Collection for the Church in Latin America, opportunity to share faith

The annual Collection for the Church in Latin America (CLA) is scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 24-25, in parishes across the country. The collection supports pastoral projects in Latin America and the Caribbean that help Catholics to share their faith.
In 2014, the collection provided over $6.6 million for 440 grants to aid pastoral work in the region. Projects included the formation of lay leaders, seminarians, men and women religious, the development of youth ministry groups and the support of evangelization and catechetical activities. The CLA Collection also provided assistance for Latin American families to attend the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
The 2015 Church in Latin America collection campaign continues to call Catholics to share their faith, particularly within their families and in society. “In Latin America, Christian values remain important and many families are wounded by anti-religious hostility from the surrounding environment and by challenging relationships within the family,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America. “Yet throughout the hemisphere, the Church continues to point the way to Christ as the source of hope and healing, both within the family and in society, and CLA grants support the Church in these efforts.”
In Brazil, a grant of $30,000 will support the network of Women’s Help Centers (Centro de Apoyo a la Mujer). These centers reach out by phone and online to offer women facing an unexpected pregnancy support and information. To date, the center claims 177,000 lives saved through their outreach. In Cuba, several grants are supporting the ongoing activities of dioceses in the country. “Supporting the Church in Cuba has been a focus of the Subcommittee and we are now glad to see that the Church is recognized as a significant and meaningful player in Cuban society,” said Bishop Elizondo.
In many areas of Latin America, rural communities may become isolated from the life of society and the Church. In Chile, a grant for $25,000 will train 90 young people as missionaries. They will attend workshops and receive training to go out to 30 parishes across seven dioceses to build community and include the rural youth in the life of the Church.
“This collection offers an opportunity for all Catholics in the United States to show solidarity with the Church in Latin America and to share their faith with those who have fewer financial resources,” Bishop Elizondo said. “It’s important that we give pastors, lay ministers and catechists the tools they need so that Catholics in Latin America can face any challenge and deepen their faith.” Since the annual collection is the primary source of funding for CLA grants, parishioners in the U.S. play an important role in the life of the Church in Latin America through their generosity.
The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the Collection for the Church in Latin America as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information on the Collection for the Church in Latin America and the projects it funds can be found at http://www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/latin-america/. Other resources including a new radio public service announcement on the Collection for the Church in Latin America featuring Bishop Elizondo can be downloaded at http://www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/latin-america/collection/index.cfm.

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