By MARIAN CURD PRE M ENDOUS gratitude to the people of Britain who have given E10,(Xx) in the past 16 mouths for Iron Curtain Church Relief, has been expressed this week by the Prior of Storrington, Sussex, on behalf of Fr. Werenfried van Straaten, 0.Praem., one of Europe's most outstanding apostles to the persecuted.
Speaking from the Priory of Our Lady of England, on the eve of the annual pilgrimage in honour of Our Lady of England, attended by Bishop Cowderoy, Fr. O'Neill said: "at least 3.0(s) letters have arrived here from people—mainly readers (4 the csei emu: HLRALD—giving a donation to the fund-.
1 he news comes in a week when Fr. Van Straaten himself announces from his 'Tonged°, Belgium. H.Q.. that he needs at least LIl million to balance his budget for 1964—money which, needless to say. has already been allocated.
Ilalf a million copies of his bimonthly newsletter Mirror in several languages arc now pouring out to countries of Europe and America. They detail his plans for the coming year. plans which include aid for the persecuted Church in 16 countries, aid for Latin America, aid for refugees of 20 different nationalities, money for training priests for the day when the Iron Curtain lifts.
The largest allocation, 1637.500. will be spent on the needy behind the Iron Curtain: food. medicines. hooks. sestments. means of transport for priests in charge of enormously scattered areas, and for the restoration of dilapidated churches.
More than 1245,000 will he used to help the Church in Latin America: aid will go to dioceses, to parishes, for social work, to eliminate bad housing, to help workers and the young.
Refugees of 20 nations will receive 1119.000 to provide help for the poor and the children, and to maintain the travelling mission chapels.
Something like 1105.000 has been allocated for the training of priests in the free world who will one day work among their own people behind the. Iron Curtain.
More than £73,500 is to be spent on press, hooks and other information services reminding the Church in the free world of the plight of those under oppression: and. in addition, a substantial debit balance needs to be paid off from 1%3.
Looking after Fr.. Van Straaten's account in England is the Very Rev. Fr. Prior. O.Praem. Priory of Our Lady of England. Storrington, Sussex.