WASHINGTON—At their General Assembly in Baltimore last fall, the full body of bishops voted to confer permanent status on the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa. The Subcommittee is part of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on National Collections.
"It is an important step for the Church in the United States to continue walking in faith with our brothers and sisters in Africa," said Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, CSsR, Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and chairman of the Subcommittee. "The Church in Africa is faith-filled, vibrant, and rapidly growing. I am grateful to all of those who have supported our work thus far, and am looking forward to continuing to support programs of evangelization and pastoral support in the Church in Africa."
In its meeting on November 13, 2016, the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa approved 45 grant requests totaling over $1.2 million. The grants approved support projects across Africa including leadership training, seminarian and religious formation, and evangelization. Since the Solidarity Fund began in 2004, it has given over $20 million from Catholics in the United States to support the growing Church in Africa.
Examples of recent projects funded include:
″ In Uganda, the local Episcopal Conference received a grant to train and strengthen the formation of lay catechists and members of parish pastoral councils. Funding will support training for 830 lay catechists and 1,080 members of parish pastoral councils.
″ The Episcopal Conference of Burkina-Niger, in Burkina-Faso, received a grant to support Catholic education for children and youth from preschool to high school. Fifty-six percent of children enrolled in Catholic schools in Burkina Faso are children of peasants, farmers, artisans and small traders, and after 56 years of independence access to education is still a major challenge. This grant provides support for a construction project that will provide space for all administrative, accounting, and teaching staff of the Catholic Education Commission.
In 2004, an Ad Hoc Committee on the Church in Africa was established and it began a voluntary Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa. In 2008, this Ad Hoc Committee became a subcommittee of the Committee on National Collections with temporary status, and remained as such until the vote on November 15, 2016. This Subcommittee is charged with strengthening the pastoral capacity of the Church in Africa, which is both one of the fastest growing populations of the Catholic Church and one of the poorest.
The Subcommittee on the Church in Africa allocates the revenue received from the voluntary Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa as pastoral grants to episcopal conferences and their regional associations in Africa. To learn more about the work of the Subcommittee visit www.usccb.org/africa.
Keywords: Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, Subcommittee on the Church in Africa, national collection, Catholic Bishops' Conference of Burkina-Niger, education, pastoral, youth ministry, Uganda Episcopal Conference, grants
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Norma Montenegro Flynn
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