"I am very humbled to lead a subcommittee that provides critical assistance to the Church in countries experiencing sometimes tough and traumatic times. Allocating this money donated by our generous parishioners through the Church in Latin America collection is important work. Supporting pastoral projects is part of our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Latin America," said Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the subcommittee. "We also have worked diligently to support the Church in Haiti, in Chile, and now in Cuba as they begin to rebuild infrastructures for the communities of faith that were impacted by severe earthquakes and hurricanes."
The subcommittee also approved $2.6 million in grants for reconstruction projects of the Church in Haiti. Projects include the damaged IDEPH School in Jacmel and the design and reconstruction of the church of Sacré-Coeur in the heart of Port au Prince. All USCCB aid for reconstruction work in Haiti goes through the Partnership for Reconstruction of the Church in Haiti (PROCHE), the Haitian Bishops' Conference construction entity developed for this purpose. The first grants for reconstruction projects of the Church in Haiti were approved last year.
"It took us some time to 'prime the pump' and set effective mechanisms for reconstruction," said Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chairman of the subcommittee's Haiti Advisory Group. "But we are now seeing results as major reconstruction starts to happen." The bishops received a briefing on the status of reconstruction in Haiti on November 13.
The subcommittee also approved funding for reconstruction of several churches in Cuba damaged by Hurricane Sandy and other pastoral projects. Funding to assist the formation of religious, seminarians, clergy and permanent deacons totaled more than $1.6 million awarded to date. Funding to assist countries participating in World Youth Day 2013 in Brazil was also approved.