Collection exceeds $7 million in 2006

WASHINGTON – The national collection to aid the church in Latin America received more than $7 million in contributions for the first time last year and used the funds to assist 476 projects in nearly two dozen countries.
The annual report of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on the Church in Latin America, published in July in English and Spanish, included those statistics and also featured a photo tribute to the rural catechists of Huancavlica, Peru.
“The work of these catechists represents the dedication and love that all catechists throughout Latin America hold for Christ and his church,” said Auxiliary Bishop Jaime Soto of Orange, Calif., chairman of the committee, in a letter sent to his fellow bishops with the report.
The Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in May in Aparecida, Brazil, “brought to light many of the urgent pastoral challenges faced by our brothers and sisters,” Bishop Soto added. “This report will reveal to you the vitality of many of our present collaborative efforts and the hope these efforts inspire for the future.”
Contributions to the collection came from 159 dioceses in all 50 states and in U.S. territories and from the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.
Bishop Soto’s Diocese of Orange was among the biggest contributors, with $209,228 received from just more than a million Catholics. Only the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, with $220,155, and the Diocese of Arlington, Va., with $228,158, exceeded that amount.
But with a residual payment of $196,637 reported by Bishop Soto in his letter and the $140,879 included in the report, the Archdiocese of Chicago appeared to contribute the largest amount, $337,516.
The report also broke down the allocations from the collection by organizational type, region and category type, with nearly half (45.9 percent) of the grants going to pastoral programs and the second-largest number (14.6 percent) for the formation of seminarians and religious.
Other funded projects involved lay leadership training, evangelization and missionary activities, catechetics, religious education, multinational programs, training permanent deacons and research.
About a third of the allocated funds went to dioceses or archdioceses, but national bishops’ conferences, seminaries, parishes, religious congregations, Catholic organizations, educational institutes and Catholic Relief Services also benefited.
A portion of the collection also funds the U.S. bishops’ Department of Social Development and World Peace, particularly its efforts to promote economic development in Haiti, debt relief, changes in the U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement, the equitable distribution of Peru’s natural resources and religious freedom in Venezuela.
The collection for the church in Latin America takes place in most U.S. dioceses on the fourth Sunday in January. It is scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 26-27 in 2008.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.