U.S. Dollars Rebuilding Peru Churches

Collection for Church in Latin America to Be Held Jan. 27

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 16, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The Church in the United States will help Cubans construct a cathedral and Peruvians to rebuild their churches after last year's earthquake.

These are just two of the projects that stand to receive help from the 2008 Collection for the Church in Latin America, which will be taken up in most U.S. parishes Jan. 26-27.

The theme this year is "Forming Disciples and Missionaries of Jesus Christ." The theme is taken directly from the 5th General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, held last May near the shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida.

The annual collection has been going on for more than 45 years. In 2007, some $7.7 million dollars was distributed to Latin American dioceses, parishes, seminaries and other programs. That was almost $2 million more than in 2006.

Highlights of the projects approved last November to be pursued during 2008 include:

-- Help for countries such as the Dominican Republic, Peru and Uruguay to launch the "Great Continental Mission in Latin America" called for by the 5th General Conference. The Continental Mission seeks to invite back into the Church those who have left.

-- Aid to local Churches for the reconstruction of 85 chapels affected after Hurricane Felix in Nicaragua.

-- Aid to the bishops in Haiti to launch a special basic educational program based in local parishes to help educate the poor and the elderly.

"We are able to help both big and small projects of the Church in Latin America, from helping CELAM [the Latin American bishops council] and its 22 episcopal conferences launch the Great Continental Mission to helping the last parish in the jungle of the Amazons train their catechists," said Monsignor Carlos Quintana Puente, director of the collection. "We also have the ability to give emergency aid to local bishops as well as to respond to the request of the apostolic nuncio in Cuba to help build a future cathedral.

"Many people don't realize how many projects the collection funds."