ShareLife Sunday marks 35 years of charitable giving

  • March 30, 2011
Bill Steinburg says ShareLife reaches out to thousands with money raised during its annual campaign. TORONTO - This year, April 3 comes with great significance for ShareLife.

On that day, the archdiocese of Toronto’s charitable fundraising arm marks its 35th anniversary. And it will also be ShareLife Sunday, the first of three special appeals for aid in the pews of the archdiocese’s Catholic parishes. The other two ShareLife Sundays are set for May 1 and June 5.

This year’s campaign represents three-and-a-half decades of Toronto’s Catholics extending a helping hand to those in need, said Bill Steinburg, ShareLife’s communications manager.

“This is the campaign in which we as a Catholic community demonstrate our care for the greater community. Through the ShareLife agencies, we are reaching out to more than a quarter-million people each year, and perhaps thousands and hundreds of thousands more in the developing world,” he told The Catholic Register.

“It’s what we Catholics are taught to do through the life of Jesus Christ and the Gospel, to care for one another, to watch over our neighbour and to express that care in meaningful ways.”

Archbishop Philip Pocock gave birth to the first ShareLife campaign in 1976. Back then, ShareLife supported six Catholic agencies with the $1 million it raised. Today, the more than 30 ShareLife-funded agencies help people in Canada and developing countries through organizations that support the elderly, families, single and teen parents, individuals with special needs, immigrants and refugees and humanitarian relief.

This year’s campaign began on Ash Wednesday, March 13, with a goal of matching last year’s $14.3 million total, including $12.3 million from the parish campaign.

It’s no coincidence that the annual parish campaign begins during Lent, said Steinburg.

“Lent is the time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving,” he said. “It’s the time when we’re called upon to be reflective, to be conscious of our own blessings and give of ourselves as best as we can.”

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