Ever since missionary priests accompanied the Spanish conquistadors in the 15th century, the Catholic faith has spread throughout Latin America.  Many of the people are faith-filled but the needs in this region of the world are great and can often seem insurmountable.  For more than 50 years, the annual Collection for the Church in Latin America has been a way for Catholics in the United States to unite more closely with our brothers and sisters in faith throughout Latin America and the Caribbean through supporting diocesan pastoral catechetical and family life ministries, seminary studies, and formation programs for religious sisters and brothers. The collection also helps the poorest dioceses obtain basic necessities that they otherwise would be unable to afford, which would leave them unable to minister effectively to the faithful.  At the far eastern end of the island of Cuba, for example, the priests in the Diocese of Guantánamo-Baracoa traverse bad roads over rough terrain to bring the sacraments and the Word of God to the faithful living there. The mountainous territory that makes up 75% of the diocese’s total land area makes travel not only difficult but also more expensive for priests due to higher fuel consumption, vehicle maintenance, and repair costs compared to other regions.

Catholics like you who generously contribute to the Collection for the Church in Latin America help Guantánamo-Baracoa’s priests stay on the road with funds given to the diocese to offset fuel and vehicle repair costs. In places such as Cuba, you help bring the Good News to the poor when you participate in the collection.

“The Collection for the Church in Latin America is a chance for Catholics in the Americas to share their faith and grow closer to Christ,” said Bishop Octavio Cisneros, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn and chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America of the USCCB. “I thank the faithful of the United States for their compassion and generosity to their sisters and brothers in Latin America and the Caribbean. I have seen first-hand the people in many countries who benefit from this generosity.”

The collection supports the work of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America by funding grants for pastoral efforts such as lay leadership training, seminarian and religious formation, prison ministry, and youth ministry, among others. Since this collection began, over $185 million has been donated by U. S. Catholics to support the Church in Latin America and Caribbean, including areas that are so remote and difficult to serve.

We will take up this collection for the Church in Latin America this weekend.  Please be generous in this collection, and take this opportunity to share your faith with so many families throughout Latin America.  Your continued support will truly make a difference in spreading the Gospel and, in the name of so many who hunger for it, I thank you.