Rwandan schoolchildren, 2005
Why a Fund for the Church in Africa?
The Church in Africa is the fastest growing part of the Universal Church and the poorest part of our family of faith. Spiritually rich but desperately poor, the Church in Africa needs more sustained, well-coordinated and effective help to meet current needs, address critical problems and realize its enormous potential - not only in Africa, but within the Universal Church.
Who is calling for this Act of Solidarity?
This ongoing effort carries forward the message of the U.S. Bishops' statement, A Call to Solidarity with Africa, overwhelmingly adopted by the body of bishops in 2001 and warmly received throughout Africa. It also reflects the key themes of Pope John Paul II's Ecclesia in Africa (1995), released after the First Synod of African Bishops in 1994. It seeks to respond constructively to the moving and eloquent appeals of the bishops in Africa, to the most urgent pastoral needs, the hopes of the Holy See, and the experience of the national office of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and that of missionaries and Catholic Relief Services workers in Africa. It is also a response to the requests of U.S. bishops and others who have visited Africa and have witnessed the Church's growth and vitality as well as its poverty and desperation.
Who is responsible for the stewardship of the Pastoral Solidarity Fund?
The Pastoral Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa began as a joint project of the USCCB Committees on International Policy, Migration, and African American Catholics, in partnership with Catholic Relief Services and the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the United States. On January 1, 2008, it became part of the Committee on National Collections with the Subcommittee for the Church in Africa leading the effort. The Fund provides a vehicle for bishops to provide sustained, effective and accountable support to the Church in Africa. The Pastoral Solidarity Fund will help respond to pastoral needs; it will not duplicate the humanitarian or development assistance provided by Catholic Relief Services.
How will proceeds from the Pastoral Solidarity Fund be distributed?
Efforts to assist the Church in Africa will build on existing initiatives but will be more sustained, more focused on the greatest pastoral needs, and more coordinated and collaborative. Requests for support, approved by the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa, will go to projects of the Church in Africa that reflect the priorities of Ecclesia in Africa, attend to the areas of greatest need, and provide the Church in Africa with opportunities to effectively plan and provide clear systems of accountability. Grants will be coordinated directly through National Bishops' Conferences in Africa.
Catechism class, Sierra Leone, 2003