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WASHINGTON—The annual Collection to Aid the Church in Central and Eastern Europe will be held in most parishes February 13, Ash Wednesday. The collection supports pastoral, educational and construction projects in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia formerly under Soviet control.
"Restoring the Church, Building the Future" is the theme for this year's collection, which will focus on strengthening Catholic education and intellectual life, seminary formation and development of new leaders.
"The challenges to the Church in the 27 countries we serve remain profound and varied," said Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Washington, chairman of the Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
"Even in countries where there has been economic progress, many dioceses remain in dire poverty, due to the legacy of communism. The emerging problems posed by secularism also require major investments in developing the next generation of Church leaders."
Threats to religious liberty have re-emerged in some countries in the region. A slow economic recovery in the region has hindered the ability of the Church to fulfill its pastoral mission. Other countries remain in the early stages of rebuilding church infrastructure in the wake of communism.
In 2012, the collection awarded $5.9 million in grants to 24 of the 27 countries it serves. The funds supported a wide array of pastoral and church construction projects. Last year's contributions to the collection rose despite adverse economic conditions in the United States.
"The American laity, many of whom have deep ancestral ties to the region, remain committed to this collection," Bishop Cupich said. "Their solidarity with the Church in Eastern Europe is an eloquent testimony to the health of the Catholic Church in our country and the value we place on a lived experience of the Universal Church."
The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe oversees the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. Serving on the subcommittee chaired by Bishop Cupich are: Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Bishop Richard F. Stika of Knoxville, Tenn, Bishop Patrick J. Zurek of Amarillo, Tx., Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., Bishop John R. Gaydos of Jefferson City, Bishop Mikaël Mouradian 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, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia, Pa., Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, Cardinal Adam Maida, Archbishop Emeritus of Detroit,Archbishop Stefan Soroka of Philadelphia for the Ukrainians, and Jesuit Father Robert F. Taft.
More information 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 Eastern Europe, USCCB, Bishop Blase J. Cupich, Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, national collection, reconstruction, infrastructure, pastoral, educational projects, Soviet, communism, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Bishop Richard F. Stika, Bishop Patrick J. Zurek, Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Bishop John R. Gaydos, Bishop Mikaël Mouradian, Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton, Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Cardinal Adam Maida, Archbishop Stefan Soroka
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