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As Pope Benedict XVI Begins Journey to Mexico, U.S. Bishops Announce Grants to Latin America; Over $2 Million Awarded

March 23, 2012

WASHINGTON (March 23, 2012) —The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America announced today the approval of nearly $2.3 million in grant funding for 139 projects, to aid the pastoral work of the Church in 16 countries throughout the Latin American region and especially in Mexico. The project proposals were approved during the subcommittee's meeting on March 21.

"These grants come just ahead of the Holy Father's visit and represent the concrete sign of solidarity of the Church in the United States with the Church in Latin America," said Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chair of the subcommittee. "We approved several grants in Mexico to support the Church there as it forms leaders that respond to the spiritual and human needs of the Mexican people. We also pray that the pope's visit helps to nourish their faith and strengthen their efforts for peacebuilding."

For the rest of the region, a significant grant was approved to continue helping with earthquake reconstruction in Chile as the subcommittee approved over $150,000 to help rebuild five churches there. "We can see that the grants are an important part of our relationship and fraternity with the Church in the region," said Bishop John Manz, auxiliary bishop of Chicago and a member of the subcommittee. "After a recent visit to Nicaragua, we received many grant requests and approved an increased number of those requests to help the Church in that country as they continue to give witness of peace and reconciliation in that society," continued the bishop who traveled to Nicaragua in January of this year. Approved projects in Nicaragua ranged from formation of seminarians to support for Youth Ministry to formation of lay pastoral agents.

Funding to assist the formation of religious, seminarians and clergy totaled almost a half million dollars, or just over 27 percent of funds awarded. These grants will assist in the education of more than 1,000 women and men as they prepare for lives of service in the Church.

The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the Collection for Latin America as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. It provides support for the USCCB grant-making programas well as the Conference's international policy work. Additional rounds of grant applications will be considered in June and November of this year. The Subcommittee gives an average of $6.5 million each year to pastoral programs in Latin America and the Caribbean.

More information on the Collection for the Church in Latin America and the projects it funds can be found at search for "Church Latin America." The subcommittee has delegated several bishops to attend the Holy Father's visit to Mexico and Cuba. For information on the papal visit, please search for "Mexico" or "Cuba" in the above-mentioned site.

Keywords: Latin America, evangelization, clergy, lay formation, Collection for the Church in Latin America, Archbishop José Gomez, Bishop John Manz, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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Don Clemmer
O: 202-541-3206

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