The Catholic Home Missions Appeal Strengthens the Church from Alaska to Alabama
WASHINGTON - On the weekend of April 29-30, Catholics across the United States are invited to give to the Catholic Home Missions Appeal of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) when their dioceses take up the Appeal. This annual collection supports dioceses in the United States and its territories where it is difficult to sustain basic, essential ministries because of challenges posed by geography, population, or economy. These basic pastoral services include Mass, the sacraments, religious education, and training for clergy and lay people to minister to the local faithful.
“In Alaska, courageous missionary priests from as far away as Nigeria travel through ice and snow by seaplane and snowmobile to serve remote churches scarcely larger than mobile homes,” said Bishop Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. “God does not measure the vitality of our faith by the quality of our stained glass or the height of the arches in the naves of our churches. When he sees the faithful traveling large distances during extreme weather conditions to worship and receive the sacraments in a small, simple chapel, God sees a treasure greater than gold.”
In 2022, the Catholic Home Missions Appeal provided more than $8 million in grants to nearly 80 dioceses and Eastern Catholic eparchies to strengthen the Church at home. Some of the ministries and services these grants supported include: evangelization; youth and young adult ministry; the formation of priests, deacons, religious and lay leaders; marriage and family ministry; cross-cultural outreach; church communications; and pastoral planning.
- In the Diocese of Fairbanks, where 19 priests serve 46 parishes in a territory one and a half times the size of Texas, the Catholic Home Missions Appeal supported enculturation training to prepare three new missionary priests from Argentina, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe for ministry in rural Indigenous parishes, as well as the formation of deacons from local Indigenous communities.
- In the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford, the collection supported ministry to a large influx of refugees from the war in Ukraine coming to the Northeastern United States. And in the Midwest, the Ukrainian Eparchy of St. Nicholas of Chicago – where Catholic Home Missions has previously supported American seminarians who study in Ukraine – is now helping Ukrainian priests who accompanied refugees to America.
- In the Diocese of Beaumont, where Catholics are under 13% of the total population, the Catholic Home Missions Appeal underwrote the formation of 130 catechists as evangelists to both the Spanish- and English-speaking communities. By supporting the formation of catechists, as well as the diocese’s Hispanic Ministry program, Catholic Home Missions is helping the diocese better minister to its large Hispanic population.
- In the Diocese of Steubenville, where economic hardship and the COVID-19 pandemic led to drastic cutbacks in diocesan staff, the collection helped to revive youth and young adult ministry, including an event at a secular university that drew 500 largely unchurched students into a church to pray for concerns related to suicide.
“When you give to the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, you are making a difference in the lives of our brothers and sisters right here in the United States,” Bishop McKnight said.
Most dioceses will take up the collection in later April, but some participate on a different date. #iGiveCatholicTogether also accepts funds for the collection.
More information about the impact of the collection and resources to promote it are at https://www.usccb.org/committees/catholic-home-missions