Each year, throughout our country and around the world, thousands of women are abused. In most cases, their abuser is someone they know, even someone who claims to "love" them. Recent data from Statistics Canada indicates that more than 33,000 women are abused in any given year in this country.
This silent tragedy is one that needs to be addressed - in short, it's time to break the chains that are witholding these women from being free, being loved, being in healthy relationships free of fear, anguish and pain.
Throughout the Archdiocese of Toronto, in every region of our diocese, we have Catholic Family Services, supported by ShareLife, who perform truly heroic work serving those who are desperate for help. Catholic Family Services of Toronto has taken on a special initiative related to supporting and reaching out to women abused and all those impacted by this violence.
They are inviting all those who may have been victims of abuse, those who support them and those who wish to stand up against the scourge of abuse, to come together at a special gathering that will take place on Wednesday, November 3 at St. Paul's Basilica. Mass will be held at 5 p.m. with a reception to follow for all in attendance.
If you know someone in your family or circle of friends who is a victim of abuse, know that Catholic Family Services of Toronto is just a phone call away. Their website has extensive information on the vast array of programs offered not only for those who have experienced abuse in their life but also for those who need someone to talk to, those who may be dealing with anger issues, crisis in the family or a host of other challenges.
So many people go through these situations alone but organizations like Catholic Family Services are here to help through the pain and anguish.
It's not a happy or pleasant topic but it is our pastoral duty to reach out to all those who may turn to our faith community. Let's hold their hand and welcome them with open arms when they do.