Since the devastating fires first spread across the Fort McMurray region, parishes across Canada are reaching out to support the relief efforts.
In Edmonton, Archbishop Richard Smith reached out to its sister diocese, St. Paul’s Archdiocese, by asking Edmonton parishioners to donate to a special collection to that would go directly to their neighbours.
Proceeds will be forwarded to the Diocese of St. Paul, where they will be shared equally between the Fort McMurray parishioners and the Fort McMurray Ministerial Association to be distributed to any local residents in need. Archbishop Smith also encouraged his parishioners to also consider making direct donations to relief for fire victims through the Red Cross, which will be matched by both the Alberta and the federal governments.
“Above all,” he wrote in a letter, “I invite you to join me in offering urgent prayers for the needs of all those affected by the wildfire disaster: those who have been displaced from their homes, the first responders and volunteers who are serving them, and all those working so hard to bring the situation under control. May the Lord of Mercy offer them His infinite grace and protection.”
The Catholic Diocese of Calgary is also responding. On the May 13-14 weekend, a special collection will go around at each church to also help the Diocese of St. Paul’s as well.
Over in Ontario, the Archdiocese of Toronto (which is Canada’s largest diocese), has started accepting donations for the Alberta Wildfires Funds, which will be channeled through the Red Cross.
The Archdiocese reached out to its1.2 million parishioners, asking for support.
“The hearts and prayers of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Toronto are with the people of Alberta, especially those in Fort McMurray and the surrounding area,” said Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins. “As a former bishop of St. Paul and of Edmonton, I have witnessed the resolve, generosity and faithfulness of Albertans. In the midst of this tragedy, I am confident that all people of goodwill across the country will reach out in a spirit of prayer, compassion and care to support those who are suffering. May God protect and comfort them both now and in the difficult days ahead.”
Anyone looking to donate via the Archdiocese of Toronto can do so by going online at www.archtoronto.org. For full relief efforts, visit redcross.ca.