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The Catholic Church is able to carry out its good works in large part due to the generosity of her people. Catholics financially support their Church primarily through the Sunday offertory collection; annual bishops’ appeals, which support diocesan-sponsored causes; and 10 national collections approved by the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Results as of 2010:
Many bishops conduct annual appeals in their dioceses to address the needs of the diocese and local parishes such as social service programs, Catholic schools, youth ministry, seminaries and
seminarians, evangelization, parish needs, campus ministry and priests’ retirement.
Throughout the course of the year, many dioceses participate in 10 national collections approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for specific needs of the Church. These collections are taken up in parishes often as a second collection after the Sunday offertory.
Church in Central and Eastern Europe
This special collection aids many of the pastoral needs of the Church of Central and Eastern Europe. The collection helps to rebuild the Church by supporting seminaries, social service programs, youth ministry, pastoral centers, church construction and renovation, and the transmission of the Gospel message through television, radio and the Catholic press in 28 countries. In 2011, U.S. Catholics contributed $7.3 million9 to the Central and Eastern Europe collection.
Catholic Relief Services Collection
This appeal supports agencies that build the international social ministry of the Catholic Church through advocacy on behalf of the powerless and impoverished people and relief and resettlement services to victims of natural disasters, war, and religious and ethnic persecution. This collection helps to fund the work of Catholic Relief Services, the USCCB Departments of Justice, Peace and Human Development, Migration and Refugee Services and Cultural Diversity in the Church, the relief work of the pope, and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC). In 2011, U.S. Catholics contributed $17.8 million10 to the Catholic Relief Services collection.
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
This collection was mandated by the U.S. bishops to “address the root causes of poverty in America through promotion and support of community-controlled, self-help organizations and transformative education.” Since its establishment in 1970, CCHD has granted more than $270 million to more than 4,000 community-based, self-help projects initiated and led by people living in poverty. Twenty five percent of contributions from U.S. Catholics is retained by dioceses to fund local grants, and 75% is sent to the national office at the USCCB to fund projects from around the nation. In 2011, U.S. Catholics contributed $8.9 million11 to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development collection.
Catholic Home Missions Appeal
Launched in 1998, the Appeal strengthens the Catholic Church in the United States and its territories where resources are thin and priests are few. Current grantees include 84 Latin and Eastern Catholic dioceses in Appalachia, the South, the Southwest, the Rocky Mountain states, Alaska, and the islands of the Pacific and Caribbean. The appeal funds a wide range of pastoral services, including evangelization, religious education, the maintenance of mission parishes, the training of seminarians and lay ministers, and ministry with ethnic groups, especially Hispanics. Four out of every 10 U.S. dioceses receive support from this Appeal. In 2011, U.S. Catholics contributed $8.7 million13 to the Catholic Home Mission Appeal collection.
Peter’s Pence (Collection for the Holy Father)
The Peter’s Pence Collection enables the pope to respond with emergency financial assistance to requests for aid to the neediest throughout the world—those who suffer as a result of war, oppression and natural disasters. It provides parishioners with a tangible opportunity not only to empower the weak, defenseless, and voiceless, but also to sustain those who suffer. In 2011, U.S. Catholics contributed $15.6 million15 to the Peter’s Pence collection.
Retirement Fund for Religious
Since 1988, the Retirement Fund for Religious has distributed over $643 million16 through restricted grants to any religious institute in the United States that has an unfunded past service liability, and both basic, supplemental and special assistance retirement grants to religious institutes based on a formula and criteria approved by the conferences of major superiors and bishops. During 2012, donations were distributed in direct care assistance to 45317 religious institutes.
Black and Indian Missions
Established in 1884, the National Collection for Black and Indian Missions supports and strengthens diocesan evangelization programs that otherwise would cease. This collection provides religious support for evangelization programs among African Americans and Native Americans in 133 archdioceses and dioceses.20 In 2011, U.S. Catholics contributed about $8 million to Black and Indian Missions collection.
The Catholic University of America
This national collection provides funding for academic scholarships at The Catholic University of America in Washington. Catholic University, founded in 1887, is the only institution of higher education founded by the U.S. bishops. Students are enrolled from all 50 states and almost 100 countries. In 2011, U.S. Catholics contributed $5.2 million to the Catholic University of America collection. A national effort that is not officially a collection but is approved by the USCCB and taken up in many dioceses is the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa. This special fund supports the future of the Church in Africa by funding grants for projects that range from Catholic education to evangelization. Programs supported by the Solidarity Fund work to overcome current challenges and ensure that the quickly growing African Church continues to thrive within its vibrant faith communities.The Pastoral Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa began as a joint project of the USCCB Committees on International Policy, Migration, and African American Catholics, supported by Catholic Relief Services and the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the United States. On January 1, 2008, it became part of the Committee on National Collections with the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa leading the effort.21 In 2011, U.S. Catholics contributed $1.9 million to the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa.
1 Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Study Documents the
Supersizing of the U.S. Catholic Parish Life, p. 2, Emerging Models of
Pastoral Leadership Project, www.cara.georgetown.edu
3 Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Study Documents the
Supersizing of the U.S. Catholic Parish Life, pp. 1-2, Emerging Models of
Pastoral Leadership Project, www.cara.georgetown.edu
6 International Catholic Stewardship Council, 2012.
9 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Comprehensive Collection
Summary Report, 2012
16 Retirement Fund for Religious, Annual Appeal, www.retiredreligious.org
(accessed on 07/20/12)
17 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Religious Retirement
Office, Statistical Report, p. 8, 2012, Retirement Fund for Religious,
Where donations go, www.retiredreligious.org (accessed on 07/20/12)
18 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Religious Retirement
Office, Statistical Report, p. 3, 2012.
19 Retirement Fund for Religious, Frequently asked questions,
www.retiredreligious.org (accessed on 07/20/12)
20 2012 Catholic Almanac (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 2012)
21 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Who we Are,” Solidarity fund for Africa,
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