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

Diocese takes up Collection for the Church in the United States next month

by Jami LeBrun, Inland Register staff

(From the April 28, 2005 edition of the Inland Register)

The Collection for the Catholic Church in the United States (CCUS) seeks to respond appropriately and constructively to the pressing needs nationally.

The CCUS was developed to ensure the future of the Catholic Church in America by providing care for the elderly and education for the young and talented minds that are the future of the Church. It provides funding for Catholics to promote Gospel values in a culture increasingly driven by consumerism and moral relativism.

On Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8, the Catholic Church in the Spokane Diocese will take up a collection for the CCUS. Donations to the CCUS are distributed in six areas for the Church’s work throughout the United States: the Retirement Fund for Religious, the Campaign for Human Development, the Catholic Communications Campaign, Home Missions, Black and Native American Mission, and The Catholic University of America.

Retirement Fund for Religious: This ministry brings vital support to elderly servants of the faith. Many retired Religious Sisters, Brothers and priests who have joined Religious orders are in desperate need of financial help. Since most of them did not pay into Social Security or other pensions funds, they now find themselves living in poverty.

More than half the women Religious in the U.S. are over the age of 70. With a decrease in the number of vocations, Religious orders have found themselves unable to care for their elderly members. These women gave their lives selflessly and tirelessly to the Church – teaching in the schools, assisting in hospitals, orphanages and missions, bringing the truth and light of the Gospel. Now they need the support of the people they spent their lives serving.

Orders serving in the Spokane Diocese that receive funding from the CCUS include the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the Sisters of the Holy Names, the Benedictine Sisters of Cottonwood, Idaho, and the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus.

Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD): This self-help program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is truly a program to help people lift themselves from poverty.

CCHD projects create jobs, improve neighborhoods and train adults for employment at a living wage. They help to keep schools safe and enriching for children and develop leaders for the future. CCHD is effective because it funds hundreds of projects initiated and led by the poor, helping eradicate the root causes of poverty.

CCHD is the nation’s largest private funder of projects that empower the poor. Since 1969, it has been working to end poverty and injustice in the United States. Its two-fold mission emphasizes justice education programs, and grants for projects that empower low-income communities.

By helping people help themselves, the CCUS lets Catholics carry out their Christian responsibility in a compassionate and effective way. Dollars allocated to the CCHD are a hand up – not a hand-out. The CCHD is about building a church for the future. It is what baptized Catholics are called to do.

Catholic Communications Campaign: This ministry supports projects that promote Gospel values and bring the Church’s message to a wide array of people. The Catholic Communications Campaign provides public service announcements that promote strong family ties, the need for reconciliation and regular church attendance.

It also provides a toll-free number for Catholics traveling throughout the United States to find Mass times and locations, no matter what city or state they find themselves in, and a movie review line to help parents make decisions about the movies their families watch.

Locally, stories produced by the Catholic Communication Campaign are heard as part of The Northwest Catholic Hour, heard Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-noon, on KTRW, 970 AM.

Well-informed Catholics can better share the joy of their faith. Financial support of the communications area of the Church continues the important work of spreading the Gospel.

Catholic Home Missions: This program extends and strengthens the presence of the Church by helping provide basic pastoral services to places where Catholics are few in number and parishes are widely scattered.

Priests, Religious and laity working to provide the sacraments and religious education to the most rural communities in the U.S. often find themselves stretched very thin – financially, physically and spiritually. This fund seeks to ease that burden.

The Diocese of Spokane recently received a $10,000 grant through Catholic Home Missions that was used for evangelization and lay ministry training.

Black and Native American Missions: This ministry supports evangelization programs, training of lay catechists and parish religious education in black and Native American communities throughout the U.S. Through the CCUS, approximately 130 dioceses and archdioceses have received grants for their programs.

The Spokane Diocese has received funds from this particular collection for nearly 15 years to help parishes serving Native American populations in Inche-lium, Wellpinit, West End, Nes-pelem and Omak, enabling them to purchase education and formation materials for their communities. They also use the funds to train lay ministers.

The Catholic University of America: Education is an important part of the Church’s mission. Located in Washington D.C., The Catholic University of America is the only higher education institute founded by the U.S. Bishops. It is a private educational school where students who come from all over the world can pursue degrees in over 66 fields.

Seminarians and priests from the Spokane Diocese are often sent to the Catholic University of America for further formation in the faith and to pursue graduate studies in theology and canon law. Currently, Deacon Peter Amah and Deacon Michael Ishida, both seminarians for the diocese, are studying theology there.

These are just brief descriptions of some of the work performed by the Catholic Church in the United States. The Diocese of Spokane hopes that Catholics will pray about their donation to this collection, and on May 7 and 8 give as generously as they can to support the future of the Church in the United States.

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