to those who are in need around us.

May the Lord bless you.
Thomas Cardinal Collins

Archbishop of Toronto

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