US bishops dedicate $2.1 million to Latin American pastoral work

.- The U.S. bishops’ subcommittee on the Church in Latin America has approved over $2.1 million in grants for 86 projects to help pastoral work in 20 countries.

“We continue to respond to the needs of the Church throughout Latin America,” said subcommittee chair Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles.

“We are working extensively with the Church in Haiti and in Chile as they continue to address the needs resulting from the earthquakes in 2010. In Haiti, we are helping build churches, schools, and convents that are designed and built to withstand future earthquakes.”

One special grant for the Catholic Church in Cuba will support evangelization efforts and the celebration of the 400th anniversary of its patron saint, Our Lady of Charity of Cobre.

Other projects include aid for the pastoral care of indigenous peoples in El Salvador and a social analysis project to aid pastoral work in Colombia. Funding will also go to GRAVIDA, an Argentinean network of pro-life and pro-family centers working in 21 dioceses.

Pastoral projects totaled over 45 percent of the funds approved, while 32 percent went to special projects, such as assistance for the Diocese of Ica in Peru which is rebuilding after a devastating 2007 earthquake.

Almost $500,000, over 23 percent of funds, will assist the formation of religious, seminarians and clergy. The grants will help educate more than 900 men and women preparing for lives of service in the Church.

The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America is part of the U.S. bishops’ conference’s Committee on National Collections. It supports the conference’s grantmaking program and its international policy work on Latin America. The subcommittee meets three times a year to review and make grant decisions.

More information on the Collection for Latin America is available at http://www.usccb.org/latinamerica.

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