US Catholics Aid European Parishes in Need

USCCB Subcommittee on Aid to Church in Central and Eastern Europe Awards 208 Grants to Dioceses in 23 Nations Once Behind Iron Curtain

US Catholics Aid
Bishop Jeffrey M Monforton - Diocese of Steubenville

US Catholic will aid Catholic dioceses that are struggling to recover from decades of communist persecution. The dioceses will receive $3.56 million for ministry and outreach thanks to the generosity of American Catholics to the annual collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe that is taken up in most dioceses each winter.

In June, the USCCB Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe awarded 208 grants to dioceses in 23 nations that were once behind the Iron Curtain.

“The Catholics of Central and Eastern Europe kept the faith alive in the darkest of times, at great peril to themselves, and endeavor to pass that very same faith on to their children,” said Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton of Steubenville, chairman of the subcommittee. “Catholics who have given to this collection are reaching out in love to aid their brothers and sisters who suffered so much for their faith and are helping a new generation to grow spiritually in very difficult circumstances. Thanks to those gifts, parishes are being renewed, critical social ministry is taking place, and bonds of love are formed between Catholics on opposite sides of the world.”

Several examples of the projects being supported by the grants are:

  • Revitalizing parish life in the Czech Republic by helping clergy and lay leaders better respond to spiritual needs in their communities.
  • Funding for a cathedral and pastoral center in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, which will be a national hub for outreach and evangelization.
  • Promoting the development of pro-life ministries in five nations:
    • In Albania, lay leaders are being trained to rebuild a culture of life rooted in a love of family, healthy relationships, and a deeper understanding of sexuality.
    • In Georgia, the Church will offer direct support to pregnant women and new parents while teaching fertility awareness and the basics of healthy relationships.
    • In Romania, hospitals, schools, social services, a Catholic university, and other ministries will collaborate to promote respect for life, strong families, and natural family planning.
    • In Slovakia, a grant supports a pregnancy resource center staffed by a professional psychologist and social workers.
    • In Slovenia, the Church will offer education and support to different age groups on healthy sexuality, cultivating purity, and overcoming addiction to pornography.

“The gifts of Catholics here in the U.S. to their sisters and brothers in Central and Eastern Europe will save lives, help people discover Jesus, and allow the Church that emerged from the catacombs to give witness to the power of the Resurrection,” Bishop Monforton said.

For more information about the Collection for Central and Eastern Europe, visit www.usccb.org/committees/church-central-eastern-europe.