Bishop Héctor F. Vila standing outside of the Catholic Church of the Apostles in Faro, Yukon. Photo from Diocese of Whitehorse

Hamilton’s Ex Corde Foundation aims for no one going without

  • May 5, 2024

The Diocese of Hamilton’s Ex Corde Foundation is soon projected to crack the $10 million ceiling in charitable giving.  

Francis Doyle, the diocese’s vice-chancellor of temporal affairs, said that after Ex Corde awarded $661,000 in grants to 37 recipients on March 25, $9.48 million has been bestowed since the organization’s inception. More monetary gifts are scheduled to be announced on Sept. 25. 

Traditionally, these funds help repair or renovate parish buildings, maintain or restore religious artifacts, support catechesis and other religious education efforts and provide pastoral and liturgical resources. Most of the funds stay within the Diocese of Hamilton, though 10 per cent of funds have been shared outside the diocese over the years.

The foundation was the brainchild of Bishop Douglas Crosby who set up Ex Corde in 2011. He outfitted this program with a $20-million donation from the diocese at the outset, and since then Crosby has injected around $1 million into Ex Corde multiple times in the years that followed.

“What was in the Bishop’s heart when (Ex Corde was founded) was really trying to help remove one small financial burden from pastors and leaders of Catholic charities,” said Doyle. “This could make some projects possible that otherwise would not have been possible. As an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, he has a history of being a missionary priest and bishop.”

The Catholic Church of the Apostles in Faro, Yukon, is one of the beneficiaries outside of Hamilton that is part of the latest disbursement round. The $25,000 awarded to the Diocese of Whitehorse parish expedites the work to install a new steel roof, triple-pane windows and insulation to the building envelope and attic.

Twenty to 25 dedicated parishioners attend the 2:30 p.m. liturgical service each Sunday in Faro, a town in central Yukon that once attained fame for boasting the largest open-pit lead-zinc mine in the world. The population soared as high as 1,652 in 1981 when the mine, which ceased production in 1998, produced silver, gold and other natural resources. According to the 2021 Canadian census, Faro now has approximately 440 inhabitants. 

Whitehorse Bishop Héctor Vila said the spirits of Faro Catholics were buoyed when they heard about Ex Corde’s generosity. 

“The people are so grateful,” said Vila, Bishop of Whitehorse since 2015. “Now having triple-paned windows. They were coping with not having one of the essentials for the longest time, but now you come to Church and see these windows. ‘Wow, what happened? Where did they come from.’ When the pastor announces that this was made possible by the help we receive from other dioceses, it is an eye-opener, and it makes them feel like they are in communion with the whole reality of the Church. 

“There are other people around who are thinking about us. We are not alone here.”

Doyle said this example of one diocesan foundation extending a bridge of generosity that stretches to a diocese on the other side of Canada is perhaps an example of the contemporary Catholic Church imitating the deeds of Jesus’ earliest disciples.

“During the Easter season, I always love hearing all the readings from the Acts of the Apostles,” said Doyle. “We learn about how the early Church is making sense of the Resurrection. They are of one heart and one soul. They cared for everyone’s needs and ensured no one went without. That is part of Ex Corde's vision. We are in this together. The bond of solidarity calls us not only to take care of the Catholic population at home where you are but to look at the needs of the mission communities and make sure you are there.”

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