Each year, Catholics in the United States collectively give tens of millions of dollars to national collections that carry out the Gospel call to assist the poor and vulnerable by addressing pastoral and human development challenges impacting people domestically and internationally. Our donations show our solidarity, assist people at their most vulnerable and help to evangelize and teach the faith. While we also support our local parish and diocese, national collections allow modest gifts to the collection basket to make multi-million-dollar differences on lives and communities here at home and around the world.
Even a seemingly small donation makes a real impact. When you give, you help families who struggle to survive without safe water or who are recovering from a natural disaster. You help mariners who need spiritual support during long months on the high seas. You help people in low-income communities get access to job training and work toward affordable housing and health care that help to alleviate poverty for the long term. You help people struggling to rebuild their faith after decades of religious persecution.
Like seeds planted in fertile soil, your gifts to our national collections bear fruit and multiply. Recently, one of our Catholic Campaign for Human Development grants went to the Carolina Textile District to renew fabric manufacturing in a socially responsible way. When COVID-19 hit, that organization immediately helped its members convert production lines to make personal protective equipment for health care workers. An early shipment went to Cooperative Home Care Associates in the Bronx, a worker-owned agency for home care aides that started in the 1980s with another of our CCHD grants. Your national collection gifts have helped home aides make a living for more than a generation and now create fair-wage, environmentally sustainable textile jobs in the USA.
The former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, located on the border with China, continues to struggle through its transition to a free market democracy. Despite the difficulties and its relative isolation, the Catholics of Kyrgyzstan, although small in number, are growing into a vibrant community, sharing the Gospel with the diverse population that includes Kirgyz, Uzbek, Uygur, Russian, Polish and German people. Many of them are the descendants of those who were deported to the region by Josef Stalin. They are served by seven priests, one religious brother and five religious sisters who minister in parishes, small village chapels and even private homes. With support from the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, the Apostolic Administration of Kyrgyzstan is able to minister to many — not only to parishioners, but also to prisoners and those who are elderly and sick, regardless of ethnicity or religious affiliation. Your donations to this collection bring the life-giving Good News of Jesus to people in one of the most remote regions on earth.
We have all felt the bitter impact of COVID-19. Too many have lost jobs and loved ones. With public Mass reductions still in effect in many areas, Catholics long for the comfort of our Lord in the Eucharist. As you bear these sorrows, reflect on how the pandemic has shattered our neediest brothers and sisters’ already fragile lives. Imagine yourself in the place of a pregnant woman fleeing ISIS or of a family that risks cholera after a hurricane. Imagine the spiritual blow to a mission parish in the Dakotas, which has no resident priest, cannot afford lay staff and serves a community with high poverty and substance abuse.
Their need for your help has skyrocketed during the pandemic, but donations have plummeted. No one intended that. Good Catholic people lacked access to a collection basket or have lost work. This loss to national collections, however, has a devastating impact on real people with great needs. Please prayerfully consider contributing to the collections. Remember Mark 12:41-44: The tiny gift from a poor widow was far greater in Jesus’ eyes than vast sums from other donors. God measures your gift by your love.
If you cannot attend Mass, you may have national collection envelopes at home that you can mail to your parish. Also, many parishes and dioceses provide opportunities to give to the national collections electronically through e-offertory programs or diocesan websites. If you miss your parish collection or wish to give outside of the collection, you may send your donation directly to our office. Visit usccb.org/nationalcollections and look under “resources” for more information.
When we act as one church with one mission, God multiplies our gifts to make many impacts. We have hope, as Scripture assures us: “Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). Please give generously, as you are able, and keep the work funded by the national collections in your prayers.
Seattle Archbishop Paul D. Etienne is chairman of the Committee on National Collections for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Archbishop Paul D. Etienne was named Archbishop of Seattle on September 3, 2019 by Pope Francis. Read his blog at https://www.archbishopetienne.com/.
El Arzobispo Paul D. Etienne fue nombrado Arzobispo de Seattle el 3 de septiembre de 2019 por el Papa Francisco. Lea su blog en: https://www.archbishopetienne.com/.