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WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Central and Eastern Europe awarded $4.9 million in grants to 195 projects, on June 9, during the Subcommittee meeting in San Diego. The Collection supports pastoral, educational and construction projects in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The projects support youth ministry, seminary formation, Catholic education and intellectual life in 28 countries.
"The Church continues to face harsh challenges in the areas this collection serves," said Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Washington, chairman of the Subcommittee. "Many countries have never recovered from communism, and the people live in extreme poverty."
The poverty faced by the people of Central and Eastern Europe is not limited to physical poverty, he added.
"In areas where the economy has grown, there is a pervasive secularism, a lack of Catholic intellectual life, which impoverishes the human spirit. This is another kind of poverty, which the Church needs to address by being present in higher learning and the cultural life," Bishop Cupich said.
The Subcommittee supported one grant for a project of particular importance for the Catholic hierarchy in the countries served. In 2014, this project will offer specialized workshops in crisis management and public relations for bishops from various countries of the region. The project is being administered by the Jesuit-run European Center of Communication and Culture (ECCC) in Warsaw. Future workshop topics will include other areas of communications, human resources, and management of Church finances.
This bi-annual event will help bishops share their experiences with pastoral activities in their dioceses amidst the constantly changing situation in Eastern Europe.
Despite continued tough economic conditions for many people in the United States, the donations to this Collection continue to grow.
"Catholics in the United States are clearly very committed to this Collection," Bishop Cupich said. "Their support of the Church in these geographical areas indicates both gratitude for their immigrant heritage of the past and a genuine hope for the future of Central and Eastern Europe." The annual collection focuses on the theme "Restore the Church, Build the Future."
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. The annual collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe is held in most parishes on Ash Wednesday.
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
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