(ZENIT News / Washington, 07.21.2023).- The bishop members on subcommittees related to national collections coordinated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) acted on the call to be “One Church One Mission” at their meetings in June. In their respective subcommittees, they chose to distribute millions of dollars given by dioceses across the country in 2022 for ministry among those who are poor, suffering, and marginalized. Grants came from funds raised for the following collections:
- Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe
- Collection for the Church in Latin America
- Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa
- 2022 Bishops Emergency Disaster Fund
Three of these national collections are taken up in the dioceses annually and provide aid in specific geographic areas. The bishops’ emergency disaster fund is made available as a way for dioceses to take up special collections in response to disasters and humanitarian crises arising from such events. The fund supports USCCB efforts for pastoral and reconstruction efforts, as well as the humanitarian relief efforts of Catholic Relief Services and/or Catholic Charities USA, the official relief agencies of the U.S. Catholic Church.
“St. Paul wrote that when one Christian suffers, all Christians suffer — because we are all part of one Body of Christ,” said Bishop James S. Wall of Gallup, chairman of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. “That unity is the heart of these collections. They bring faith, hope, and love to people in despair, often in some of the most harsh and remote places on earth, and to disaster victims in our own nation.”
- The Subcommittee on the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa approved 34 grants totaling more than $1.1 million. Among them was $24,300 to train young Ethiopian Catholics as community peacemakers in a land where brutal armed conflicts have raged for three generations. It builds on an earlier grant to teach peacemaking to students in Catholic grade schools across Ethiopia.
- The Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions awarded a $1.38 million grant from the USCCB share of the 2022 collection for the Bishops Emergency Disaster Fund to the Diocese of Venice in Florida, where 13 parishes that serve impoverished communities and had sustained severe damage from Hurricane Ian last September. This grant covers the insurance deductibles – in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars – and costs that each parish owed for new roofs, mold mitigation, and other repairs.
- The Subcommittee on the Church in Central and Eastern Europe distributed over $5.1 million to 196 ministry projects, including $1.5 million for humanitarian war relief work in and around Ukraine. In Kazakhstan, where evangelization is permitted only on church property, the Diocese of Karaganda will use a $9,000 grant to host 10 free concerts by international musicians at its Cathedral of Our Lady of Fatima, Mother of All Nations. Similar concerts prior to the pandemic drew standing-room-only crowds, providing opportunities to talk about the faith and build bridges of trust and understanding with non-Catholics.
- The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America awarded 122 grants totaling $2.65 million for projects as diverse as earthquake recovery and the education of young nuns. In the impoverished rural region around Moyobamba, Peru, $15,000 will provide training and formation for 130 lay volunteers from three parishes serving 110 communities to strengthen their skills in pastoral ministry and evangelization.
“Whether we are working to build peace and bring essential relief to victims of war and disaster or trying to help souls reach heaven through evangelization and cultural outreach, each of these national collections respond to Jesus’ call to care for him in the person of our suffering neighbor,” Bishop Wall said. “On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives will change because of these ministries, I express my deepest gratitude to every parishioner who gave to these collections.”
For more on each of these programs and the ministries and initiatives the collections support, please visit https://www.usccb.org/committees/national-collections.