USCCB News Release
August 26, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Delegation of U.S. Bishops to Visit Church in Zimbabwe and South Africa
WASHINGTON—Two U.S. Catholic bishops, Bishop John H. Ricard of Pensacola, Florida, and Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, Utah, will visit Zimbabwe on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), August 26-28. They will be joined by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired Archbishop of Washington, in South Africa from August 28-September 6. The bishops are members of the Subcommittee on Africa and will be visiting Church officials and projects funded by the Pastoral Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa.
“As we saw clearly during Pope Benedict’s recent trip to the Cameroon and Angola, the Church in Africa is not only growing rapidly. It is also fully alive and rich in vocations,” said Patrick Markey, executive director of the USCCB Office of National Collections who is organizing the trip. “The Church in Africa also faces many challenges and for that reason Catholics in the U.S. have so generously responded to a call from the bishops to give them a hand.”
The Pastoral Solidarity Fund for Africa is a way for dioceses to collect money to help the Church in Africa. Since 2005, American Catholics have given over $7 million dollars that have been used for pastoral resources in Africa. Uses include education and catechesis, lay ecclesial ministry and leadership training and ongoing formation of priests and religious.
Bishop Wester is the Chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration. During his visit, he will lead a delegation from the Migration and Refugee Services office. The fact-finding mission will make an assessment of the problem of refugees and displaced persons in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Of special concern are children and women that are victims of human trafficking, which often amounts to a modern-day slave trade.
Bishop Ricard is the chair of the bishops’ Subcommittee on Africa and also a member of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace.
All three bishops are associated with Catholic Relief Services (CRS). The delegation will observe first-hand the important humanitarian aid work CRS is involved in, especially its leadership in fighting HIV-AIDS.
Keywords: Africa, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Solidarity Fund for Africa, Catholic Bishops, Bishop John C. Wester, Bishop John C. Ricard, National Collections