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We Must Not Forget


While the countries of central and eastern Europe and the former USSR endured decades of communist oppression, the Church suffered grave wounds to its spiritual life and pastoral capacity to serve its people. For generations Church leaders were killed or imprisoned. Catechists were persecuted, and churches, monasteries, and seminaries were closed or destroyed.

As a result of this severe repression, the Church was greatly weakened. The bishops of the region are faced with the formidable task of restoring its church structures and, more importantly, rebuilding the spiritual center of its communities.

The Collection for the Catholic Church in Central and Eastern Europe provides a focal point for Catholics of the United States to express our compassion and solidarity with our brothers and sisters whose faith has endured such great suffering.

A Beginning

Following a series of unprecedented visits by three delegations of bishops of the United States to the region in 1990, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) organized an Ad Hoc Committee to Aid the Catholic Church in Central and Eastern Europe. Now the Subcommittee on the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, a member of the USCCB Committee on National Collections, it is comprised of: Cardinal Justin Rigali, Chairman; Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop John J. Myers, Archbishop Francis B. Schulte, Archbishop Stefan Soroka. Father James McCann, S.J. has been the director since 2003.

The countries included in the work of the Subcommittee are Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Aid to the Church

The program assists the Church in central and eastern Europe in restoring its pastoral capacity. Initiatives include the formation and training of priests and religious; the development of catechetical programs, materials, and teachers; the establishment of mass media and communications apostolates; and the support of the Church's charitable works.

The Office also coordinates this assistance with other aid agencies in the United States and western Europe. In addition, the Office serves as a clearinghouse for information on related groups and organizations that assist the Church.

National Collection

To provide a resource pool for the numerous projects of the bishops of central and eastern Europe, the bishops of the United States voted unanimously in November 1990 to authorize a national collection across the country. Many dioceses hold the collection on Ash Wednesday or on a Sunday during Lent, while others schedule the collection at another time.

Through the generosity of Catholic parishioners in the United States, this Office is able to fund critical projects in central and eastern Europe for the restoration and renewal of the Church.

It is a particularly positive sign that in these difficult and uncertain times, American Catholics give concrete witness of their compassionate concern for the universal Church. Their support year after year of the still-fragile restoration of the Church in central and eastern Europe fills Catholics there with confidence and hope in the Gospel.

Please give generously to the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe in your parish. Or, you may wish to send your donation to:

Church in Central and Eastern Europe
USCCB Office of National Collections
3211 Fourth Street NE
Washington, DC 20017

Make your check or money order payable to "USCCB - Church in Central and Eastern Europe"

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