4 August 2-9, 2020 catholicregister.org
Sharp drop in revenue forces change to allocations
BY QUINTON AMUNDSON The Catholic Register
Fr. David Reilander spent the early days of the COVD-19 shutdown alongside Catholic Missions In Canada's financial and administra- tion director Lina Kim diagnosing the potential impacts the pandemic would have on its operations. Reilander and Kim pondered the damage to Catholic Missions' ability to fundraise and raise awareness for its mandate to bring the Good News to poor and remote Canadian communities, with a particular emphasis on First Nation reserves, as parishes across the nation were closed down. They also contemplated how the virus would take a heavy financial toll on the roughly 10,000 reliable donors of the non-profit organization. "As the weeks passed we began to realize that this would be a long-term issue," said Reilander, president of Catholic Missions In Canada. "We began to worry about what would happen to our revenues. In April, we had our annual general meeting and the board of directors looked at the numbers we presented and decided we needed to cut back on the grants that were allocated and limit dis- bursement to one area only, which is missionary sustenance." About 600 missionaries are fi- nancially supported each year by Catholic Missions. Historically, about $4 million is budgeted for this. Kim said $4.7 million was originally targeted this year for mission communities, but $1.4 million has been pulled from that total to help navigate the uncertain months ahead. The cancel- lation of the annual Taste of Heaven Gala in late April represented the first major blow to Catholic Missions' fundraising efforts. Kim expected the Toronto celebration featuring Italian cuisine, entertainment and a silent auction would raise ap- proximately $250,000, specifically for its goal to rebuild St. Francis Xavier Church in Attawapiskat, Ont. While $155,000 of the $250,000 was lost, Reilander and Kim are grateful for the sponsors and ticket buyers who insisted Catholic Missions keep their money. "We were very willing to offer a refund, but they were very willing to donate," said Kim. Reilander and Kim say the fall and winter months will provide a better snapshot of the economic impact of COVID-19 as the reve- nue-generating potential is higher during those months than the opportunities available during the summer. Catholic Missions accrues approximately $850,000 from diocesan collections, with 40 per cent of the organization's revenue in November, December and January coming from church baskets. But with dioceses struggling themselves in the face of the pandemic, those numbers are expected to fall. Reilander expects he might not be invited to speak and make monetary appeals in parishes because of the current economic climate. "In terms of our fundraising and awareness campaigns, when I go out on weekends to preach, no one's going to want me to come as pastors won't want money going out of the parishes because they're hurting so badly and bishops won't want me coming because the dioceses are hurting so much also," he said. "When we can't get out to fundraise, people can forget about us and we don't reach new people."
COVID takes heavy toll on Missions
Fr. Reilander CATHOLIC REGISTER STAFF
The number of medically-assisted deaths in Canada rose by more than 25 per cent in 2019 and made up two per cent of all Canadian deaths last year, Health Canada's first annual report on Medical As- sistance in Dying in Canada found. In 2019, 5,631 Canadians chose to have an assisted death, 26.1-per- cent more deaths than reported the previous year, the report released late last month says. The number of assisted deaths has risen each year since the practice was legalized in 2016, and by Dec. 31, 2019, 13,946 people had chosen to end their life with a doctor's assistance. Overall, there were 7,336 written requests for an assisted suicide in 2019, but more than a quarter (26.5 per cent) did not result in a death. In more than half of those cases, the patient died before the procedure. Patty Hajdu, Canada's minister of health, said the report used data collected under the new moni- toring and reporting system of federal, provincial and territorial governments and health-care pro- fessionals put in place Nov. 1, 2018 to standardize data collection na- tionwide. One thing missing in the report is abuse of the law that has taken place since assisted dying was legalized, said Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthana- sia Prevention Coalition. He notes the most recent Quebec euthanasia report which uncovered at least 13 deaths that did not comply with the law. "The report does not attempt to uncover abuse of the law and it didn't track stories that were negative to euthanasia," said Schadenberg in a blog post. The federal government earlier this year introduced Bill C-7 to open assisted dying up even further in response to the Quebec Superior Court's Truchon decision which struck down the current legislation. It removed the requirement that a person's death be reasonably foreseeable to qualify for assisted death, opening it up to people who are not termi- nally ill.
Assisted suicide rate continues to climb
While hoping for an uptick in fortunes, Reilander says the or- ganization endeavours to remain compassionate about the difficul- ties their donors face. Aside from making individu- al calls to benefactors, Catholic Missions is hoping the fall edition of its quarterly magazine will inspire some donations. A financial update will be provided to the board in August for 2021. It could lead again to only sustaining missionaries.
CATHOLIC REGISTER STAFF
Fr. Frank Freitas, a priest in Waterloo, Ont., has been suspended from priestly ministry after a "substantiated allegation of professional misconduct." Freitas, pastor at St. Michael Parish and the St. John Paul II Student Centre serving post-sec- ondary students in Kitchener-Wa- terloo, was suspended July 13 by the Diocese of Hamilton. Parish- ioners were informed of the sus- pension, as were members of the student centre, in a July 15 message from Bishop Douglas Crosby, said Msgr. Murray Kroetsch, Hamilton diocese chancellor, vicar general and official spokesperson. "We ask for prayers for Fr. Freitas and for those who have been harmed by his actions," said Kroetsch in an e-mailed statement. There were no details of the alleged misconduct. The Diocese of Hamilton has a protocol in place to investigate allegations of abuse for miscon- duct and pledges to investigate according to norms set forth under its protocol, including co-opera- tion with civil authorities. No criminal charges have been laid against Freitas, said Cst. Ashley Dietrich of the Waterloo Regional Police Service. Freitas, a native of Kitchener, Ont., and a graduate of St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ont., he was ordained to the priesthood in 1997 for service in the Hamilton diocese. He is the author of several books published by The Catholic Register, which has suspended sales pending further information. Msgr. Earl Talbot has taken over as administrator of St. Michael's Parish and the St. John Paul II Student Centre.
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