USCCB News Release
January 8, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Collection for Church in Latin America, January 24-25,
to Emphasize Need to Form Disciples with Missionary Spirit
WASHINGTON—Disciples, Missionaries, Leaders, is the theme of the 2009 Collection for the Church in Latin America to be taken in most Catholic dioceses, January 24-25.
The proceeds of the annual Collection for the Church in Latin America are distributed to bishops' conferences, dioceses, parishes, religious congregations, seminaries, apostolic movements and other Catholic institutions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to support the pastoral needs of the Church.
The 2009 theme of the Collection continues to support the call of the 5th General Conference of Latin American Bishops held in Aparecida, Brazil, in May of 2007, for the Church in the continent to be in a "permanent state of mission." Funds will assist in the formation of priests, religious, lay ministers, missionaries, pastoral agents, catechists, and youth ministers and their evangelization efforts so they can bring people more fully into the life of the Catholic Church in Latin America.
In 2008, the USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America approved 535 projects totaling $8,044,334. The Collection also supports the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development in its work on behalf of the Church in Latin America. During 2008, special emphasis was given to supporting local initiatives that respond to the goals established in Aparecida.
The Church in Cuba received the most help during the 2008 funding cycle, that awarded 80 projects for a total of $850,000. Of that amount $250,000 went toward the reconstruction of churches in Cuba destroyed by hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
Besides helping the Church in individual countries, the U.S. bishops also look to strengthen the work of the Church in the region. "Continental Mission" projects in Nicaragua, Haiti, and Ecuador are among the first funded projects to respond to the call to be on a permanent mission of evangelization. Another forty grants for a total of $540,000 went to different projects sponsored by the Latin American Episcopal Conference, or CELAM, an organization that convenes Catholic bishops' conferences of 22 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In line with current U.S. Catholic bishops' priorities, other grants will help strengthen family ministry in many Latin American countries. A $100,000 grant will facilitate the participation of seven official delegations from Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Haiti, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Paraguay in the VI World Encounter of Families to be celebrated January 13-18, in Mexico City.
Although the national date assigned to the Collection for the Church in Latin America is usually the fourth Sunday of January, local dioceses may choose a different date to avoid conflicts with their own activities.
Additional information, including a list of 2008 grants, can be found at www.usccb.org/latinamerica.