Toronto Catholics mobilize support for Haitian earthquake victims

- Donations being received, special collection scheduled -

TORONTO, Jan. 14 /CNW/ - The Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto has organized a multi-level response in support of the people of Haiti following the catastrophic earthquake Tuesday.

As news of the devastation of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake continues to trickle out of the country, the Archdiocese of Toronto's charitable fundraising arm, ShareLife, is accepting financial contributions from the Catholic community through local churches, by phone and through its website (www.sharelife.org). In addition, Archbishop Thomas Collins has requested that a special second collection be held at each of the 224 parishes in the archdiocese during the weekend of January 23/24, 2010.

"When our neighbours cry for help, wherever they are in the world, we have an obligation to respond to their plight," said Archbishop Collins. "We pray profoundly for our brothers and sisters in Haiti, who are suffering so much at this time. We are one with them in love."

The Church's efforts in the Greater Toronto Area are working in partnership with Catholic dioceses across Canada. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is actively encouraging all Catholics to respond to the needs of Haitians during this time of national crisis.

Working through the Catholic Church's official international relief network, Caritas Internationalis, funds are being channelled to Caritas Haiti, which runs 200 medical clinics in the country. ShareLife does not apply any administrative fees to humanitarian relief contributions, ensuring as much money as possible is directed toward assistance of those in crisis. Donations will help provide food, shelter, clean water, and medical and cooking supplies for those affected by the earthquake. Catholic partners will be present in both the short and long term, assisting with the rebuilding efforts that will continue for months and years to come.

The Archdiocese of Toronto is Canada's largest diocese, stretching from Toronto north to Georgian Bay and from Oshawa to Mississauga. It is home to 1.9 million Catholics, more than 800 diocesan and religious priests and 224 parishes, with mass celebrated in more than 30 different languages each week.

Those wishing to donate to the relief efforts can make a contribution online at www.sharelife.org, by phoning the ShareLife office (1-800-263-2595 or 416-934-3411) or by giving through their parish (making any cheques payable to ShareLife - (Parish Name) - Haiti Earthquake Relief).

SOURCE Archdiocese of Toronto

For further information: For further information: Media contact: Bill Steinburg, Communications Manager, Archdiocese of Toronto, (416) 934-3400 x558, (416) 708-9655 (cell), bills@archtoronto.org, www.archtoronto.org

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