Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

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

The Collection for the Catholic Church
in the United States
Saturday-Sunday, May 8-9, 2004

the Inland Register

(From the April 29, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

On Saturday and Sunday, May 8-9, the Catholic Church in the Spokane Diocese will take up a collection for her work in the United States. Sunday, May 9, is Mother’s Day which is an appropriate time for Mother Church to express her concern for her children in need, whether for funds, education or spiritual and material sustenance.

Ever since its beginning at Pentecost over 2,000 years ago, the Church has worked unceasingly to give assistance to the poor and needy and to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to people everywhere. The Acts of the Apostles and the New Testament letters tell of the many ways the early Christians helped each other by serving them and by taking up collections for those in need. That mission and focus continues in the work of the Church today.

The donations are distributed in six areas for the Church’s work throughout the United States. They include the Retirement Fund for Religious, the Campaign for Human Development, the Catholic Communications Campaign, Home Missions, Black and Native American Missions and the Catholic University of America.

Retirement Fund for Religious: Many Religious Sisters, Brothers and priests who have joined Religious Orders in years past and are now retired need financial help. Because the law was different then, they did not pay into Social Security or other pension funds and now find themselves living in poverty.

More than half the women Religious in the U.S. are over the age of 70. They had counted on their religious orders for support when they retired and with the decline in the number of vocations, their orders have few younger working members or funds to support the older members. These Religious have served selflessly and tirelessly, in schools, hospitals, orphanages and missions, bringing the truth and light of the Gospel. Now they are in need and deserve support from the Catholics they served.

Local orders that have received money through this fund include the School Sister of Notre Dame, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the Sisters of the Holy Names, the Benedictine Sisters of Cottonwood and the Oregon Province of Jesuits.

Catholic Campaign for Human Development: This self-help program of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops is truly a program to help people lift themselves from poverty.

The grants given support many kinds of programs. An example at the diocesan level is the Okanogan Communities Development Council in Twisp which is working to create sustainable living-wage jobs, thanks to CCHD.

The Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center in Seattle also received grant money to fund Women’s Justice Circles, some of which were held in Spokane. The Circles bring together low-income and homeless women with “collaborators” from churches, businesses and the medical profession to discuss those issues that so greatly affect women and to decide on a course of action.

Dollars allocated to the CCHD are “a hand up and not a hand-out.”

Catholic Communications Campaign: The Church has long progressed from the days of the Apostles and disciples traveling by foot to spread the news of the Gospel. Now there are TV and radio programs, internet websites, e-mail, newspapers and magazines that bring the Gospel to millions without a single blister. Nevertheless, as in the early days of the Church, funds are needed to carry on the work of the Church. A local example is Northwest Radio, a program broadcast over station 1510, KGA, in Spokane. Founders are Franciscan Sister Patricia Proctor and Deacon Eric Meisfjord who put together Catholic news for listeners each week. They develop local stories and use stories from the Catholic Communications Campaign to give listeners a broad spectrum of news and information about the Church in the diocese and around the world.

Well-informed Catholics can better share the joy of their faith and financial support of the communications area of the Church continues the important work of Christ’s early disciples.

Catholic Home Missions: Catholics can be found everywhere including far-flung rural areas throughout the United States and its territories. Priests and other Religious and Catholic laity work very hard to provide the sacraments and religious education to Catholics in these remote areas. Oftentimes the only way to reach some Catholic communities is by plane or boat. Sometimes the route is a rough mountain road. However the mode of travel, many miles get covered bringing help and hope to the faithful in all the country’s far reaches. They also need to know the love and truth of Christ to strengthen their faith and funds from this collection help make that possible.

Black and Native American Missions: The Church has always worked to bring the Gospel to all people. For nearly 200 years, the Church has assisted the Black and Native American communities in the U.S. Our financial support shows our care and concern and also the love of Jesus Christ for his people no matter who they are or where they live.

Native Americans in the Spokane Diocese have received funds from this particular collection, enabling them to purchase education and formation materials for their communities. Funds were also used to train lay ministers.

Catholic University of America: Education has always been important to Catholics. Hardly a parish has been opened without a school being constructed shortly thereafter. Sometimes the school was built first and then the parish church followed. Higher education is important in the life of Catholics, too. The U.S. Bishops decided that the Church should have its own institution of higher learning, to provide a Catholic education to all who wanted one. The Catholic University of America, the only official national Catholic university, is located in Washington, D.C., and provides majors in 66 fields for its students who come from all over the world.

These are brief descriptions of the work of the Catholic Church in the United States. Generosity brings its own reward and church officials hope that Catholics in the diocese will pray about their donation to this collection and then give as generously as they can.

The Four Diocesan Collections

  • The Collection of the Church in the U.S.
  • The Christmas Collection
  • The Annual Catholic Appeal
  • The Collection for the Church in the World

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