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CSA Supports Latin America Collection

01/12/2009

The Church in Latin America is vibrant, diverse in culture, and grounded in faith—and it needs our help to stay that way. The theme for the 2009 Latin America Collection, Disciples, Missionaries, Leaders, supports the call from the 5th General Conference of Latin American Bishops held in Brazil in May of 2007, for the Church in the continent to be in a "permanent state of mission." Funds donated assist in the formation of priests, religious, lay ministers, missionaries, pastoral agents, catechists, and youth ministers and their evangelization efforts so they can bring people more fully into the life of the Catholic Church in Latin America. The national date assigned to the Collection for the Church in Latin America is usually the fourth Sunday of January and in many dioceses, the collection will be taken up on January 24-25. in the Diocese of Gaylord the extra collection is replaced by a donation made from contributions to the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). The USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America approved 562 projects totaling more than $8 million through their pastoral grants program. More than 224 dioceses in 23 countries—including 75 parish-based projects and 105 formation projects for priests, religious, and laity—benefited from this fund in 2007. The Collection also supports the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development in its work on behalf of the Church in Latin America. During 2008, special emphasis was given to supporting local initiatives that respond to the goals established in Brazil. The Church in Cuba received the most help during the 2008 funding cycle having been awarded 80 projects for a total of $850,000. Of that amount $250,000 went toward the reconstruction of churches in Cuba destroyed by hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Besides helping the Church in individual countries, the U.S. bishops also look to strengthen the work of the Church in the region. "Continental Mission" projects in Nicaragua, Haiti, and Ecuador are among the first funded projects to respond to the call to be on a permanent mission of evangelization. Another forty grants for a total of $540,000 went to different projects sponsored by the Latin American Episcopal Conference, or CELAM, an organization that convenes Catholic bishops' conferences of 22 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In line with current U.S. Catholic bishops' priorities, other grants will help strengthen family ministry in many Latin American countries. A $100,000 grant will facilitate the participation of seven official delegations from Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Haiti, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Paraguay in the VI World Encounter of Families celebrated January 13-18, in Mexico City. Additional information, including a list of 2008 grants, can be found at www.usccb.org/latinamerica.

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