Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Jesus gave us the Beatitudes to remind us that we are called to show compassion to our brothers and sisters in Christ. The eight Beatitudes, from the Gospel of Matthew, provide an opportunity to reflect on how we live out these values in our daily lives.

Published in Guest Columns

TORONTO - Canadian charities count on the arrival of the Christmas spirit as the final six weeks of the year account for almost half of their annual donations.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - Fr. Rudolf Philip Volk served his family as a parent, his community as a priest and, in his death, the Church as a financial supporter for those in need.

Published in Estate Planning

TORONTO - Catholics of the Archdiocese of Toronto pulled together at the last hour to push the ShareLife annual appeal above and beyond its goal.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

THORNHILL, Ont. - The Philippines received relief aid from around the world when Typhoon Haiyan hit the country’s shores almost two years ago. But for Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos, it was one Canadian parish that stands out for having left a particular impact on his community.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

Natural disasters around the world combined with a larger fund-raising campaign in the archdiocese tapping into the generosity of Toronto Catholics are making for one of the most difficult years in ShareLife’s history.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - With donations to this year’s ShareLife campaign down, there is a ray of fundraising hope coming from Catholic schools.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

TORONTO - When it came to supporting the work of his brothers and sisters in Christ, the late Joseph Barnicke could be counted on to put his money where their mouths were.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

Parishioners across the Archdiocese of Toronto have always been generous towards the needs of the greater community. Last fall, I noted that the archdiocese would be undertaking the Family of Faith campaign in parishes, and that it was important to maintain support for ShareLife while we contributed to this effort.

Published in Guest Columns

And together we work wonders 

Published in Call to Service

TORONTO - After two consecutive record-setting years, ShareLife has come up just shy of meeting its $12.65 million parish goal. But the missing $389,000 isn’t upsetting Arthur Peters. 

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

TORONTO - With less than a month left in the 2014 ShareLife parish campaign, the charitable fundraising arm of the Archdiocese of Toronto is still more than a million dollars shy of its $12.65-million goal.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - Quentin Schesnuik was visiting St. Cecilia’s Church for an estate planning presentation when he spotted a little girl giving a leaf to the pastor. Fr. Joseph Tap Van Tran thanked her for the leaf, blessed her and kept the gift.

“At the moment she gave it to him, she meant it with all sincerity,” said Schesnuik, manager of planned giving and personal gifts for ShareLife, the charitable fundraising arm of the archdiocese of Toronto.

Similarly, whenever somebody puts the Church in their will, they should mirror this sincerity, he said.

“At the end of the day, it should be about how you make that gift… A lot of times people use their will to make the gift they always wanted to in life but just never thought they could.”

Any gift left to ShareLife in a will is turned into cash which lands in the ShareLife Legacy for Life Endowment Fund, said Schesnuik.

“An endowment is an investment that’s set aside for the long-term support of ShareLife,” he said. “Within the endowment, the principle is protected… And the principle is used to generate income to fund ShareLife programs.”
As the endowment grows, it strengthens the ShareLife allocations as a whole, he adds.

“The income that the endowment generates goes into general funding, so in a very real sense, the money is used to help fund all ShareLife agencies and grant recipients.”

The endowment fund currently sits at $2.8 million. Last year, it generated about $80,000 in income, said Schesnuik.

“Sometimes you could have a will where someone says, ‘I have a Harley Davidson and I want it to go to ShareLife.’ In that case, the estate trustee would contact us and we’d work with them, take possession of the Harley Davidson, sell it and use the proceeds to put in the endowment.”

When a person decides they’d like to donate to ShareLife, their lawyer contacts ShareLife and asks for their legal title, said Schesnuik.

“Knowing the proper legal title is really important because the law is all about language and the interpretation of language,” he said. By knowing this, the lawyer knows exactly where to direct the funds. ShareLife’s legal title is The ShareLife Trust.

One hundred per cent of the proceeds bequeathed to ShareLife support ShareLife, adds Schesnuik.

But your estate doesn’t just mean your house, it means your total assets.

“It’s your assets minus your liabilities,” said Schesnuik. “If somebody has more liabilities than assets, there won’t be anything left to distribute.”

He emphasizes that it’s not necessarily about the amount left behind.

“God loves a cheerful giver, and so, it’s in that spirit I think that person should make a cheerful gift.”

Published in Estate Planning

TORONTO - The 2012 ShareLife campaign is over the top.

The annual campaign by the archdiocese of Toronto's fundraising arm surpassed its goal of $14.3 million by more than $600,000 this year. And for the first time since 1999, the campaign exceeded its parish goal, coming in at more than $37,000 over the $12.3 million goal.

Arthur Peters, ShareLife's executive director, said much thanks for pushing the campaign over the top must go to a matching gift donor, who wishes to remain anonymous. The donor matched new gifts as well as increased contributions from returning donors. All told, he gave $650,000 in matching funds.

"This year our parishioners were challenged by a generous donor to increase their gifts or to make new gifts to support the work of our agencies and they've responded very generously," said Peters.

Peters said the matching gift motivated parishioners to donate to the parish campaign, but did not directly contribute to the $12,337,548 raised — a seven-per-cent increase over last year. The $650,000 is reflected in a miscellaneous fund.

An additional $1.37 million came in from the corporate and school employee's campaigns pushing the collective total to $14,934,666.

"We're very grateful to the parishioners of the archdiocese of Toronto who in a difficult economy have responded generously to the needs of ShareLife's agencies and contributed a record amount to help those who are served by our agencies," said Peters.

Despite the present economic hardships, 157 parishes, about 70 per cent of those in the archdiocese of Toronto, increased donations from 2011. This marks the largest number of parishes to increase their gifts from the previous year seen by Peters since joining ShareLife eight years ago.

"At the end of the day our parishioners have always demonstrated a commitment to helping the marginalized in our society and around the world," he said. "These funds will be used to help the people who need our help the most."

Over the next few months ShareLife's allocation community and advisory board will determine the 2013 allocations, distributing this year's donations to more than 30 social service support agencies.

"The fact that we've raised a significant amount of money more in this years campaign means we'll be able to help our agencies in a greater way."

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

TORONTO - With barely two weeks left in the 2012 ShareLife campaign, parishioners are being called upon to pull together and raise the remaining $1 million needed to reach this year’s $12.3 million goal.

“(We) thank those Catholics who have made a contribution this year and appeal to all Catholics to support the ShareLife campaign before July 31,” said Arthur Peters, ShareLife’s executive director. “Parishioners have been very generous. Over the next few weeks I just hope people will continue to be generous and help us reach our goal.”

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA