USA (Thursday, February 28, 2019, Gaudium Press) The countries in Central and Eastern Europe have faced many years of hardship. They have been oppressed by czars, radical communism, horrendous crimes against humanity, and revolutionary, civil, and world wars. Under communism, organized religion was opposed in favor of atheism to overthrow the power of the Russian Orthodox Church. Since the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991, Central and Eastern European countries have been working to rebuild political structures, social welfare, and their economies.
The USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Central and Eastern Europe funds projects in 28 countries to build the pastoral capacity of the Church and to rebuild and restore the faith in these countries. The funds collected in the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe are used to support seminaries, youth ministry, social service programs, pastoral centers, church construction and renovation, and Catholic communications projects.
Years after the fall of communism, even though some are now European Union citizens, the Catholics of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union still have great needs. The 2019 Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, slated for Ash Wednesday, March 6, will focus on the theme “Restore the Church. Build the Future.”
Rebuilding the Church in Georgia
After decades of persecution, Catholics of the Armenian rite, the Chaldean rite, and the Latin rite have experienced a new era of freedom since Georgia became independent from the Soviet Union. These communities have set about rebuilding the Church, but poverty and remote, rural locations have made this work more difficult.
In the mountain village of Tambovka, the community of about 200 ethnic Armenians is frequently isolated due to harsh winters and heavy snowfalls that make the one road into town impassable. WIth support for the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, Fr. Mykhail and the Tambovka community are renewing the faith through the creation of a youth center dedicated to teaching children the faith as well as providing a place to participate in music, dance, and art classes and to receive help with homework and language skills. Through efforts such as this, you help to form a new generation of disciples.