The Church in the US will support nearly 200 projects in Latin America, providing funding totaling more than $3.2 million.
At their meeting Nov. 8, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America approved funding for 197 projects, totaling over $3.2 million. The funds will be disbursed as grants to aid the pastoral work of the Church in the Caribbean and Latin American region.
“This collection gives help to Catholic communities in the Latin American and Caribbean countries that are struggling with poverty, sometimes violence and a lack of resources,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the subcommittee. “All the members of the subcommittee travel to visit our funded projects and speak with the people and local bishops. We see first-hand what a difference these grants make, and how the Church is built up by the solidarity of Catholics here in the United States,” the bishop stated.
“We also are supporting capacity development for stewardship and fundraising throughout the region,” he continued, referring to a grant to help fund stewardship development and a deeper understanding of Catholic giving among Church leaders in the region.
At this meeting, the subcommittee funded projects that focus on the formation of lay leaders, catechists, seminarians, and men and women religious. The subcommittee also funded several projects that carry out the call to the new evangelization and that strengthen and catechize families. Of special note are grants that were awarded to support attendance at the World Meeting of Families to take place in Philadelphia next year.
In Brazil, a grant of $30,000 will support the network of Women’s Help Centers (Centro de Apoyo a la Mujer). These centers reach out by phone and online to offer women facing an unexpected pregnancy support and information. To date, the center claims 177,000 lives saved through their outreach.
In many areas of Latin America, rural communities may become isolated from the life of society and the Church. In Chile, a grant for $25,000 will train 90 young people as missionaries. These young people will attend workshops and receive training to go out to 30 parishes across seven dioceses to build community and include rural youth in the life of the Church.
In addition to 21 pastoral projects for the Church in Haiti funded by the regular parish Collection for the Church in Latin America, the subcommittee also approved 6 projects for the reconstruction of churches in that country, totaling nearly $6 million. Funding for these projects comes from the Special Collection for the Church in Haiti taken in 2010. One such project is the reconstruction of the parish of St. Louis Roi de France, located in Port-au-Prince, which was completely destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. A grant of $1,761,935 will complete funds provided by others to cover the church reconstruction portion of a $2.6 million project that includes new basement facilities.
All USCCB aid for reconstruction work in Haiti goes through the Partnership for Reconstruction of the Church in Haiti (PROCHE), an entity of the Haitian Bishops’ Conference. Since the Special Collection for Haiti was taken in dioceses across the United States, a total of nearly $22.65 million has been awarded to reconstruction projects.
The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the Collection for the Church in Latin America as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information on this collection and a complete list of approved projects can be found online www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/latin-america.