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Diocese Receives Grant from Catholic Home Missions
The Diocese of Gaylord has been awarded a $60,000 grant from the Home Missions Office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The funds will be used to supplement several ministries in our diocese as well as to help with expenses for educating our seminarians.
A collection to support the Catholic Home Missions Appeal is typically taken up annually in parishes across the country during the last Sunday of April. But since this year the last Sunday was Easter, the collection was moved to May 1. The Diocese of Gaylord contributes to this collection from gifts the faithful have made to our Catholic Services Appeal (CSA).
The Catholic Home Missions Appeal, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), works to bridge the gap between need and available resources, thus strengthening the Church here at home. It funds a wide range of essential pastoral activities in 87 mission dioceses across the United States, with special emphasis on evangelization; religious education; ministry training for priests, deacons, religious sisters, and lay people; youth ministry; and support for poor parishes. Home mission dioceses typically exist in rural settings with struggling economies, long distances between parishes, and a lack of priests and lay people to sustain parishes criteria that fits the Diocese of Gaylord profile.
The Diocese of Gaylord submitted a grant application in May, 2010, asking for help in three areas - Vocations and Seminarian expenses; Hispanic Ministry outreach; and Center for Catholic Studies. In its grant request, the diocese highlighted specific challenges and needs in the three areas:
Vocations : This academic year, the Diocese of Gaylord has eleven seminary students up from five seminarians the prior year. Though the increase in seminary students is a very positive sign concerning the vitality of the church in the Diocese of Gaylord, addressing the financial burden with our limited resources is a challenge.
Hispanic Ministry : Our desire to serve the spiritual and faith development needs of our growing Hispanic population has been a continual goal of the Diocese of Gaylord. Our agricultural industry depends on the many seasonal and year-round workers who help harvest our goods and support our economy. As part of ongoing outreach, the Diocese of Gaylord sought to work with the Columban Associates to provide lay persons to help minister to this population.
Center for Catholic Studies : The territory of our mostly rural diocese covers 11,171 square miles in an area where travel can be very difficult, the economic situation continues to be very difficult, and access to facilities of higher education are limited. The shortage of priests necessitates that their time is primarily spent on sacramental care, with very little time available for catechesis of the faithful, and we have very few lay catechetical leaders with degrees. In order to respond to the hunger for womb to tomb faith development and spiritual nourishment among the faithful, the Diocese established the Center for Catholic Studies, the umbrella under which all of our formation and educational programs are offered. Through the Center, we offer certification programs for catechists, parish catechetical leaders, liturgical ministers, youth ministers, deacon candidates and Christian discipleship. We also offer many workshops on a variety of topics regarding church teachings as well as church life and leadership. However, it has become increasingly difficult for our people to afford to travel for classes and workshops. Indeed, for many, even very nominal materials or registration fees have become prohibitive. Therefore, as we strive to teach the faith and spread the Gospel, particularly in view of the challenges noted above, we must continually seek new and creative ways to address this great need.
With some of the Catholic Home Mission grant funds we hope to broaden our use of technological advances to make formation and educational opportunities more accessible. Moreover, we are planning a conference specifically for women of all ages which will take place in September.
I am so grateful to the Subcommittee on Home Missions for this generous gift to our diocese, said Bishop Bernard Hebda. Our diocese has such extraordinary potential, but the current economic situation in our area also presents significant challenges. This grant will help us to move forward in areas that would not have been possible without outside support.