Most Dioceses Will Hold Special Collection on January 22-23 in Their Parishes
On the weekend of January 22-23, Catholics throughout the United States have an opportunity to help the Church’s formation of missionary disciples in Central and South America and the Caribbean islands by giving to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) annual Collection for the Church in Latin America.
“The Collection for the Church in Latin America makes a significant impact in lives of our brothers and sisters in Latin America,” said Bishop Octavio Cisneros, auxiliary bishop emeritus of Brooklyn and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America.
Most dioceses hold the special collection on January 22-23 in their parishes, though some schedule it on another weekend to avoid conflicts with other local activities. Parishioners are invited to be part of this mission by supporting the collection at Mass or through parish online giving platforms. #iGiveCatholicTogether also accepts funds in support of the Church in Latin America.
In 2020, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, the Collection for the Church in Latin America distributed more than $5.6 million among 334 ministries in Mexico, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean. $3.9 million supported evangelization, catechesis, marriage, and family ministry, pro-life work, youth ministry, prison ministry, and other pastoral outreach, while about $1.5 million provided formation for clergy, religious, and lay leaders. The collection also funds the creation and implementation of safe environment/child protection programs in the Latin American dioceses that are supported by the fund.
In Brazil, the collection funded 100 clergy and laity to spend nine months in mission houses of the Semenentes do Verbo (Seeds of the Word) movement, studying scripture, growing in faith, and preparing to go out as evangelists to their neighbors.
In Haiti, the gifts enabled more than 600 young people to receive intensive formation in the faith so that they can evangelize their peers and work for justice and peace in their neighborhoods.
In Cúcuta, Colombia, where malnourished refugees pour across the border from Venezuela, this collection supports many relief ministries, such as those that provide food and job training to migrants and a Catholic childcare center for children whose migrant parents labor from dawn to dusk as vendors in the city streets.
“Pope Francis has called us to share the love and the joy of the gospel with those who are poor, suffering, or marginalized. He knows first-hand that the Collection for the Church in Latin America accomplishes this. When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, contributions to this collection helped to support his ministry to the people in the city’s poorest neighborhoods,” Bishop Cisneros said.
“When that collection basket comes around, I know that it’s easy to think that a small gift won’t make a difference. But even $5 can make a multi-million-dollar impact as it is combined with gifts of other Catholics. No matter how small the gift, God uses it to make a life-changing difference for those whom Jesus called ‘the least’ of his sisters and brothers.”