By Marian Curd
AMAN with a budget worry large enough to frighten a tycoon sent out one and a half million letters last week confident that they will bring in more than E300.000 before the year's end.
The money is desperately wanted by Iron Curtain Church Relief, the giant organisation run from Tongerlo Abbey in Belgium and which brings Faith and Hope wrapped up in Charity to untold millions behind the Iron Curtain.
In January this year, Fr. Werenfried Van Straaten, founder and organiser of ICCR, promised £1,500,000 worth of spiritual and material help to refugee priests, to persecuted Catholics in Eastern Europe, to pour lepers of Calcutta, to the menaced Church of Latin America.
He promised help to those preparing for "Day X", the day of liberation on which the Iron Curtain will lift. This means thousands of pounds for seminaries, religious houses and other institutions where young people are being trained as priests and nuns, ready to carry not only spiritual but also material help to newly liberated countries.
But with less than two months to go the budget is still some £300,000 short.
Fr. Van Straaten himself will be preaching as always his 10 or so sermons on Sundays—around 100 a month and will stand with his Famous collecting hat at the ready.
"I have only my voice to appeal with and my pen to write with," says Fr. Van Straaten in the latest issue of Mirror, the bi-monthly publication of ICCR.
Thanks go out to the miner who stopped smoking for 10 days and sent the money saved to ICCR; to the anonymous donor who pressed 300.000 francs into the hands of a colleague: to the Italian priest who sent a fortune he inherited to ICCR orphanage in Hang Kong; to the English parish priest who sent £650 to ransom a priest from a Communist prison.
Next year Fr. Van Straaten is due to come to England for a lecture tour. He will probably bring one of his huge chapel trucks for use as a travelling exhibition.
Meanwhile the Prior at the Priory of Our Lady of England at Storrington, in Sussex, is collecting funds raised in this country— funds which already amount to more than £1,000.