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WASHINGTON—The Catholic Home Missions Appeal, which will be taken up in many U.S. parishes the weekend of April 28-April 29, supports home mission dioceses, which are dioceses in the United States and its dependencies that need outside help to offer basic pastoral services. The Appeal, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), strengthens the church at home by bridging the gap between need and available resources in those dioceses.
Many dioceses are blessed with vocations to the priesthood, but the cost to educate one seminarian in a home mission diocese is roughly $30,000. In an average grant cycle, 18-20 percent of funds collected for the Catholic Home Missions Appeal go toward seminarian education. In 2011, the Appeal enabled the home mission diocese of Biloxi, Mississippi, to support 100 percent of the expenses of educating 12 seminarians.
"There is a serious need for priestly formation in mission dioceses throughout the United States in order to build vibrant parish communities," said Bishop Michael W. Warfel of Great Falls-Billings, Montana, and chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. "Often home mission priests require special training to attend to the unique needsof their faith communities. The support of Catholics throughout the United States is necessary for the success of these and other projects."
A unique need in the Biloxi community, where Catholics make up one-quarter of the hearing impaired individuals in the region, is training sign language practitioners. Without the appeal, the desperate need for sign language practitioners cannot be met.
"The grants we receive from the Catholic Home Missions Appeal help us ensure that the future of these parishes are in the hands of adequately prepared priests who can meet the needs of the residents here. While we have faced many challenges in recent years, this Appeal restores our hope that the future will be brighter and our parishioners will continue to be served," said Bishop Roger P. Morin of Biloxi.
The Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions oversees the Catholic Home Missions Appeal as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. This year the Subcommittee is providing $8.3 million in funding to 84 home mission diocese in the United States. The Catholic Home Missions Appeal funds essential pastoral projects such as catechesis, cultural ministry and lay leadership training and helps keep mission parishes open. Visit www.usccb.org and search "home missions" for more information.
Keywords: Catholic Home Missions Appeal, cultural ministry, catechesis, Bishop Michael W. Warfel, Bishop Roger P. Morin, U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops, USCCB
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