The Diocese of Buffalo will take up a special collection this month for the Latin American Missions. Bishop Richard J. Malone has asked all parishes to hold a second collection on a weekend of the pastor's choosing, for Catholics in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Bishop Malone recently visited El Salvador as part of a Catholic Relief Services delegation and knows first-hand the challenges they face when it comes to maintaining and sharing their faith.
In the Diocese of San Miguel, El Salvador, for example, the youth of Holy Family Parish are at high risk for violence and gang activity. Because of this, the parish designed a youth enrichment and leadership program to address young people's need for critical thinking skills and values education.
The parish hopes to help the youth living in these high-vulnerability areas create a culture of solidarity and peace within their neighborhoods. The parish currently engages a group of 75 young adults. They will become youth leaders to spread the Gospel message in their neighborhoods and break the cycle of violence.
The collection for the Church in Latin America, through projects like this as well as catechesis programs, empowers the faithful of Latin America and the Caribbean to deepen their faith and share it with each other and the world. Because of the generosity of Catholics in the United States, 22 countries shared 417 grants totaling more than $6.5 million in 2012 to help the people in these countries.