USCCB News Release
April 9, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Grants go to religious education, training and emergency aid
Funds raised through annual Collection for the Church in Latin America
Bishop Soto says economy increases need to remember less fortunate
$2.4 Million Awarded to Support the Pastoral Needs of the Church in Latin America
WASHINGTON—On March 25, 2009, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America approved $2,431,265.50 in grants to 146 projects in 21 countries, including the bishops' conference in the region, CELAM. The projects approved by the Subcommittee reflected the five priorities of the U.S. bishops, as well as the goals established for the church in Latin America at the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean in Aparecida, Brazil last year.
Among the grants approved was funding in the areas of leadership training ($189,765), evangelization/missionary activity ($429,480), pastoral projects ($710,093.50), catechesis ($36,800), training permanent deacons ($14,250), religious education ($20,000), and emergency aid ($169,500).
Highlights include the first of a three-year grant in El Salvador called "Youth for Christ" to establish youth leaders in every diocesan parish. In Haiti, the Diocese of Jacmel was granted emergency aid to repair damage sustained at five parishes during Hurricane Ike. In Argentina, funds were approved to support the formation of forty seminarians studying philosophy and theology.
Each year, the Collection for the Church in Latin America is taken up in the dioceses of the United States in a display of solidarity. This collection is the main source of funding for the grants distributed through the Subcommittee. The generosity of U.S. parishioners helps the Church in Latin America to fund essential pastoral ministry.
Bishop Jaime Soto, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America and bishop of Sacramento said, "The U.S. Catholic community faces difficult challenges presented by the weak economy. Although these are difficult times for many Americans, we must remember our brothers and sisters in even greater need. The Church in Latin America has been blessed by the solidarity demonstrated and the support received, especially given the present global economic situation. I pray that the Church in the U.S. continues to find joy in the sacrifices made for those less fortunate in Latin America and around the world."
Members of the Subcommittee and staff of the USCCB Office of National Collections traveled to Venezuela the week of March 9-13 and visited Caracas and Merida as part of their annual trip to Latin America and the Caribbean. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen the bonds between the Church in Venezuela—their bishops and their pastoral agents—with the bishops of the United States and their faithful.
Please visit www.usccb.org/latinamerica for further information about funding and the mission of the Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America.