Restore the Church, Build the Future
The countries in Central and Eastern Europe have faced a century of hardship. They have been oppressed by radical communism, horrendous crimes against humanity, and revolutionary, civil, and world wars. Under communism, religion and religious practices were openly persecuted and atheism was actively propagated and enforced. Control of every aspect of life was taken over by totalitarian governments and the communist party, and civil society and the economy were deconstructed. Since the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991, Central and Eastern European countries have been working to rebuild: their political structures, social welfare, economies and their religious life.
The USCCB Subcommittee on Aid to 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 raised in the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe are used to support the renewal of vital aspects of the Church life: seminaries, youth ministry, social service programs, pastoral centers, church construction and renovation, and Catholic communications projects.
Years after the fall of communism, though some countries are now a part of the European Union and serve as examples of positive changes, a majority of the countries are lagging behind and still struggling to overcome the legacy and destruction left by the communist system; and the Catholics of these regions continue to need our help. The 2021 Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, slated for Ash Wednesday, February 17, will focus on the theme "Restore the Church. Build the Future."