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WASHINGTON—The 2013 Catholic Home Missions Appeal will be taken up in many dioceses the weekend of April 27-28, helping to bridge the gap for isolated parishes and missions in dioceses and eparchies across the United States and in the U.S. territories of the Caribbean and Pacific islands.
The annual appeal is the primary source of funding for grants from the USCCB Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. In the United States, 44 percent of all dioceses andeparchies currently receive support from the Appeal for basic and essential pastoral programs such as evangelization, catechesis, seminary formation, and lay leadership training.
"Many Catholics in the United States don't realize how many dioceses are struggling, often right next door," said Bishop Peter F. Christensen of Superior, Wisconsin, chairman of the Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. "Once appointed bishop of Superior, I became painfully aware that my former parish budget and staff were more than double the operations of the entire diocese I now serve." Grants from the Catholic Home Missions Appeal help support 84 struggling dioceses and strengthen the Church here at home.
The needs of mission dioceses are diverse. For instance, the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee covers 18 counties in the Florida panhandle; three counties do not have a resident priest, and one county does not have a Catholic church. Vast physical distances, a rocky economy and a highly diverse ethnic population are also challenges. The Catholic Home Missions Appeal helps the diocese provide support for programs in 57 parishes and missions.
The Diocese of Tyler, in east Texas, has grown tremendously since it was established in 1987. Beginning with 40 active priests, there are now 90 priests, 15 seminarians, 40 vowed religious women and more than 100 deacons. The Catholic Home Missions Appeal assists the diocese in seminary education and vocation ministries to serve in rural, low-income parishes.
These are just two examples of how dioceses can benefit from the Catholic Home Missions Appeal.
More information on the Catholic Home Missions Appeal and the projects it funds can be found at www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/catholic-home-missions-appeal/
Keywords:Catholic Home Missions Appeal, missionary work, evangelization, Bishop Peter F. Christensen, Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions,
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