Church in USA begins collection for Africa
The US Bishops call on believers to give generously to support their Catholic brothers and sisters in Africa, saying that their commitment will make a real, tangible difference in the lives of countless people.
By an employee of Vatican News
Traditionally, the Church in the United States dedicates July and August to solidarity with Africa. Also this year the bishops of the country invite the faithful to generously participate in the annual gathering set up for this purpose. The annual initiative, launched in 2004, is coordinated by the special sub-commission of the Bishops’ Conference (USCCB) responsible for supporting pastoral projects for the development of the Church in Africa, especially in the fields of youth, Catholic schools, formation of the clergy and lay people and promoting peace in conflict areas.
Endemic poverty, ecological disasters, poor governance, endless conflict and massive population displacement continue to plague much of the continent, which remains one of the most politically and economically marginalized areas in the world. “But Africa is also a continent of tremendous spiritual vitality, where God’s people – ordained and lay people alike – share the gospel with a joy that should inspire us all to do the same,” said Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Newark and Chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Church in Africa.
The donations made by American Catholics, the cardinal explained, help “provide the basic resources the Church in Africa needs for her pastoral mission to deepen the faith of her people, evangelize her neighbors, strengthen her leadership, and create peace To promote justice ”. Cardinal Tobin emphasized that “every dollar” sent through church donations or online “goes a long way in transforming the faithful lives of individuals, families and communities across Africa.”
Due to the lockdowns against the Covid-19 pandemic imposed last year, during which many churches were closed to believers for a long time, donations to the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa have drastically decreased, exactly at the time when the African countries they needed most. Nevertheless, the sub-commission was able to fund important projects, including:
– Training of catechists in psychological counseling and human rights in war-torn Cameroon,
– Providing funding for the Bishops’ Conference in Burundi to develop protection and awareness-raising programs to combat violence and sexual abuse of minors,
– Support for a four-day national seminar for teachers in the Republic of the Congo,
– And in Zambia, suffering from a severe shortage of priests, funding Bible training seminars to help local lay leaders understand the Word of God.
“The donations to the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa support the church’s mission to spread hope, promote understanding and healing among different peoples, and help spread the good news of God’s love and mercy through Jesus Christ,” said Cardinal Tobin. “The generosity of US Catholics has had a tangible and lasting impact on the lives of our Catholic brothers and sisters.”
Learn more about the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa and how donations make a difference at www.usccb.org/africa.