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A world without Catholic Charities?

Carlos Ferreira

Friday, April 12, 2013

Many people have asked what the world would look like without the Catholic Church. Well, one obvious difference would be the absence of all the Catholic charity agencies and the wonderful and important work that they do. In many cases, there would be no charity agencies at all, had the Catholic Church not first started doing this work.
One of the most important values of the Christian faith is love for those in need, those who, for any reason are weak. When Jesus says “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”(Matthew 25:40), he is telling us that the work of charity is what brings us closer to God.
How often is it, in so many places in the world, where, after a war, natural catastrophe or social crises, the Catholic Church is the only entity on the ground helping those in need? This may not be as obvious in North America as in developing nations, but the reality is that, even in First World nations, the Catholic Church is the world leader when it comes to providing care for the needy. In Canada, a country known for its vast social services, many of these government agencies would not exist, not even the education system, had the work not been first done by the Catholic Church.
In the biggest city in Canada, Toronto, the Catholic Church is on the front lines. The Archdiocese of Toronto is a much larger area spanning from Lake Ontario on the south, the town of Orangeville on the West, the city of Oshawa on the East and the town of Midland to the North, including almost 5.5 million Catholics. In this great area, help is provided throughout by 29 Catholic agencies serving various groups: community and family services, people with special needs, seniors, children and youth and young parents.
Catholic Charities is the organization of the Archdiocese of Toronto that coordinates these 29 agencies and all the charitable work in the archdiocese. Most Torontonians and people from the surrounding communities will be familiar with ShareLife, the fundraising arm of the Archdiocese. But many have not heard of Catholic Charities. When you donate to ShareLife you're donating to Catholic Charities. 90% of the funding that goes to Catholic Charities comes from the money donated to ShareLife. And so, through these two partners, one that raises funds and the other that coordinates administrative services between the agencies, great work is being done very effectively!
We want to highlight Catholic Charities in a special way this year. Founded in 1913, this year it is celebrating its 100th anniversary: One hundred years of helping those who are in need, the poor, the weak, the marginalised, the forgotten, the stranger; everyone who needs a merciful hand.
To celebrate this occasion Deacon Pedro invited executive directors of three Catholic Charities agencies from the Archdiocese of Toronto: Kelly MacKenzie of Silent Voice Canada, Dominic Conforti of Mary Centre and Anna Pavan of Rose of Sharon Services for Young Mothers, to tell us more about the work of Catholic Charities in Toronto and to give us a insight into what a world without charitable organizations would be like.
Join us for this discussion this Friday and Sunday, on Perspectives: The Weekly Edition at 7 and 11pm ET / 8pm PT. In the meantime, take part in the discussion on Facebook.

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