{mosimage}TORONTO - The archdiocese of Toronto is launching a new, multi-media outreach campaign for lapsed Catholics.

The public awareness campaign, launched this month, includes radio ads, a web site and an online video message from Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins.

On the web site www.wearecatholic.ca , Collins talks about the work of Catholics in the city, including teaching at 500 schools and caring for the sick.

Cardinal's Dinner to benefit 20 Toronto charities

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{mosimage}TORONTO - More than 20 charities have been given a boost from the proceeds of the annual Cardinal’s Dinner.

The dinner, held last Oct. 30 and hosted by Archbishop Thomas Collins, helped raise $125,000 for 27 organizations in the archdiocese of Toronto.

The dinner was begun in 1979 by the late Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter and has been run in recent years by Carter’s successors, Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic and Collins, with proceeds going to their favourite charities. Since its inception, the dinner has raised more than $5 million for local charities.

Caritas Foundation raised $50,000 from Harmony Ball

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{mosimage}VAUGHAN, Ont. - The Caritas Foundation raised $50,000 through its 15th annual Harmony Ball fundraising gala on March 28.

The funds will go to Caritas Project, a therapeutic community that has, in the past 20 years, supplied counselling, guidance and other services to individuals recovering from substance abuse and addiction.

The Harmony Ball, in conjunction with Caritas’ annual Telethon kickoff, will allow Caritas to continue providing these programs and services to its community members.

Joe Rauti plays role of Christ for 41 years

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{mosimage}TORONTO - As a young boy in his hometown of Calabria, Italy, Giuseppe Rauti (better known as Joe) grew up seeing the Way of the Cross re-enacted in the streets during Holy Week.

His mother used to take him to daily Mass, instilling in him a love for the church and a great love of God — something unmistakably evident in the now 70-year old man who plays Jesus Christ in Toronto’s downtown Way of the Cross, which draws spectators from around the globe.

Canadian government less than honest about Columbian free trade deal

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The ecumenical social justice coalition KAIROS claims the Conservative government has been less than honest with a delegation of Colombians who came to Canada to lobby against a free trade deal.

KAIROS sponsored a delegation of Colombian church and civil society leaders on a visit to Canada in February. The group received assurances Canada wouldn’t proceed with an already negotiated free trade agreement between Canada and Colombia until concerns about the South American nation’s human rights record have been investigated.

Canadian Nurses for Life seeks leader

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{mosimage}Canadian Nurses for Life may retire along with its national director on June 1 if no volunteers step forward to take her place.

Mary-Lynn McPherson, a retiring nurse and busy grandmother, has led the volunteer organization dedicated to fighting for nurses’ conscience rights in the workplace for about 20 years. She has set aside time in the past two decades to advocate on behalf of patients and nurses in the defence of human life from conception to natural death. This has included lobbying government, supporting membership with information and encouraging other nurses to be involved in standing up for their rights.

Voluntary guidelines for Canadian oversees mine companies

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{mosimage}The federal government has opted for a voluntary code of conduct for Canadian mining companies abroad, with no sanctions for those that fail to comply.

The 200,000 Catholics who have sent postcards to Ottawa asking Parliament to set rules for Canadian mining companies operating in smaller and poorer nations around the world have been answered with a set of voluntary guidelines, an office that will investigate complaints only if the mining company agrees and an industry-run “centre of excellence” to encourage mining companies to be more open when it comes to the environment, labour rights and corporate governance.

For ecumenical social justice organization KAIROS , the voluntary guidelines are a step backward.

$2 million raised on first ShareLife Sunday

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{mosimage}TORONTO - This year’s ShareLife campaign is off to a good start, with some $2 million raised by the first of three ShareLife Sunday collections in parishes throughout the archdiocese of Toronto March 28-29.

ShareLife’s overall goal this year is $14.3-million. The charitable fundraising arm of the archdiocese hopes to raise $12 million through its parish appeal and $1.625 million through the corporate campaign.

Taking Easter to the streets of Toronto

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{mosimage}TORONTO — The streets of the city will be filled with Christians marking the last days of Jesus on Good Friday, April 10.

A number of re-enactments of the Stations of the Cross will take place around Toronto, including the biggest of them all which will take to the streets of Little Italy in the downtown core.

The annual Stations of the Cross originates at St. Francis of Assisi Church on Manning Avenue and makes its way around the Bathurst and College Streets area.

Also in the downtown will be the annual Good Friday Walk for Justice which starts at 2 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Trinity next to the Eaton Centre. The annual walk uses mime, prayer and meditation while walking several modern-day Stations of the Cross.

Lift Jesus Higher Rally will be returning to Toronto

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{mosimage}TORONTO — The Lift Jesus Higher Rally will be returning to Toronto April 18.

The rally will take over the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from 8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Toronto’s Archbishop Thomas Collins is among the guests.

For information, call (416) 251-4255 or see www.lift-jesus-higher-rally.org .

Outgoing vocations director grateful for experience

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{mosimage}TORONTO - After five years of helping young men discern the priesthood, Fr. Liborio Amaral, 45, rector of Serra House in Toronto, is getting ready to pass the torch.

Amaral will be taking a six-month sabbatical, starting in July, when he will rest, refocus and recharge before taking on parish ministry once again — a calling he filled at St. Elizabeth Seton in Newmarket before he was appointed to Serra House in 2004. Serra House is a place of reflection and discernment for men considering a vocation to the priesthood.