CATHOLIC EDUCATION COLLECTION TO BE HELD THIS WEEKEND
Michelle Basista and Sheila Grove
ERIE — The Catholic Education Collection will be held this weekend, September 19-20, in parishes in the Diocese of Erie. Gifts to this annual collection support Catholic education as well as lifelong faith formation programs in parishes throughout the 13 counties of the diocese. They also are used to make grants available for training and technology. Half of the money donated remains in the parish where it is collected.
Deacon Steve Washek, executive director of the Office of Faith Formation, believes faith formation goes beyond the classroom and includes people of all ages.
“The Catholic Education Collection assists parishes across the diocese with support, training and resources needed to fulfill the pastoral mission of evangelization and catechizing the faithful,” he says.
The Catholic Education Collection also enhances the Religious Education Endowment Fund (REEF) of the Diocese of Erie and the Education Endowment of the Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania. REEF supports training for catechists and pastoral ministers offering grants for programs that assist laypersons as theydeepen their faith and ministerial competence. The Catholic Foundation’s Education Endowment provides financial support for children to attend Catholic school, and funds technology for diocesan Catholic schools.
St. Catherine of Siena Parish, DuBois, received a grant in 2019 to help provide faith development, faith sharing and continuing education for parishioners in the Eastern Vicariate. Fourteen participants from six parishes took a six-week course titled Scripture: The New Testament, in spring 2020. The goals were to promote adult faith development and formation and help prepare future catechists. Since only a few had previous interaction with the other participants, the class also was a good way for them to get to know each other.
Another project that was funded through the Catholic Education Collection was tuition assistance for families, enabling more K-12 students to reap the benefits of attending Catholic schools across the diocese. Jim Gallagher, superintendent of Catholic Schools says, “Support for the Catholic Education Collection helps our youth to be invited to know, love and serve God. In this concrete way we can live out the mission of the Catholic Church.”
Half of every dollar raised in the Catholic Education Collection remains in the parish to support its own religious education and faith formation programs.
There are three ways to support this important collection. Parishioners can contribute during the second collection at Mass on September 19-20, send an offertory envelope directly to their parish, or make an online gift at https://www.eriercd.org/Catholic-Education-Collection.html.