Catholics across the United States offer hope and help to their sisters and brothers in Africa through contributions to the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa. Each year, many dioceses in the United States support the Solidarity Fund during July and August with special collections at Sunday Mass and through their online and e-giving platforms. Other dioceses take a collection at different times throughout the year or make a direct contribution in lieu of a collection.
“Gifts to the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa support the Church’s mission to bring hope, foster understanding and healing among diverse peoples and help to spread the Good News of God’s love and mercy through Jesus Christ,” said Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R. of Newark, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Africa. “The generosity of U.S. Catholics makes a tangible, lasting impact in the lives of our Catholic brothers and sisters.”
From an economic and political standpoint, Africa is the poorest and most marginalized area of the world. Endemic poverty, ecological damage, poor governance, persistent conflict, and major population displacements plague much of the continent.
“Yet, Africa is also a continent of enormous spiritual vitality, where the People of God – ordained and laity alike – share the Gospel with a joy that should inspire all of us to do likewise,” said Cardinal Tobin. “Donations from U.S. Catholics to the Solidarity Fund provide the basic resources that the Church in Africa needs in its pastoral mission to deepen the faith of its people, evangelize its neighbors, strengthen its leadership and promote peace and justice. Every dollar that is received in the basket or sent online through e-giving platforms goes a long way to make a real difference in the faith lives of individuals, families, and communities across Africa.”
In 2020, giving to the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa declined dramatically due to the long stretch without in-person masses because of the COVID pandemic – at the very time that the need in Africa escalated due to the same pandemic. Nevertheless, in 2020 the Fund was able to support these other critical ministries:
- In war-torn Cameroon, 65 catechists received training in trauma counseling and human rights education, enabling them to offer pastoral support to masses of displaced persons who fled fighting that destroyed their homes and communities.
- In Burundi, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference is expanding its programs to protect minors and vulnerable adults from sexual violence and abuse, establishing an outreach program in every diocese to raise awareness and end sexual abuse in the Church and in society.
- In the Republic of Congo, a four-day national teachers’ workshop will revitalize the teaching of religion and impact thousands of students nationwide.
- In Zambia, a country with so few priests that villagers often go months without access to the sacraments, lay leaders at two national Bible conferences received intensive instruction in understanding and properly interpreting the Word of God.
Learn more about the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa and how donations make a difference at www.usccb.org/africa.