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WASHINGTON— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America approved nearly $2 million in grants during its March 21 meeting. The purpose of the grants is to aid the pastoral work and ministry of the Church in the region.
“Through the annual Collection for the Church in Latin America, our Bishops’ Conference is focused on building up the body of Christ by supporting pastoral formation in those parishes and communities where the resources are very scarce,” said Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chair of the subcommittee.
Some examples of projects funded include radio equipment near the mountainous city of Bucaramanga, in Colombia. Funds from the collection replaced an antenna that will help extend the reach of the local Catholic Radio.
Also, in a year when the Maryknoll Missionaries are celebrating their 100th anniversary, the collection’s funding assists 90- year-old missionary Fr. Fred Hegarty, MM, in his quest to help the rural poor of Chile recover from the last earthquake and keep faith in challenging times.
Some grants were also made available so that a group of young people from Haiti are able to attend World Youth Day in Spain with Pope Benedict XVI.
Three main categories of projects received over 50 percent of the March 2011 grants. More than a quarter of projects funded, 27 percent, or $535,668, went to help with the formation of religious, seminarians and clergy. Youth ministry projects were awarded $270,159, or 14 percent of funds; and lay leadership formation received $238,290, or 12.21 percent.
The remaining grants were awarded across a wide range of pastoral ministries and activities including: catechesis, pro-life, indigenous ministry, women projects, migration, values education, evangelization, communications, Bible/Scripture and stewardship. Less than 1.6 percent of the recommendations were for minor building repairs or the purchase of equipment.
The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America is part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. It provides support for the USCCB grant-making programas well as the Conference’s international policy work on Latin America. The subcommittee meets three times a year to review and make grant decisions.
More information on the Collection for the Church in Latin America can be found at http://www.usccb.org/latinamerica/.
Keywords: Latin America, evangelization, clergy, youth ministry, lay formation, Collection for the Church in Latin America, Archbishop José Gomez, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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