Washington (Agenzia Fides) - The U.S. Bishops approved making permanent their Subcommittee on the Church in Africa and the hiring of two people to assist the subcommittee in carrying out its work.
The Bishops in 2004 had formed an ad hoc subcommittee to determine the needs of the Catholic Church on the continent of Africa. In 2007, they created a temporary subcommittee as part of a restructuring of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. That temporary status was extended in 2010, but was expiring this year.
The subcommittee works as part of the Committee on National Collections and oversees the voluntary Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa. From the fund the U.S. bishops give grants to support pastoral projects in Africa that support the growth of the church, such as leadership training, church administration, evangelization, communications, and justice and peace.
As the subcommittee's chairman, Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin, the Indianapolis Archbishop recently named archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, said $20 million had been distributed to Bishops' conferences in Africa thanks to the Solidarity Fund. To date, 69 U.S. dioceses contribute to that fund, either through a collection or some other means. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 18/11/2016)