Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
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
The Collection for the Catholic Church in the World
Saturday-Sunday, October 18-19, 2003
The face of the Church in the world
the Inland Register
(From the Oct. 2, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)
“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all
who ever have.”
– Margaret Mead
Changing the world may indeed be done by a few people. But take those few people and multiply them by the many places throughout the world where they work in the name of Christ and the effect can be tremendous. In the midst of suffering, either from war or natural disaster, the Church reaches out to help. Not many people will travel to those places where the Church makes Christ’s love visible to the poor and suffering. But in the name of all Catholics, missionaries and others labor from the Middle East to Africa, from South America to Central and Eastern Europe, to Asia and India, bringing the light of Christ wherever they may be. The Church has quietly and consistently throughout her history provided food, shelter, education and training to help people live in human dignity.
The Church needs financial support from all its members to do that, though. One of the ways to support the work of the Church in the world is by making a contribution to the diocesan Collection for the World Missions. This collection will be taken at all the weekend Masses Oct. 18-19. The money raised in the collection is allocated to seven organizations that, in Christ’s name, work to make a difference in the lives of the people everywhere.
The Works of the Holy Father and the Apostolic See:
The Holy Father has made clear the Church’s “preferential option for the poor.” He also lives what he preaches. Money allocated to this area goes into a special fund that is available to the Pope for use in areas of greatest emergency, whether war or natural disaster. More than 98 cents of each dollar donated directly supports the Holy Father’s charitable works.
The collection for the Works of the Holy Father has its roots in the ninth century, when King Alfred the Great collected a “pence” from each landowner for financial support of the pope. Pope Pius IX began what became known as Peter’s Pence in the 1860s. The Spokane Diocese included the Peter’s Pence collection into its revamping of collections in 1998.
Collection for the Holy Land
The Franciscans are the guardians of the revered Christian places in the Holy Land. Under their watchful eyes and capable hands, the holy places have remained open and in good repair, bringing spiritual joy and peace to the pilgrims who visit. Sites cared for by the Franciscans include the place of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, the place of his death in Jerusalem, and the places where he taught. They also sponsor archeological and other research of sites connected with the Bible.
The Franciscans’ work has become much more difficult with the increasing violence in the Middle East. Because of the violence and terror, the area is suffering great economic hardship and the Franciscans have increased their social assistance activities as well.
Catholic Near East Welfare Association
This organization is a papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support in several different countries in the Near East.
CNEWA supports Catholic organizations in mostly Muslim countries such as Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. It provides support for churches and schools, for the education of seminarians and also cares for the physical needs of families.
CNEWA is an evolution of several agencies that worked in those countries and others, coming to its final organization in 1926.
The Society for the Propagation of the Faith
The Society has nearly 200 years of supporting the missionary work of the church. It was founded in 1822 to help missionaries throughout the world and the Society’s work is no less important today. As the needs of the Church in the missions continue to grow, with new dioceses being formed and new seminaries opened, the Society continues to provide funds.
It supports the education of seminarians, religious novices and lay catechists. It also funds the work of religious communities in the areas of religious education, health care and social service, as well as communications and transportation.
Catholic Relief Services
You name the place, Catholic Relief Services has been there. It may still be there, a bright ray of hope in dark places. For 60 years, CRS has assisted the poor and disadvantaged in over 90 countries around the world.
In August CRS went back into Liberia in response to the suffering in that war-torn nation. In April last year, in response to a flood in Argentina, CRS provided money toward the purchase of food aid, blankets, cooking stoves and gas.
The agency continues to be present in Africa, where famine and HIV/AIDS take a daily toll. It provided food and other assistance in the former Yugoslavia when that area was wracked by civil strife. These examples are just a very small part of the huge amount of work done by CRS.
CRS was founded in 1943 by the Catholic bishops of the United States and its motivating force is the gospel as it pertains to poverty and the fostering of justice in the world. CRS provides direct aid to the poor, but it also involves people in projects to help themselves have better lives.
The Guatemala Mission
For more than 25 years, the Spokane Diocese has had a presence in Guatemala in a sister relationship with the Diocese of Sololá. The diocese shares spiritual, material and human resources with the people in the Guatemalan diocese. The “sister diocese” relationship includes financial support, prayer and the exchange of representatives to provide pastoral guidance. Father David Baronti from the Spokane Diocese has ministered all of his 25 years as a priest in the Diocese of Solalá. The high mountainous area where Father Baronti lives and works is one of the poorest in the world. Thanks to his efforts and those of others in both dioceses, the Mayan Indian people are learning good health practices, good nutrition, and ways of earning a living. One of their more successful projects is a trout farm, in which the fish are raised and sold to local restaurants. The diocese supports a growing seminary, an active catechist program, a radio program, two schools, and numerous other programs to help the Mayans help
The Church in Central and Eastern Europe
The Church continues to rebuild itself in this area after 70 years of communist repression. However, religious freedom is in danger of being repressed once again. Former communist leaders are being re-elected. In many places, religious activity must be registered. Poverty is rampant which hinders church rebuilding and restoration.
Since the fund for Central and Eastern Europe began in 1990, nearly $72 million has been provided to more than 3,000 projects in 27 countries. Those projects include training of seminarians, providing catechetical materials, supporting religious education programs and expanding social ministries.
The Catholic Church is more than a local parish or diocese; it is universal. Christ himself asked his followers to love as he loved. “As often as you did it for one of my least of my brothers, you did it for me,” is found in Matthew 26:40. Prayerfully consider how best to contribute to the Collection for theWorld Missions.
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