Catholic Home Missions Allocates Grants from Disaster Relief Collection; $10 Million to Aid Dioceses Hurt by Hurricane Sandy
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions allocated $2.8 million in grants to five dioceses impacted by two separate natural disasters. The grants were awarded at the Subcommittee’s meeting in San Diego on June 8.
In May 2011, bishops were encouraged to hold a special collection to assist the victims of tornados and spring storms. Remittances from this appeal were split between the USCCB and Catholic Charities USA to meet humanitarian, pastoral and reconstruction needs. The Committee on National Collections tasked the Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions with allocating the USCCB’s portion of the funds.
Initially, the Subcommittee received two applications for $1.3 million. In June 2012, the Subcommittee allocated $250,000 to the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau for the relocation of St. Mary’s School in Joplin, Missouri, and $100,000 to the Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts to assist with renovations of a retired priests’ residence. At their June 2013 meeting, the Subcommittee considered an additional request from the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese and granted $300,000 to repair storm damage to their St. Vincent de Paul Center and St. Mary’s Church and School.
“It seems that each year regions of our country are rocked by some sort of natural disaster, and emergency special collections are requested,” said Bishop Peter F. Christensen of Superior, Wisconsin, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. “Unfailingly, Catholics respond with a generosity that allows the Church to respond immediately. The Catholic Home Missions’ Subcommittee is happy to assist in this process. Our experience working with mission dioceses here at home helps us evaluate the requests efficiently and respond quickly.”
After Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in late 2012, dioceses were again asked to take up a special collection. To date, $10 million has been received from that special collection. Proceeds will again be split between the USCCB and Catholic Charities USA, with the Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions allocating the funds designated for pastoral care and church reconstruction.
The Subcommittee received four applications for consideration at their meeting on June 8. Over $10 million in requests for pastoral needs were received from the Archdiocese of Newark and the Dioceses of Trenton in New Jersey, and the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre in New York. The Subcommittee allocated $2.5 million in a first round of grants.
Additional requests will be considered at the Subcommittee’s November meeting.
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