(USCCB) The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe approved over $4.8 million in funding for 206 projects in 22 countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
Projects approved for funding include:
* The Don Bosco Center for Education in Albania, founded 21 years ago, provides cultural, social, and academic resources to over 1,000 children from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds. The center provides stability and aid to the rapidly growing population of people from rural areas moving into the city to find work. The center also offers elementary, middle and high school education and has a vocational training center, a youth center, and a day care center. The grant will assist with necessary updates to the building to welcome more children and provide a safe environment for them.
* A grant to support seven priests, five hieromonks, and eight religious sisters that serve the parishes near the war zone in Eastern Ukraine. The armed conflict periodically reaches into that region making it a dangerous place to live. The priests and religious have remained there to offer pastoral and humanitarian aid to those in need. This grant will provide food, medicine and transportation costs to support the priests and sisters as they offer pastoral care and humanitarian aid to the tens of thousands of internally displaced persons in the region.
"As a family of faith, we stand with those who work tirelessly to build the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, who continue to face the challenge of overcoming decades of political and religious oppression," said Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, "We look to those living in this region as an example of hope and perseverance and continue to support their efforts to renew their communities."
Other projects approved by the subcommittee include scholarships, church construction, outreach to the poor, and evangelization programs. Grants approved by the subcommittee support the Church in countries that were oppressed by communist rule.
Grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. The national date for this collection is Ash Wednesday, although dioceses may take it up on different days. The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information about the collection and who it supports can be found at www.usccb.org/ccee.