WASHINGTON— The 2011 Collection for the Church in Latin America is slated for the weekend of January 22-23 in parishes across the country.
This year’s theme, Keep Faith, summarizes the purpose of the collection as well the challenges faced by the Catholic Church in Latin America and the Caribbean. Donations to the collection will support evangelization in some of the poorest parts of the Church by promoting lay-leadership programs as well as the education of seminarians and religious brothers and sisters who, together, help keep the Catholic faith alive in the part of the world where the majority of Catholics live. Though the USCCB Subcommittee for the Church in America Latina mostly funds pastoral projects, in exceptional circumstances funds from the collection are used to rebuild the Church where natural disasters and other circumstances have devastated it.
“2010 was an extraordinary year for the Collection in terms of needs but also in terms of the response of Catholics all across the United States,” said subcommittee chairman Archbishop José Gomez, coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles. “Through our generous support for the Church in Latin America, we are serving the body of Christ and are sharing communion in that same body,” he said.
Shortage of clergy, lack of personnel and resources to be able to offer adequate religious education, migration, and strong proselytism by other faiths are some of the challenges facing the church in Latin America.
For example, the Diocese of Juigalpa in Nicaragua implemented a series of diocesan-wide catechetical programs and bible study groups through support from the collection. These sessions and small study groups helped strengthen the faith of the participants and helped them to Keep Faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, his Church and its mission.
In 2010, the collection was able to distribute $7.5 million to 423 projects. Of that amount, 23 percent went to the formation of seminarians andreligious, 13 percent for the formation of lay pastoral agents, 43 percent to support pastoral activities in parishes, dioceses and catholic schools, and nearly 5 percent assisted with the construction of temporary chapels in Chile following the devastating earthquake in that country February 2010.
Assistance to the Church in Haiti totaled more than $1.3 million dollars and helped with catechesis and Catholic communications after the earthquake as well as post-trauma counseling for survivors and pastoral care. This amount is expected to increase substantially in 2011, as the new Catholic building unit established by the local Church – entitled PROCHE – begins to design and rebuild Church infrastructure, including chapels, convents, churches and houses of formation.
For more information about the Collection for the Church in Latin America or to see a list of projects funded in 2010 visit http://www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/latin-america/collection/. Information about the Catholic Church’s on-going response to the Haiti earthquake can be found at http://www.usccb.org/haiti/.
Information about other National Collections and resources can be found at http://www.usccb.org/nationalcollections/.
Keywords: Collection for the Church in Latin America, Haiti, Chile, Caribbean, PROCHE, Archbishop José H. Gomez, national collections.
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