WASHINGTON—The annual Collection to Aid the Church in Central andEastern Europe will be held in most parishes February 13, Ash Wednesday. The collectionsupports pastoral, educational and construction projects in Central and EasternEurope and Central Asia formerly under Soviet control.
"Restoringthe Church, Building the Future" is the theme for this year's collection, whichwill focus on strengthening Catholic education and intellectual life, seminaryformation and development of new leaders.
"Thechallenges to the Church in the 27 countries we serve remain profound andvaried," said Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Washington, chairman of theSubcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe of the U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
"Evenin countries where there has been economic progress, many dioceses remain indire poverty, due to the legacy of communism. The emerging problems posed bysecularism also require major investments in developing the next generation ofChurch leaders."
Threatsto religious liberty have re-emerged in some countries in the region. A sloweconomic recovery in the region has hindered the ability of the Church tofulfill its pastoral mission. Other countries remain in the early stages ofrebuilding church infrastructure in the wake of communism.
In 2012, the collection awarded $5.9 millionin grants to 24 of the 27 countries it serves. The funds supported a wide arrayof pastoral and church construction projects. Last year's contributions to the collectionrose despite adverse economic conditions in the United States.
"TheAmerican laity, many of whom have deep ancestral ties to the region, remaincommitted to this collection," Bishop Cupich said. "Their solidarity with theChurch in Eastern Europe is an eloquent testimony to the health of the CatholicChurch in our country and the value we place on a lived experience of theUniversal Church."
The Subcommitteeon Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe oversees the Collection forthe Church in Central and Eastern Europe as part of the USCCB Committee onNational Collections. Serving on the subcommittee chaired by Bishop Cupich are:Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Bishop Richard F. Stika ofKnoxville, Tenn, Bishop Patrick J. Zurek of Amarillo, Tx., Bishop Howard J.Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., Bishop John R. Gaydos of Jefferson City, Bishop MikaëlMouradian of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg of the Armenians, Glendale, Calif.,Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton of Steubenville, Ohio, and Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer,OFM Conv. of Savannah, Ga.,Consultants to the subcommittee are: Cardinal Justin Rigali, ArchbishopEmeritus of Philadelphia, Pa., Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritusof Washington, Cardinal Adam Maida, Archbishop Emeritus of Detroit,Archbishop Stefan Soroka of Philadelphia forthe Ukrainians, and Jesuit Father Robert F. Taft.
Moreinformation on the Collection and the projects it funds can be found online:www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/central-and-eastern-europe/
Keywords: Collection to Aid the Church in Central and EasternEurope, USCCB, Bishop Blase J. Cupich, Subcommittee on Aid to the Church inCentral and Eastern Europe, national collection, reconstruction,infrastructure, pastoral, educational projects, Soviet, communism, ArchbishopPaul S. Coakley, Bishop Richard F. Stika, Bishop Patrick J. Zurek, BishopHoward J. Hubbard, Bishop John R. Gaydos, Bishop Mikaël Mouradian, BishopJeffrey M. Monforton, Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, Cardinal Justin Rigali,Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Cardinal Adam Maida, Archbishop Stefan Soroka
# # # # #MEDIACONTACT ONLY:NormaMontenegro-FlynnO: 202-541-3202Email
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