The annual national Collection for the Church in Latin America (CLA) is slated for the weekend of January 26-27 in parishes across the country.
The collection supports pastoral projects in Latin America and the Caribbean that focus on evangelization, training lay leaders and catechists, and religious and seminary formation. This year’s collection especially supports youth and young adult ministries.
“We support the Church in Latin America to celebrate our Christian tradition by encouraging programs that develop the leadership of the young people in the Church,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America and auxiliary bishop of Seattle. “Through generous support from the collection, many parishes are able to provide youth with the tools they need to grow in their relationship with Christ.” Evangelization efforts include retreats, catechesis, and vocation discernment programs.
“In a particular way, the collection offers an opportunity to Hispanic Catholics in the United States to show solidarity with the Church in their country of origin and to support the young people throughout the entire hemisphere as they seek meaning in their lives,” Bishop Elizondo said. He also noted that the collection benefits youth and young adult training centers such as the Centro de Capacitaçâo da Juventude in Brazil and Pastoral Juvenil ministry programs in several Latin American countries.
In 2012, the collection awarded 417 grants totaling $6.5 million. These grants were distributed to 23 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America also provided grant assistance to rebuild churches in countries devastated by natural disasters such as the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the March 2010 earthquake in Chile, and the November 2012 devastation in Cuba and Haiti caused by Hurricane Sandy.