The 2015 annual Catholic Home Missions Appeal will be taken up in many US dioceses the weekend of April 25-26. This appeal helps to sustain nearly 45% of all dioceses and eparchies in rural, struggling areas in the country and in a number of US territories in the Caribbean and Pacific.
Catholic Home Missions (CHM), Strengthening the Church at Home, helps to support evangelization, catechesis, seminarian education, lay ministry training, Hispanic ministry, and other pastoral programs for dioceses in need. The Appeal is a significant source of support to bolster domestic Catholic pastoral programs.
“It can be surprising to hear about the great need of many of our dioceses here in the United States. For those who have never experienced life in a mission diocese it can be hard to imagine not having access to a priest or basic materials to teach the faith,” said Bishop Peter F. Christensen of Boise, Idaho, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. “This collection supports our neighbors here at home and provides for their spiritual needs.”
Last year, the USCCB Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions approved more than $9 million in grants for 2015.
The Diocese of Tucson, Arizona, is one of the 83 dioceses that received a grant. It is using CHM funds to provide basic catechesis materials to Spanish-speaking Catholics, to conduct a ministry program for deaf children and their families, and to support the work of a few priests on four Native American reservations serving over 24,000 people.
In the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama, the Catholic population is less than 3%, and in rural areas, many priests serve three or four parishes. A grant from Catholic Home Missions funded St. Barnabas School in Birmingham, where the students are primarily African American and Hispanic and many are non-Catholic and from low-income families. The grant supports the school’s mission of providing high-quality education for all of its students, creates community, evangelizes, and helps bridge racial divides.
With a grant from Catholic Home Missions, the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, is training seven seminarians for the priesthood. They will return to the diocese to assist in evangelization efforts and pastoral tasks currently shared by only 36 active and 12 retired priests, across 14 counties, serving nearly 35,000 Catholics.
More information, including video, newsletters, and collection materials, can be found at www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/catholic-home-missions-appeal/index.cfm