(Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has decided to send $3.1 million to several projects connected to the Church in Latin America.
According to Catholic World News, the USCCB's Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America has granted the money to 132 different projects based in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo, M.Sp.S, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee, said in a statement that the projects focused on helping the less fortunate.
"We are committed to supporting migrants and helping provide pastoral care to them not only in our country but also across the Americas," said Elizondo. "With this in mind, projects related to the pastoral care of migrants and refugees also received funding at this meeting."
Projects benefitting from the grants include Movilidad Humana, a Peruvian entity that provides care for migrants in the nation. It received $15,000.
For Haiti, one project in the impoverished nation that will receive funds is the church of Sainte Genevieve des Orangers of Port-au-Prince. The original church building was severely damaged and has to be demolished. The $575,000 in grant money from the subcommittee will go to its reconstruction.
To fund the annual grants to the Church in Latin America, the USCCB holds a nationwide "Collection for the Church in Latin America" event every Jan. 26-27.
With the installment of the first Latin American Pope, much attention has been put on the Catholic population of that part of the world.
According to an analysis done in mid-March by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Latin America is 72 percent Catholic and is home to 39 percent of the global Roman Catholic population.
Latin America continues to have a growing percentage of the global Catholic population even though over the past century the percentage of Catholics in the region has declined by 18 percent.
"Between 1910 and 2010, the population of the world nearly quadrupled, from 1.8 billion to 6.9 billion. The number of Catholics also nearly quadrupled, from 291 million to 1.1 billion, keeping pace with the rate of change," reads the Pew analysis in part.
"By contrast, the population of Latin America grew more than sevenfold, from 78 million to 590 million. During that same period, the Catholic population in Latin America grew about sixfold, from 71 million to 425 million."