July 3, 2008

Nearly $4 million awarded to support the pastoral needs of the Church in Latin America

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America approved in June an additional $1.57 million in grants to 105 pastoral projects in 21 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean for a total of $4 million in the first half of this year.

These funds assist the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean by providing essential support for seminary and religious formation, religious education, catechesis and youth ministries, evangelization, lay formation and ministry, diaconate training and research. The grants enable Catholics in these regions—who are rich in faith, but often lacking in material resources—to participate more fully in the life of the Church as disciples and respond to their call to mission.

Highlights of the June funding decisions include:

· $135,000 for youth ministry programs that continue to evangelize and engage young Catholics in countries including Ecuador, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic

· $62,000 to assist rural ministry in Chile, Brazil and Peru

· Nearly $100,000 to support family pastoral ministry, including $15,000 to help experts who work in centers that promote Natural Family Planning (NFP) methods attend the third Pan-American Congress on NFP to be held in Honduras July 22-27

The Subcommittee also approved grants to support important events in Latin America including:

· $105,000 for the 49th International Eucharistic Congress that took place in Quebec, Canada, in June. Funds were awarded to assist participants from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, El Salvador, Ecuador and Paraguay in attending the Congress. Funds were also provided to the organizing committee to support other Latin American and Caribbean participants.

· $20,000 to support the third all-America Mission Congress (CAM 3) in Quito, Ecuador, in August. The Mission Congress will be used to kick off the “Gran Misión Continental” which will implement the recommendations of the 5th Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Episcopate held in Aparecida, Brazil, in 2007.

Since the beginning of the year, the Subcommittee has approved a total of 246 projects for $3,827,000. Annually, this Subcommittee of the USCCB Committee on National Collections awards 500-600 grants over three grant cycles. In 2007, 562 grants were awarded for a total of $7,722,314. This was the largest number of grants ever distributed in a single year.

The Subcommittee will provide another round of grants in November. This year’s final award totals will depend in large part on the outcome of the 2008 Collection for the Church in Latin America, taken up in most parishes on the fourth Sunday in January. The Collection is an opportunity for solidarity between the Church in the United States and its brothers and sisters in the south and is the primary source of funding for the Subcommittee’s grants.

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