Dear Friends in Christ,
The 20th century saw enormous bloodshed and death-dealing regimes. Nothing, however, compares to the violence and brutality of the Soviet regime in Russia and her satellite countries. It is estimated that over 100 million perished at the hands of the communists. Men, women and children suffered over seventy years of brutality in Russia. But Communism not only annihilated its own people, it also destroyed the economy, shattered the rich Russian culture of Pushkin and Tolstoy and absorbed the individual into the leviathan state.
With prayers of supplication to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Providence brought about the sudden and peaceful fall of communist tyranny.
Many fought for this liberty. Through the tenacity of the oppressed, with the courage of the martyrs and by the wisdom and fortitude of leaders such as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and John Paul II, communism crumbled. Many who led movements of peaceful liberation—names such as Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa—made freedom possible.
The liberation of Russia and central and eastern Europe was the first and most essential battle for freedom but now perhaps an even more difficult situation presents itself to the faithful worldwide: The reconstruction and rebirth of Russia and its people.
In 1994, Aid to the Church in Russia was created just as the wall had tumbled. From the rubble of oppression, it seeks to assist the reconstruction of the spiritual and temporal order in Russia. We feel there is an obligation and debt of justice that the West has with those who shed their blood for the Gospel and for the cause of freedom in the East. We have been given so much; we must seek to rebuild Russia and its peoples.
Without the help of the West, Russia cannot recover. John Paul II reminds us of our solemn duty to assist the universal church, “those who are incorporated into the Catholic church ought to sense their privilege and for that very reason their greater obligation of bearing witness to the faith and to the Christian life as a service to their brothers and sisters and as a fitting response to God. They should be very mindful that they owe their distinguished status not to their own merits, but to Christ’s special grace; and if they fail to respond to this grace in thought, word and deed, not only will they not saved, but will be judged more severely” (mission of the redeemer No. 11)
Please join us in our cause to rebuild Russia and all those who have been affected by communist tyranny and oppression. Let us not let the new spawns of communist ideology—materialism, secularism, and the culture of death—continue to plague the former Soviet nations as Lenin and Stalin once did. Let us engage our material resources to build a lasting legacy for the church and people of the former Soviet regime.