Adapted by AB Griffin, ACN Canada
Montreal, Friday, January 31, 2014 –. Catholic pastoral charities in Germany, Poland, the USA and the international Catholic pastoral charity “Aid to the Church in Need” have responded to the critical situation in Ukraine.
“We want to strengthen the role of the Christian Churches as a peacemaking force in Ukraine, to show our solidarity and to support them, but not any particular position or party,” Johannes Heereman, Executive President of “Aid to the Church in Need”, explained after a meeting with representatives of the German, Polish and US Bishops’ Conference in Königstein, Germany.
Approximately 75.7 million (CAN) in aid was provided to projects in Eastern, Central and South-East Europe by the four pastoral charities in 2013. A major portion of these funds was allocated to promote initiatives by the Greek and Roman Catholic Churches in Ukraine.
Representatives of the aid initiatives meet once a year to co-ordinate aid programs and to exchange experiences on the current situation of the Churches in the various countries of the former Eastern Bloc. In some countries, for instance in Albania and Moldova, the economic situation has deteriorated. And in Kazakhstan, where Catholics are a small but vital minority, the Church relies on support, Heereman claimed. “The collaboration between the pastoral charities is very close. After the transition the prime concern was to restore or build the Churches and church buildings. Today we mainly support the training of priests, people in religious orders and laypersons,” emphasized the Executive President. “Since the fall of the Iron Curtain a lot of work has been done on building up the Churches. Even so the Churches in Eastern, Central and South-Eastern Europe still need our solidarity today,” said Heereman in his closing statement.