February 5, 2015
WASHINGTON—The annual Collection to Aid the Church in Central and Eastern Europe will be held in most parishes on Ash Wednesday, February 18. The collection supports pastoral, educational and construction projects in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which were formerly under Soviet control.
The collection helps to provide a stable future for the Catholic Church in Central and Eastern Europe, a region long suffering spiritual repression and economic hardship. The theme for this year’s collection is “Restore the Church, Build the Future,” and focuses on repairing and building Church structures, strengthening Catholic education and social services, and assisting in the development of Church leadership to ensure a solid future for the Church. In 2014, the collection funded 290 grants totaling $7.85 million benefiting the Catholic Church in 24 out of 28 countries served.
“Though this Collection has been able to help so many, the future of the Church in Central and Eastern Europe still remains uncertain,” said Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, chairman of the Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). “The Church faces both physical poverty in countries that have still not become self-sustaining following communism and moral poverty due to the growth of secularism.”
“Without the lay faithful and their unwavering commitment to this collection, we would not be able to provide significant grants to greatly support our brothers and sisters across the globe,” Archbishop Cupich said. “By showing our solidarity, each person who gives to the collection truly helps to build the future of the Church.”
One funded project that focuses on caring for every human life is the Aregak Center, located in Gyumri, Armenia. The center offers resources and primary care for children with multiple disabilities. Created jointly by Caritas Armenia and Caritas Vorarlberg (Austria), it is the first center of its kind in the country to offer both primary care and integrative community programs. The Aregak Center serves as a meeting point where people with and without disabilities participate together in a variety of recreational and therapeutic activities. The center also runs the Daycare Center for Children with Multiple Disabilities, where professional staff and volunteers offer therapies and group activities designed to expand and stimulate the capabilities of each child. In these activities, the center works toward changing attitudes toward people with disabilities and breaking down prejudices that have stigmatized and segregated the disabled in Armenian society.
The bishops of the Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe oversee the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information on the Collection and the projects it funds can be found at www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/central-and-eastern-europe/
Keywords: Collection to Aid the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, USCCB, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, national collection, reconstruction, infrastructure, pastoral, educational, culture
# # # # #
MEDIA CONTACT:Norma Montenegro Flynn