The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Africa approved 47 grants for a total of $1,205,236 to support pastoral projects for the Church in Africa.
The Subcommittee evaluated and approved the grant proposals at a meeting held in conjunction with the USCCB Spring General Assembly in St. Louis, Missouri.
The funded projects focus on providing pastoral support to the rapidly growing Church in Africa. This often includes supporting the Church’s response in caring for migrants, refugees, youth and children, and those living in extreme poverty. Of extreme importance and a primary focus are programs for catechetical and leadership formation as well as those that build faith and strengthen families.
“The Church in Africa is fully alive and developing at a rapid pace. It is vital to assist Catholics there by providing urgently needed pastoral support,” said Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington and chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa. “The people of Africa greatly benefit from proper training in pastoral care, leadership, and management. The support from the Church in the United States is integral to helping the Church in Africa become self-sustaining and meet the spiritual needs of its people.”
In Angola, the Archdiocese of Luanda and the Dioceses of Viana and Caxito received a grant for a formation program of the laity in the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people. With this grant, these dioceses will provide training, workshops, and retreats for pastoral workers, formation and training for migrant communities, and preparation of materials in different languages. It will help parishes to combat xenophobia and welcome and integrate foreigners into local parishes.
A grant was awarded in Ethiopia to support formation and training in the pastoral care of families. In light of the upcoming Synod on the Family, this program will provide resources and workshops to fully understand Christian marriage and the Church’s teaching on marriage. Topics will include challenges facing families in Ethiopia, understanding the sacrament of marriage as explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, formation of laity on marriage and teaching children to grow in faith, and providing pastoral care for married couples.
The Diocese of Cape Palmas in Liberia received a grant to establish a Catholic women’s organization. This project will help promote the rights and dignity of women in the Church and society, unite Catholic women to work collaboratively, develop leadership skills and awareness of the country’s civil law, and promote natural family planning and healthy lifestyles.
These grants are funded by donations to an annual collection for the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa. The Subcommittee on the Church in Africa oversees the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. The Subcommittee also allocates the revenue received as pastoral grants to African episcopal conferences and their regional associations in Africa.
More information on the work of the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa can be found online at: http://www.usccb.org/africa