From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Diocese’s World Missions Collection has impact on global Church

by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the Oct. 4, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

The third of the Spokane Diocese’s four annual collections, that for World Missions, will be taken up the weekend of Oct. 20-21. The theme for this year’s collection is “enrich their lives, provide hope, make a difference... give on October 21.”

Catholics in the diocese have been generous toward past collections; last year the collection brought in $134,149, a five percent increase from the year before.

Seven organizations whose efforts span the globe will benefit from the money received during the weekend’s Masses.

The seven areas where the funds are distributed include the diocese’s Guatemala Mission, Aid for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, Catholic Near East Welfare Association, Catholic Relief Services, Collection for the Holy Land, The Society for the Propagation of the Faith, and the Works of the Holy Father and the Apostolic See.

Guatemala Mission

Probably the most well-known to Eastern Washington Catholics is the diocesan mission in Guatemala.

The Spokane Diocese has an “sister diocese” agreement with the Diocese of Sololá that goes back more than 45 years. Father David Baronti ministers in remote areas of northern Guatemala among the Mayan people, who are among the most impoverished peoples in the world, helping to provide spiritual, material and human resources.

The Mayans live in the mountains at altitudes of 9,000-12,000 feet, eking out a living as best they can with few natural or personal resources.

Financial support given to the Guatemala mission goes directly to meet the needs of the people. Health care, education, work training programs, a seminary for young boys and housing are just a few of the many needs. The areas of health care and seminary formation require extra financial assistance.

Catholic Relief Services

Catholic Relief Services, the overseas relief and development agency of the Catholic Church in the United States, works in hundreds of countries around the world in humanitarian efforts to alleviate poverty and suffering.

CRS works in conjunction with local relief organizations to provide basic needs such as food and shelter, but also to develop ways that impoverished people can help themselves.

CRS can be found at work wherever disaster strikes, whether it’s an earthquake in Peru, devastating floods in India, violence between warring factions in Indonesia, the refugee crisis in Pakistan — the list is long. Most of the funds the agency receives is devoted to helping people in need, no matter where they are.

Aid for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe

Aid for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe focuses on restoring the Church in countries where Catholicism’s roots run deep. Because of communist oppression, many people grew up without any religious formation, and now the Church is working hard to catch up. Funds have supported almost 2,000 projects for the renewed Church. These include training of priests and Religious, building churches and pastoral centers and developing family counseling and pro-life programs.

The Society for the Propagation of the Faith

For nearly 180 years, The Society for the Propagation for the Faith has supported missionary work in the Catholic Church.

Evangelization programs in many areas of the world, such as Africa and Asia, receive support from the Society. There are 360 seminaries in mission countries, an increase of 38 percent since 1989. The Society also supports the education of Religious novices and catechists. It funds the work of Religious communities in education, health care and social services as well as communication and transportation.

With the funds it receives, the Society seeks to foster a deeper spirit of universal mission among Catholics, to let them know of the scope and breadth of the universal church.

Catholic Near East Welfare Association

The Christian Near East Welfare Association is a papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support, primarily in the Middle East. The focus of its work is broad, from supporting Christian churches, to helping poor Christians have livable homes, to helping them with their health needs.

Christians in the Middle East make up a minority of the population and they often receive little support from the social networks in the countries where they live. Support for their churches and seminaries is crucial, as is support for work in orphanages, schools, and catechetical centers.

While CNEWA centers its work primarily in the Middle East — of its resources, $150 million has been spent there — it also works with Christian groups in India, Egypt and some areas of Eastern Europe.

Collection for the Holy Land

The Franciscans have cared for religious sites in the Holy Land since the 1300s. They help preserve and maintain such places as Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem. Jerusalem has many sites of deep meaning to Christians, but chief among them is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

The Franciscans’ principal focus is to ensure worship in all the places in their care. One of their ministries is to give spiritual assistance to pilgrims who visit the Holy Land.

They have also increased their social assistance activities because of the continuing unrest in that troubled land.

The Franciscans have done extensive excavation work in the Holy Land, bringing to light new and important information about the holy places and about life in the early centuries of Christianity.

The Works of the Holy Father and the Apostolic See

Pope John Paul II cares deeply for the poorest of the poor, and calls people everywhere to help the less fortunate in their midst. Emergency assistance is given from this fund to people who suffer as a result of war, oppression and natural disasters. In his speeches, letters and in his travels all over the globe, the Holy Father issues a challenge to “build a future befitting the dignity of the human person.”

The World Mission collection provides an opportunity for Catholics in the diocese to meet the challenge and to be generous in supporting these varied efforts of their church in the world.

Inland Register archives

© The Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane. All Rights Reserved