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After decades of persecution, Catholics of the Armenian rite, the Chaldean rite, and the Latin rite have experienced a new era of freedom since Georgia became independent from the Soviet Union. These communities have set about rebuilding the Church, but poverty and remote, rural locations have made this work more difficult.
See how Catholics in the village of Arali kept the faith during years of persecution and now that their church is restored and they have a priest, they are able to celebrate Mass as a community. With assistance from the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, Catholics in Georgia are able to rebuild churches, provide medical care for the poor, and to pass on the faith to the next generation so that the Church can once again thrive where once it was persecuted.
The Eparchy of Cluj-Napoca recently built a Greek Catholic model school for grades K-12, helped by a grant from the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. See photos from the dedication of the school, located in Cluj, Romania at http://ow.ly/DEpUT.
The countries in Central and Eastern Europe have faced many years of hardship. They have been oppressed by czars, radical communism, horrendous crimes against humanity, and revolutionary, civil, and world wars. Under communism, organized religion was opposed in favor of atheism to overthrow the power of the Russian Orthodox Church. Since the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991, Central and Eastern European countries have been working to rebuild political structures, social welfare, and their economies.
The USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Central and Eastern Europe funds projects in 28 countries to build the pastoral capacity of the Church and to rebuild and restore the faith in these countries. The funds collected in the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe are used to support seminaries, youth ministry, social service programs, pastoral centers, church construction and renovation, and Catholic communications projects.
Years after the fall of communism, even though some are now European Union citizens, the Catholics of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union still have great needs. The 2019 Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, slated for Ash Wednesday, March 6, will focus on the theme "Restore the Church. Build the Future."
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