Let's work wonders

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  • March 20, 2009
{mosimage}The theme for the 2009 ShareLife parish campaign is “You can work wonders.” We should all take a moment to consider those words.

They represent much more than a call to mail in a cheque, or go online to make a credit-card donation, or drop $100 into a collection basket.

That’s not to diminish the importance of fundraising. It’s vital, of course. The 2009 ShareLife appeal must raise $14.3 million to fund its commitments to 33 charitable agencies. So give and give generously.

But when organizers suggest you can work wonders, they want you to consider something more than money.

ShareLife is a call to action, an invitation to get involved, to contribute money, yes, but also to invest yourself in a cause that brings so much comfort to so many people. That is the message that should be resonating with Catholics on the first of three ShareLife Sundays, March 29, when the 2009 campaign is launched in earnest.

In its 33 years ShareLife has grown from supporting eight charitable agencies to 33, helping 225,000 people of all ages, backgrounds and faiths. There are programs for single parents, families and the elderly, for children and teens, for immigrants and refugees. Support  goes overseas to dozens of missionary causes and also stays at home to fund the schooling of future generations of priests.

The need is great but greater yet is the challenge amid a recession to support so many worthy causes. Much  has been written about the sad state of the world economy. People are suffering. For charities, the pain is two fold. First, high unemployment and overall economic uncertainty threaten contributions. Second, a hardscrabble economy increases demand for services provided by social and charitable agencies.

Governments face the same two problems in tough times, so expecting them to come to the rescue is like looking for flowers to bloom in winter. Too often, though, we’re programmed to rely on governments to take the lead in solving society’s ills rather than heeding the call ourselves.

If not always, then certainly in hard times, ShareLife summons us to become socially accountable.  We are called to remember the least of our brothers, to see their pain, to hear their plea, to open our hearts to their need. To get involved.

Giving money is the most obvious way we are held to account. But there are other important methods to contribute –– without spending a dime. Volunteering is a popular one. So too is fundraising. For those whose circumstances are forcing them to give less than in past years, consider fundraising in the community to close the gap between what you gave in the past and what you can afford this year.

ShareLife organizers have a proud history of seldom falling short of their funding targets. This year they are bracing for a challenge and, moreso than most previous campaigns, urging us to band together to make life better for those in need. To work wonders.

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