WASHINGTON – At Masses on January 21-22, Catholics in parishes across the United States will have the opportunity to support ministry among their poor and suffering neighbors in Central and South America and the Caribbean Islands when their dioceses take up the U.S. bishops’ annual Collection for the Church in Latin America.
“The Collection for the Church in Latin America is about changing lives – sometimes saving lives – and bringing people to Jesus. Your gift, no matter how large or small, will join with those of other Catholics to make a multimillion-dollar impact in places where people are praying for miracles,” said Bishop Octavio Cisneros, auxiliary bishop emeritus of Brooklyn and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America.
Bishop Cisneros, who came to the United States as an unaccompanied teenage refugee after the communist takeover of Cuba, spoke of his desire to help people who face poverty or oppression in their homelands. “I know what it is to leave behind everything and everyone but Christ. You hold tight to God and to Our Lady for strength and hope, praying continually. Such are the prayers of those who survive disasters or seek faith in the face of crushing poverty or political oppression. Your gifts to the Collection for the Church in Latin America are the answers to many such prayers.”
In 2021, this collection provided 281 grants totaling more than $6.1 million for ministry, evangelization, vocations work, seminary training and to help churches recover from natural disasters. Nearly 50% was used for evangelization, faith formation, social ministry, and pastoral work. The next largest portion, totaling 29%, was for disaster response, followed by vocations and preparation for the priesthood or religious life at 20%.
- In Nicaragua, where political strife has compounded damage from two devastating hurricanes, recovery projects included building numerous rural chapels to replace those destroyed and training 1,200 lay leaders to provide emergency management services along with pastoral care.
- In Cuba, this collection supports many community “mission houses” for prayer and evangelization, from which trained lay leaders go door-to-door each summer, telling thousands of people about Jesus in a nation that discourages religious faith.
- In Haiti, 400 young people have received a theological education ranging from biblical studies to Catholic social teaching and are now ministering to hurting people in their communities.
- In Brazil, the collection funded new commercial kitchen equipment for a community of contemplative nuns who support themselves by making communion hosts.
- In Paraguay, 38 young men who had begun studies for the priesthood just before the global pandemic struck received support for basic needs such as food and healthcare.
Most dioceses will take the Collection for the Church in Latin America on the weekend of January 21-22, though some choose a different date. All Catholics are urged to give to the collection when it is offered in their diocese. If they cannot be at Mass that Sunday, #iGiveCatholicTogether also accepts funds for the collection.
More information, including content for social media and diocesan/parish websites, may be accessed at https://www.usccb.org/committees/church-latin-america.