August 4, 2016
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
"Restore the Church - Build the Future" is the national theme for the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe (CCEE) which will be taken up in our diocese on the weekend of August 14. Grants funded by this national collection support pastoral projects, scholarships, and Catholic organizations working in areas formerly under Soviet control. The bishops and people of these regions still face enormous challenges in restoring church structures and in rebuilding the cultural and spiritual life of the community, tasks that are often complicated by a lack of religious freedom. The emerging problems posed by secularism also require major investments in developing the next generation of Church leaders.
For example, the people of Armenia face many challenges, and recovery from a devastating earthquake in the late 1980s and the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s has been difficult and slow. Many children in Armenia live on the street because of poor family situations or the need to earn their own money. The Sisters of the Immaculate Conception have used a grant from CCEE to fund a summer camp for 850 children ages 8 to 15.
The camp is provided for children who are orphans, live in extreme poverty, or live in poor isolated villages. At camp, the children receive much-needed rest along with physical and spiritual support, all in a nurturing environment. Local and international volunteers help create an atmosphere of safety and trust while guiding and mentoring the children. Some of the camp activities include attending catechetical classes, going hiking and on field trips, and participating in sports and acting in theatrical presentations. While at camp, the children can experience the encouraging love and support of God and others.
In order for projects like this one to continue, the collection needs your help. I ask that you keep these programs in your prayers and that we join our fellow Catholics in the United States in making a generous contribution to support the efforts to rebuild pastoral capacity and create future leaders of the Catholic Church in Central and Eastern Europe.
With every prayerful best wish, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. McManus
Bishop of Worcester