Catholic Home Missions Allocates $3.4 Million to Aid Dioceses in Recovery from Natural Disasters

December 5, 2013 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB)Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions awarded nearly $3.4 million in grants tosix dioceses and two archdioceses that have been severely impacted by naturaldisasters in the U.S. The grants were awarded at the Subcommittee's meeting inBaltimore on November 12.

"These grants are a testimony to the compassion andsolidarity of U.S. Catholics," said Bishop Peter F. Christensen of Superior,Wisconsin, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. "Wheneach of the natural disasters struck, people were quick to give. Even times ofeconomic hardship did not prevent this tremendous generosity."

Funds for the disaster relief grants come from two separateappeals. After Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in late 2012, dioceses wereasked to help by taking up a special collection. Remittances from this appealwere split between Catholic Charities USA, which supplied immediatehumanitarian assistance, and the USCCB, which would address the longer-termreconstruction needs of dioceses. The Committee on National Collections taskedthe Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions with allocating the USCCB's portionof the funds.

The Subcommittee awarded grants to the Archdiocese of Newarkand the dioceses of Brooklyn, Camden, Rockville Centre, and Trenton. Funds willaddress the damage to parishes, Catholic schools and other diocesan propertiesnot covered by insurance.

"Donors should know that each contribution to the disasterrelief fund builds up the Church of God in a very concrete way," said BishopChristensen. "I thank you on behalf of the dioceses afflicted. In addition tochurches, these grants will fund the repair of Catholic schools and otherparish buildings essential to the faith life of the communities."

In May 2013, the U.S. bishops were encouraged to hold aspecial collection to assist the victims of tornados and storms. Again, fundswere divided between Catholic Charities USA and USCCB. From the USCCB's shareof that appeal, just under $890,000 was granted to the Archdiocese of Denverand the dioceses of Fairbanks and New Ulm.

The Archdiocese of Denver was impacted significantly by aweek-long series of storms that caused devastation by floods and mudslides. Thevillage of Galena in the Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska, suffered flooding sosevere it was deemed a "500 Year Event" by federal officials. The flooding causeddamage to almost every structure in the village. Two parishes in the rural St.Isidore Area Faith Community in the Diocese of New Ulm suffered damage fromsummer storms. Impacted properties include a church roof, steeple, and parishcemetery.

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Keywords:CatholicHome Missions Appeal, missionary work, special collections, evangelization,Bishop Peter F. Christensen, Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions, USCCB,U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, November meeting, Fall General Assembly,Baltimore, Hurricane Sandy, Catholic Charities USA

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