Washington D.C., Jan 27, 2023 / 06:00 am (CNA).
This year’s Ash Wednesday collection, which will be taken at Masses across the U.S. on Feb. 22, will send aid to the Church in war-torn Ukraine and Eastern Europe, where they have helped support Catholics since the fall of communism.
In 2022, the bishops found themselves in the unusual position of having to minister to a Church heavily impacted by a major war in Ukraine.
Bishop Jeffrey Monforton, who heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe (CCEE), told CNA that the generosity of American Catholics in response to the war was “unprecedented.”
“When the first bombs struck Ukraine nearly a year ago, aid was already coming in from Catholics in the United States through the U.S. bishops’ Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe,” a Tuesday press release by the USCCB and CCEE said.
Where the money went in 2022
Though the USCCB has not yet issued a full report for 2022, Jennifer Healy, director of the CCEE, told CNA that $8.5 million was raised for the Church in central and eastern Europe in 2022.
This enabled the bishops to send over $3 million (36% of the money raised) to fund projects in Ukraine and the surrounding nations to care for refugees impacted by the violence.
According to the Tuesday press release, in the first few months of the war, the bishops expedited nearly 50 emergency grants to churches and Catholic groups in Eastern Europe to help relieve the suffering Ukrainian people.
As Russian tanks rolled through the Ukrainian countryside and bombs leveled whole city blocks at a time, funds from the CCEE were providing vital humanitarian relief in the form of food, clothing, shelters, medical, and other basic needs, such as generators, heat pumps, and vehicles to transport aid and refugees.
One grant funded by the collection even provided the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church satellite communications so it could coordinate efforts to give shelter, first aid, food, and spiritual ministry to Ukrainians caught in the conflict.
READ ON BELOW…Here’s what American Catholics in the pews have done to help relief efforts in Ukraine – Catholic World Report
Here’s what American Catholics in the pews have done to help relief efforts in Ukraine – Catholic World Report