Fr. Larry Marcille, pastor of Blessed Sacrament parish in Toronto, is presented with a cheque for $3,000 by students from Blessed Sacrament School. The money is to be donated to the Family of Faith campaign. Photo courtesy of the Toronto Catholic District School Board

‘We made a difference’ students find in helping Family of Faith campaign

By 
  • May 9, 2015

TORONTO - Blessed Sacrament, the school and parish, pulled together May 1 for a barbecue to mark the joint success in raising funds for the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Family of Faith campaign.

The school’s students and members of the parish gathered under sunny skies in the school yard over the lunch period to celebrate the community coming together as one for a greater cause.

“The whole picnic brought the church, the school and our families together for a really big sense of community,” said Francesca Bizzari, a Grade 5 student at the school.

The 10-year-old said the event showed students that, by raising about $3,000 for the campaign, they had made an impact.

The picnic marks the end of Blessed Sacrament’s involvement with the Family of Faith’s Wave 2, and coincided with the close of that part of the campaign.

Family of Faith is the archdiocese’s ambitious fundraising campaign aiming to raise at least $105 million to help the archdiocese and its parishes meet future needs. So far, Family of Faith has raised $92.8 million, 88 per cent of its goal. Blessed Sacrament parish has contributed almost $2 million of that total, more than doubling its goal of $960,000.

Wave 2 had 58 parishes from the archdiocese participate with 47 of the parishes exceeding their goal. More than $39.5 million was raised during Wave 2, 148 per cent of the $26.8 million target. Wave 3 of the campaign is now underway.

“We are entering Wave 3 now and Wave 4 will be conducted in the Fall of 2015,” said John Ecker, director of communications for the campaign. “The response from our 58 Wave 2 parishes has been amazing.”

As for the Blessed Sacrament efforts, Ecker said, “This is a great example of the strong bonds between a parish and its schools. The campaign is not directly reaching out to schools ... (but) the great thing about Blessed Sacrament School’s participation is that it modelled the importance of charitable giving.”

Blessed Sacrament’s campaign had other positive spin offs as, for the student body, many lessons were learned. Bizzari said that by gathering as an entire community, students were reminded that “sharing is an extremely important thing and everyone should be pitching in to help.”

“We know that we made a difference,” she said. “If we didn’t have people helping each other our community, our city, our world would be such a grumpy place. Nobody would share and nobody would be nice to each other.”

Grasping that concept is why the event — which included a Mass in which students participated in the liturgy — took place.

“In many of the communities what they did was they sent a letter home talking about the importance of the relationship between home and church,” said Katherine Banfield, principal of Blessed Sacrament. “But I thought it was a great reminder ... that as a community we can make decisions that benefit the people around us.”

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