Tsunami relief: Catholic parishes raise at least $7 million in special national collection

.- Canadian Catholics have raised an estimated $7 million to aid the victims of the tsunami in Asia. The nationwide collection was called by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The amount was raised through a church collections Jan.  8-9. The final amount will not be tabulated for several days. All funds were directed to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, the Canadian bishops’ agency for international aid and development.

Development and Peace had already collected $2.5 million prior to the church collection, which will bring the total to at least $9.5 million.

"I am extremely happy that Canadian Catholics have responded with such generosity to our appeal. This is a clear indication of the tremendous sense of the charity and solidarity they feel for those who suffer", said Archbishop Brendan M. O'Brien of St. John's, CCCB president.

The Government of Canada has pledged to give the equivalent on all sums contributed to various organizations, including Development and Peace, up to Jan. 11.

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