WASHINGTON— Building on their statement, , in 2004 the members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) authorized the creation of a voluntary diocesan collection in support of the pastoral needs of the Church in Africa. Through the Pastoral Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa, the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Church in Africa provides grants to finance pastoral projects that support the maintenance and growth of the Church in Africa. Funded projects include youth outreach programs, Catholic schools, education of clergy and lay ministers, training of catechists, and peace-building initiatives in regions affected by war.
“In Africa, we continue to witness the most dramatic growth of the universal Catholic Church that features abundant vocations to the priesthood and religious life as well as immense energy and enthusiasm among its youth,” said Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, CSsR, of Newark and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Church in Africa. “Sadly, in many African countries, the Church lacks the resources to meet basic pastoral needs in areas like the formation of leaders, youth ministry, catechesis, and support for seminaries. As the Church in Africa confronts the growing health and economic needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the pastoral needs supported by the Solidarity Fund become even more urgent.”
Each year, many dioceses in the United States support the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa during July and August with special collections at Sunday Mass and through their online and e-giving platforms. Other dioceses take it at different times throughout the year or make a direct contribution instead of a taking a collection.
The Subcommittee on the Church in Africa oversees the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa as part of the USCCB’s Committee on National Collections. In 2019, the subcommittee awarded 101 grants totaling almost $2.4 million to support a broad range of pastoral programs across over 30 countries in Africa. To learn more about the work of the subcommittee visit www.usccb.org/africa.
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