In 1965, at the end of the SecondVatican Council, the bishops of the United States decided to establish a
Collection for the Church in Latin America (CLA). This development followed the
recognition of the U.S. bishops that the church in Latin America needed help
and it was important to establish a relationship with the sister churches to
Since the Collection began, over
$185 million has been donated by U.S. Catholics. Due to the generosity of U.S.
Catholics, the Collection has been able to award over $92.7 million since year
2000. The collection has been increasing through the years, with about $68.5
million contributed over the past 10 years.
Other facts include:
In 2013, 393
projects were approved for funding, totaling $5.54 million and in 2014,
439 projects were approved for $6.77 million.
In 2014, 142
dioceses participated in the collection.
country, with the exception of some very small Caribbean island nations,
has received assistance throughout the years. In the last few years, Haiti
has been among the top five recipients along with larger countries like
Peru and Colombia. Cuba has also received significant amounts of funding.
number of countries currently receiving assistance is between 21 and 23.
Collection for the Church in Latin America funds a wide range of pastoral
activities and programs, from evangelization programs to pregnancy centers
to leadership development of community leaders based on Catholic Social
ministries as well as outreach to indigenous communities have been
particularly important in countries such as Guatemala, Peru, Colombia,
Chile, Paraguay and Brazil. Socio-religious research has been supported in
countries like Costa Rica and Uruguay.
ministries to migrants (including those coming to the United States or
those going to countries such as Brazil) and refugees (such as Colombians
going to Ecuador or Panama) has increased in the last 20 years.
The CLA Collection
also assists in responding to the need to repair or replace the church's
infrastructure after natural disasters. For example, in Haiti the
Collection continues to help with reconstruction. In Chile, the Collection
helped with over $750,000 after the 2010 earthquake, and it also assisted
with some funds in Cuba after Hurricane Sandy.
about $22.6 million has been awarded for reconstruction projects in Haiti
from the Special Collection for Haiti which the dioceses in the United
States collected to benefit the people of Haiti.
projects are moving through the different stages of construction in Haiti
and a few projects have already been completed. Among the largest
reconstruction projects funded so far is the repairing of the Cathedral of
Miragoane, the reconstruction of the Church of the Sacred Heart in
Port-au-Prince and the construction of a multi-purpose hall in the City of
in Cuba receives help from the Collection. The average yearly help to each
diocese is about $25,000. Funding helps strengthen pastoral activities
such as catechesis, family pastoral, youth ministry, prison and hospital
of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis would recommend funding for projects of the
Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. Yet, his most recommended and supported
projects were those having to do with outreach to the poor people of "the
villas," the slums. A project he always made sure would be particularly
recommended was a project to strengthen Catholic radio's programming for
Collection has enjoyed a special relationship with the Council of Latin
American Episcopates (CELAM), and thus the USCCB had always been invited
to be an observer to the Conferences of the Latin American Episcopate,
such as in Puebla and Santo Domingo. During the Conference in Aparecida,
2007, USCCB was a participant represented by Bishop Ricardo Ramirez,
C.S.B, Bishop William Skylstad, Bishop Jaime Soto and Bishop Plácido
Rodríguez, CMF. The editor of the final document of that conference was
then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis.