Archbishop Timothy Broglio, president of the USCCB, personally visited Ukraine at the end of December 2022 in an official visit to Church leaders ministering to Ukraine’s soldiers and suffering civilians.
Taras Dobko, senior vice rector at the Ukrainian Catholic University, told CNA that Broglio’s visit to the war-torn country was perceived as a show of solidarity “on behalf of all American Catholics.”
“We, Ukrainians, felt embraced through this visit with hope that the good will prevail and the suffering of our nation will not be in vain,” Dobko said.
“Whenever peace reigns again — God willing, soon — and the time for rebuilding arrives,” Healy said, “the USCCB fund will continue to support the Church and be a strong partner in that massive effort.”
U.S. Catholics have been helping for decades
The Ash Wednesday collection has sent more than $200 million to the Church in 28 nations in central and eastern Europe since 1991, according to Healy.
Bishop Monforton told CNA that the collection funds projects to restore the Catholic faith in the nations that suffered anti-Catholic subjugation under the former Soviet Union.
Under communism, Monforton said, religion was actively persecuted, and atheism was propagated as the law of the land.
In Albania, one of the nations the collection supports, Monforton explained that anyone who so much as expressed belief in Christianity would be killed.
The collection funds the rebuilding of churches, schools, and ministries to help the faithful in nations from Estonia to Albania, where decades of suppression under communist rule continue to negatively impact the culture and Church.
Where the money went in 2021
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The most recent full CCEE report available is from 2021. The 2021 report issued by the USCCB said that the Eastern European fund raised nearly $6.5 million.
The largest portion of those funds (31.27%) was used to rebuild 79 places for Catholics to worship, teach, and carry out social ministry.
The next largest portion (14.5%) supported 74 evangelization efforts in eastern and central Europe.
The remaining portions of the fund were used for scholarships, Catholic education, support for seminaries, social aid, and some was used for administrative costs.