Cardinal Thomas Collins Photo by Evan Boudreau.

A caring Church

  • May 21, 2014

The archdiocese of Toronto’s $105 million fundraising drive is unprecedented in the Canadian Church. But the ambitious campaign is about much more than asking parishioners how much can they give. It’s asking them how much do they care.

Although the Family of Faith campaign, launched May 15, is specific to the Archdiocese of Toronto, that central question — how much do people care? — is relevant nationwide. It is at the heart of Cardinal Thomas Collins’ ambitious pastoral plan that articulates a sweeping vision for an ecclesiastical district that, approaching its 175th birthday, is perhaps the world’s most culturally diverse archdiocese, in a region that has a booming population, at a time when the world Church faces real challenges in terms of youth participation and vocations.

The cardinal describes the Church’s purpose as twofold: an inward mission to nurture the faith experience of committed Catholics, largely through work in parish communities, and an outward mission of evangelization to bring lapsed Catholics and new believers into the Church. Much of that mission, he says, is done through prayer and dedication that costs nothing, but the mission is also built on infrastructure and programs that must be paid for.

“That’s what the Family of Faith campaign is about,” he said.

So keep that big picture in mind. The campaign certainly has important cash objectives but Family of Faith is about much more than money. It’s about fulfilling a vision of a Church that is faithful, vibrant, nurturing and generous. It’s about advancing a Church that can care for itself but can also reach out to share the Gospel, to engage in civic life, to advocate for social justice, to embrace the needy.

What the Family of Faith is really asking is how much do we value our faith and our Church.

How much do we care about the historical churches and the churches not yet historical but need repair to someday become so? How much do we care about our teens and young adults who will continue to drift from the Church without the encouragement of strong ministries? How much do we care about vocations and providing future generations with well-formed priests, deacons, nuns and lay ministers?

Do we care if the Church maintains a respected voice in the public square to articulate Catholic concerns to politicians and the media? Do we care if the Church in the digital age has modern communications tools that can connect people of all ages, cultures and languages, and also interconnect our homes, schools and churches? Do we care if the Church remains a champion for the weak and the poor?

The Family of Faith campaign calls Catholics to show that, yes, they do care — and then to give generously.

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