WASHINGTON--The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe approved 211 grants for a total of $4,998,428 in aid to finance pastoral, educational, and construction projects in Central and Eastern Europe. The subcommittee evaluated and approved grant proposals for 2014 during the bishops' annual spring General Assembly on June 10, in New Orleans.
The projects focus on rebuilding Catholic schools and orphanages, the formation of seminarians, and the preservation of Catholic education and intellectual life in 20 countries, covering a geographical area that extends into Central Asia. These grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe.
"As recent events in the Ukraine have clearly demonstrated, our brothers and sisters in Central and Eastern Europe stand in utmost need of our help," said Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Washington, chairman of the Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. "The Church in these countries is doing so much good, despite recovering from the harm done in the past and facing the challenges of today's secular culture. Through our funded projects, Catholics in the United States are sending a clear message that, in the words of Pope Francis, we want to accompany them in this new phase of their journey as disciples of Christ."
Among the grants allocated at this meeting, the subcommittee focused their attention on the Ukraine. They approved 80 grants for pastoral work and reconstruction in that country, totaling $1,305,532. Projects that were approved include: the construction of a shelter for the homeless, operating costs for several orphanages run by the Sisters of St. Joseph, program costs for youth retreats, and Catholic television programming. Several projects will support the religious who work in the Ukraine. These grants include: the construction costs for a seminary, formation and training programs for religious sisters, and windows for monastic cells in the Holy Intercession Studite Monastery, as well as support for several seminaries and programs for priests.
"I thank each of you who have contributed to make these grants possible," said Bishop Cupich. "And I ask for your continued prayers and financial support. Together, we can strengthen the Church in these countries by funding projects which give our Catholic sisters and brothers the resources to proclaim the faith anew in an age marked by secularism and a new atheism. We can be proud that we are helping them build on their rich heritage for future generations."
The national date for the collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe is on Ash Wednesday. However, some dioceses take up the collection at other times during the year.
More information on the work of the Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe is available online at: www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/central-and-eastern-europe/index.cfm