US bishops fund aid projects in Haiti, Latin America

Men build transitional shelter kits in Haiti two years after the earthquake Credit Chris Frey Catholic Relief Services CNA World Catholic News 1 12 12 Men build transitional shelter kits in Haiti, two years after the earthquake. | Chris Frey/Catholic Relief Services

A U.S. bishops' subcommittee has approved over $3.1 million dollars in funding for pastoral work in Latin America, including the continued reconstruction of Haiti and World Youth Day pilgrimage efforts.

"We are pleased to see our efforts beginning to pay off as reconstruction is finally gaining momentum for the Church of Haiti," said Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, who is a member of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America at the U.S. bishops' conference.

"Our approval of new reconstruction grants helps maintain this momentum," the archbishop said, adding that the subcommittee is happy "to continue supporting pastoral projects throughout Haiti."

On Jan. 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the nation of Haiti, destroying much of the capital city, Port-au-Prince. More than 200,000 people were estimated to have been killed in the earthquake and one million more left homeless.

The U.S. Church has been instrumental in offering continued assistance to rebuild after the quake, as well as to offer pastoral care for those in the country.

On March 21, the U.S. bishops' subcommittee awarded $1.1 million to three grants to fund the continuing reconstruction efforts in Haiti.

One of the projects being funded is the reconstruction of the church of Sainte Genevieve des Orangers. Located in a poor rural area near Port-au-Prince, the church was badly damaged by the 2010 earthquake. A grant of $575,000, in combination with a gift of $50,000 from a Connecticut parish, will help to demolish and rebuild the church.

In addition, the subcommittee approved just over $2 million for more than 100 grants to cover projects in 19 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The funds came from collections taken up at parishes throughout the nation.

Some of this money will go toward projects supporting migrant workers in the Latin American region.

"We are committed to supporting migrants and helping provide pastoral care to them not only in our country but also across the Americas," said Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo of Seattle, who chairs the U.S. bishops' Latin America subcommittee.

According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Peruvian bishops have "received a grant of $15,000 to strengthen Pastoral de Movilidad Humana, the conference's official organization for the pastoral care of migrants."

In addition, the U.S. bishops' grants will help provide pastoral care for migrant workers on a regional level.

The subcommittee has awarded funding to help leaders of the Church in Latin America attend the Consultation on Migration being held in Los Angeles later this year. The event will unite Church leaders from around Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States in order to discuss the phenomenon of migration and how to improve spiritual support for migrants.

Some of the funds will also go to help young pilgrims attend World Youth Day in Brazil this summer.

The Ecuador bishops' conference has been chosen to receive a $30,000 grant to help fund the country's third National Youth Congress, which will work to both prepare youth who will attend the World Youth Day events in Brazil and gather those who are unable to attend.

The new Holy Father, Pope Francis, is from Argentina and is the first Pope is hail from Latin America.

"We are very glad to continue helping youth across the hemisphere to attend World Youth Day and have an opportunity to see Pope Francis," said Bishop Elizondo.

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