WASHINGTON—The USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America approved 204 grants totaling over $3.8 million at its meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 12th. The total awarded this year is an historic high of over $8 million.
Approved projects support pastoral work in countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Among the November grants was nearly one half million dollars awarded for Church reconstruction in Ecuador following the April 2016 earthquake.
"The teachings and the pastoral care of the Catholic Church should be accessible to all, but in Latin America and the Caribbean location, geography, or economic conditions make it difficult for many to participate in the life of the Church," said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and Subcommittee chairman. "These grants are bringing the faith to those on the margins, uniting us here in the United States in a special way with our brothers and sisters on the peripheries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The record high amount granted this year is only possible through the generosity of so many committed Catholics in our country."
Grants approved support projects such as lay leadership training, seminarian and religious formation, prison ministry, and youth ministry, including the following projects:
″ In Cuba, the Archdiocese of Havana received a grant to provide bioethics training to permanent deacons so they can accompany the faithful according to the Church's teachings on abortion, euthanasia, and other issues. Twenty deacons will participate in 10 workshops through the program and support ministries in parishes and mission houses on the periphery of La Habana.
″ In Guatemala, the Parish of San Pedro and San Pablo serves 17 ethnically, socially, and economically diverse communities that have little formal or religious education. This parish received a grant to train adults and young adults to become leaders of Christian formation and coordinators of small faith communities. Catechists will also receive training to prepare adults and children in the reception of the sacraments. Overall, the project will train more than 400 committed laity.
″ Several extraordinary grants were also approved following Hurricane Matthew's path of destruction across Haiti and Cuba and for Ecuador to assist in the reconstruction or repairs to four churches damaged by this year's earthquake.
″ One grant was also approved from the Special Collection for Haiti for the reconstruction of a parish church in the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince.
"American Catholics are not only united in prayer and solidarity with the faithful in other countries, but also the beneficiaries of these grants often pray for their brothers and sisters in the United States," added Bishop Elizondo.
Grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Latin America, which celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year. The 2017 collection is scheduled for the fourth Sunday in January, but some dioceses take it up on other dates. The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information about the Collection for the Church in Latin America and the many grants it funds, as well as resources to promote it across the country, can be found at www.usccb.org/latin-america.
Keywords: Latin America, youth, clergy, lay formation, Collection for the Church in Latin America, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, catechesis, grants, General Assembly, Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America, Special Collection for Haiti, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo
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Norma Montenegro Flynn
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