As wildfires continue to ravage the area around Fort McMurray, Alta., the Archdiocese of Toronto is accepting contributions to help victims of this natural disaster. The fires that were first reported on May 1 have grown to encompass more than 10,000 hectares, destroying more than 1,600 buildings and necessitating the evacuation of at least 90,000 people from the Fort McMurray area. Neighboring towns are also being threatened and evacuations continue. The situation is grave and still developing.
Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto commented on the tragedy:
"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. 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."
In an effort to support those people in Alberta who have been impacted by this disaster, the Archdiocese of Toronto is accepting funds that will be channeled through the Canadian Red Cross. The Government of Canada has made an initial commitment to match contributions to the Red Cross to assist people who have been displaced. More information about that commitment will be forthcoming.
Those wishing to help may do so in the following ways:
The Archdiocese of Toronto is Canada's largest diocese, stretching from Toronto north to Georgian Bay and from Oshawa to Mississauga. It is home to 1.9 million Catholics and 225 churches, with Mass celebrated in more than 30 languages each week.