.- 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.