CV NEWS FEED // The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) this week invited Catholics to exercise charity in a special way on Valentine’s Day by expressing “love for their sisters and brothers in war-torn Ukraine and in 27 other post-Communist countries.”
Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and the first day of Lent, this year falls on February 14, also known as Valentine’s Day. The USCCB encouraged Catholics in a January 24 statement to exercise charity this Valentine’s Day by donating to the annual Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe.
The generosity of American Catholics during the annual Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, “especially since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has yielded over $2 million in urgent humanitarian and pastoral relief to victims of the war,” the USCCB stated.
“When Catholics give to this collection, they are actively participating in the rebuilding of the Church in places where decades of Communism have left behind devastated churches and wounded spirits,” said Bishop Jeffrey Monforton, auxiliary bishop of Detroit, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Central and Eastern Europe.
During a recent visit to Ukraine, Monforton said that he “entered crypts that are now well-stocked bomb shelters, with light and heat from generators supplied through the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe.”
The U.S. bishops established its Church in Central and Eastern Europe program three decades ago at the urging of Pope John Paul II. Since the 2022 Russian invasion, the annual collection to support the program has provided war relief through Catholic ministries in Ukraine and neighboring nations – while still supporting evangelization, pastoral care, and social outreach in 28 other eastern European countries.
Some of these grants have not only provided much needed help to Ukrainian Catholics, but also a cathedral for the small but vibrant Catholic community in predominantly Muslim Kyrgyzstan; a pro-life counseling center in Slovakia; training support for volunteer mentors of young married couples and state-of-the-art renovations to a landmark 18th century building in Romania that has been returned to the Catholic church and will be used as a seminary.
Most dioceses will take this collection in parishes on Ash Wednesday, February 14.