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Relief Donations Day brings in the money

BEIJING (SE): The first collection for Relief Donations Day that was taken up in churches across China on Palm Sunday this year amounted to approximately 775,000 yuan ($930,000) and has been entrusted for distribution to the Jinde Charities, the only government-registered Catholic aid organisation in the country.
Although the collection on April 9 was somewhat controversial, the money collected in 15 dioceses and 33 parishes made up around 90 per cent of the grand total.
Fides reported that some touching stories emerged from the collection. One group in Yanjing in Tibet, a village parish where just over 700 of its 800 population are Catholic, managed to collect 12,290 yuan ($14,748).
Another parish in an extremely poor part of Lanzhou in Gansu province gave 626 yuan ($751) despite their poverty. In addition, a poor area of Guizhou gave 71,970 yuan ($86,148).
Relief Donations Day is the brainchild of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China, both of which are basically government-controlled bodies.
When the programme was announced some people claimed that since it was fundamentally being sponsored by the government, Relief Donations Day was really just a formality designed for publicity purposes, as it is just a one-off ad hoc event with no particular aim in mind. However, Jinde has promised transparency in its use and a well-studied well-targeted use of the funds.
Several bishops defended the fund reminding people that a snow storm that stranded many people and the earthquake in Wenzhuan, both of which occurred in 2008 demanded a quick release of funds to respond to the immediate needs of people and the Palm Sunday collection ensures that there is money to do this.
“We accepted help from Catholics in and outside China then. Now it should be our turn to help others,” one of the bishops said.

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