WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America approved funding for 265 pastoral projects, totaling $4.1 million. The funds will be disbursed as grants to aid the pastoral work of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Projects included training of lay catechists, youth ministry, evangelization, the formation of seminarians and religious and family ministry. The projects were approved at the Subcommittee’s meeting on June 11 in Huntington Beach, California.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Darien in Panama received a grant for the formation of lay pastoral agents. Currently, there are 10 missionary areas within the Vicariate with some 190 small communities who are served by 32 priests, religious (male and female) and some 330 lay volunteers. However, regular Mass attendance and participation in the catechetical and sacramental life of the Church is quite low. A limited number of roads makes travel to these communities difficult and regular visits are critical for the long-term inculturation of the Gospel. Nine workshops for about 40 agents will be held in 2016 and will cover topics such as biblical and liturgical formation, and cultural and spiritual values.
“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Collection for the Church in Latin America, a sign of our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S. auxiliary bishop of Seattle and Subcommittee chairman. “The fruits of this collection have been far reaching and have helped to strengthen the faith. The generosity of Catholics in the United States has helped fund many important projects that share our faith with those who long to experience it.”
Among the pastoral projects approved, the Subcommittee allocated over $365,000 for 41pastoral projects in Haiti and a little over $1 million to 3 reconstruction projects for the Church in Haiti. Funding for the reconstruction projects comes from the 2010 special collection for Haiti. All USCCB aid for reconstruction work in Haiti goes through the Partnership for Reconstruction of the Church in Haiti (PROCHE), an entity of the Haitian Bishops’ Conference.
In addition, the Subcommittee approved two special grants, totaling almost $390,000, to help rebuild churches damaged or destroyed by the April 16 earthquake in Ecuador. Two emergency grants, totaling $50,000, were approved immediately after the earthquake.
Grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Latin America. The collection is scheduled for the fourth Sunday in January, but some dioceses take it up on other dates. The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information about the Collection for the Church in Latin America can be found at www.usccb.org/latin-america.