WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommitteeon Catholic Home Missions announced November 19 the approval of over $8.4million in grant funding to aid in evangelization, religious education, ministrytraining and other support of 84 mission dioceses across the country.
Thesehome mission dioceses across the United States face great challenges due to therugged terrain of their location and the poverty of the population they serve.
"Eachyear we are presented with the opportunity to share the generous gifts of thenation's Catholics with mission dioceses here at home. Most people aresurprised to learn that over 40 percent of the dioceses in the United Statesreceive our support," said Bishop Michael W. Warfel of Great Falls-Billings,Montana, chairman of the subcommittee. "We hear regularly from the bishops ofhome mission dioceses how essential our funding is to their ability to providethe sacraments and spread the Gospel."
TheSubcommittee primarily supports home mission dioceses in the United States thatare unable to offer their communities the basic pastoral ministries without assistance.The grants are financed through the annual fundraising campaign known as theCatholic Home Missions Appeal and support such pastoral services as: evangelizationactivities; religious education; training for priests, deacons, religioussisters and brothers, and laity, as well as ministry with ethnic groups.
Threeexamples of dioceses funded from the Catholic Home Missions Appeal are theDioceses of Fairbanks, Alaska; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and El Paso, Texas.
TheFairbanks Diocese faces many challenges given its limited access to 41 of its46 parishes. Many villages see a priest only once a month. A team of twopriests, three sisters and three brothers serve eight villages. Grants willallow the diocese to offer adult catechesis and to train deacons andEucharistic ministers. The diocese will receive $135,000 next year.
TheCheyenne Diocese faces challenges found in small congregations scattered overvast distances. There are 31 active diocesan and 14 active religious priests toserve 53,000 Catholics spread over 98,000 square miles. The diocese was granted$75,000 to help cover the costs of education for 11 seminarians.
The ElPaso Diocese ministers to 678,000 Catholics, who represent over 79 percent ofthe total population of the area. The diocese also has a large and mostlyuncatechized Hispanic population that is constantly changing because of itsproximity to the Mexican border. The ratio of priests to Catholics is 1:6,800. Agrant totaling $105,000 will fund youth and evangelization programs in nineparishes and 15 missions in rural west Texas, reaching out to 26 towns andcommunities.
Thenational date for the Catholic Home Missions Appeal is the fourth Sunday inApril; however, some dioceses take up the Appeal at other times.
Formore information on the work of the Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions,visit http://www.usccb.org and search "home missions."
Keywords:evangelization, ministry training, clergy, deacons, lay formation, CatholicHome Missions Appeal, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, BishopMichael W. Warfel, diocese, grants, Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions, nationalcollections
# # # # #MEDIA CONTACT ONLY:NormaMontenegro-FlynnO:202-541-3202Email
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