Washington D.C., Jul 6, 2008 (CNA) - In June, the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved an additional $1.57 million in grants to 105 pastoral projects in 21 Latin American and Caribbean countries, bringing the grant total for the first half of 2008 to nearly $4 million.
The funds support seminary and religious formation, religious education, catechesis, youth ministry, evangelization, diaconate training, and other projects.
“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,” a USCCB press release said.
June funding grants will provide $135,000 youth ministry programs that 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; and nearly $100,000 to support family pastoral ministry, including $15,000 to help experts who promote Natural Family Planning (NFP) to attend the third Pan-American Congress on NFP to be held in Honduras in July.
The year’s grants for large events include $105,000 for the 49th International Eucharistic Congress that took place in Quebec in June and $20,000 to support the Third American Mission Congress (CAM 3) in Quito, Ecuador, in August.
For 2008, the Subcommittee has approved a total of 246 projects for a total of $3,827,000. In 2007, in the largest number of grants yet chosen by the subcommittee in a given year, 562 grants were awarded, totaling $7,722,314.
The final round of grants will be announced in November. The final award totals largely depend upon the size of the 2008 Collection for the Church in Latin America, which usually takes place in most parishes on the fourth Sunday of January.
Vatican City, Jul 6, 2008 (CNA) - Before the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, July 6 in Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI requested prayers for his upcoming trip to Sydney, Australia for the 23rd World Youth Day.
The Holy Father said, “My head is already in Australia, where God willing, I will go next Saturday, July 12.”
“Over the last few months the Youth Cross has traveled across Oceania. In Sydney there will be a silent witness of the alliance between Our Lord Jesus Christ and the next generation.”
The Pontiff then reviewed the major activities to take place during WYD and stressed that the “Australian Bishops Conference has prepared everything with care, correctly with the collaboration of the civil authorities.”
“The first groups of young people are departing from the other continents for Australia. I invite the entire Church to participate in this next phase of the great youth pilgrimage to the world, initiated in 1985 by the Servant of God John Paul II.”
“The Holy Spirit prods the Church ‘to take to the open seas’ yet again to bring to all people the good news of the love of God, fully revealed in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again for us,” Benedict XVI stated.
He also expressed hope that “Catholics from the four corners of the earth will unite with me and the young people gathered, as in a Cenacle, in Sydney fervently invoking the Holy Spirit so that He will inundate hearts with interior light and love for God and neighbor.”
“Together with the Cross, there is an icon of the Virgin Mary which accompanies the World Youth Day. We entrust to her maternal care this trip to Australia and the meeting of youth in Sydney. In addition, on this first Sunday of July, I invoke the intercession of Mary so that summertime may offer to all people a time for rest and physical and spiritual renewal.”
After the Angelus, Pope Benedict directed these words towards the English-speaking pilgrims: “I am happy to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this Angelus. During these months many will be taking their annual holiday. Let us pray that all who are traveling on the roads will do so in safety, with prudence and respect for others. In this way, our summer break will truly be a time for relaxation, family life and friendship.”