CCCB Support for Eastern European Churches: Close to a Half Million Dollars

Thursday, November 16 2000

(CCCB – Ottawa) The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has donated more than $487,000 in grants over the last eight years to assist the Churches of Eastern and Central Europe as well as the Balkans.

The Canadian bishops had established a special fund in 1993 to support the Church in Eastern Europe that was trying to rebuild after the fall of communism. A committee, composed of Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic of Toronto, Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal and Archbishop Michael Bzdel, CSsR, Ukrainian Archeparch of Winnipeg and Metropolitan for Ukrainians Catholics in Canada, was charged with studying all requests for aid from Eastern Europe, giving priority to programs for pastoral training, theology and communications.

“The financial help given by the CCCB was gratefully received by all,” Archbishop Bzdel said. “It was a tangible sign of endorsement, solidarity and encouragement in what remains a bleak economic situation. It will take a generation or two to undo the damage suffered, especially by the churches and religious communities from 70 years of Communist government. They will continue to need our help and support.”

Over the past eight years more than 60 projects have benefited from the special fund that was set up by the CCCB with the help of many dioceses and Canadian Catholics. The fund was initially established for a five-year period, but because of demand its mandate was extended for another three years in 1997. While this special project has now concluded, any future demands from Eastern Europe will be studied by the CCCB Executive Committee to determine if money from other CCCB funds might be applicable.

CCCB General Secretary Msgr. Peter Schonenbach has indicated that most of the help that can be given to Eastern Europe will very much depend on donations that the Conference will receive from Canadian Catholics.