The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Africa approved 49 grants to 16 episcopal conferences and 4 regional associations of the Church in Africa for a total of $1,226,500. The subcommittee approved the grants during the USCCB’s General Assembly meeting in Baltimore.
Grant to Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania will help implement the Year of Faith and the new evangelization. With the addition of these most recent awards, the subcommittee has given out 109 grants for a total of $2,805,442 in aid this year.
“So many of our parishes benefit from the loving presence of African priests and religious,” Bishop John Ricard, chairman of the subcommittee, said. “The extraordinary generosity of Catholics here in the United States through the Solidarity Fund for Africa gives us the possibility to give something back to the parishes in Africa. We can also make sure that dioceses that might otherwise be forgotten can get support to grow even in what are at times harsh conditions.”
The Church in Africa has almost tripled in size in the past 30 years. Through the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa, the USCCB has supported pastoral growth in many African bishops’ conferences and dioceses that are working to become self-sustainable. In order to reach this goal of self-sustainability, the Church in Africa needs long-term assistance.
Since the fund began giving out grants in 2007, the subcommittee has awarded 486 grants for a total of $11,196,223 in aid. Catholics have given $12,228,340 in parish appeals to the fund since it began. The fund also received an anonymous donation of $500,000 in 2008 that is being used to train Church personnel in Eastern Africa at local Catholic universities.
The Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa is a voluntary collection held in dioceses at various times throughout the year. The fund is administered by the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Church in Africa and gives grants to African episcopal conferences and their regional associations in Africa.