All Catholic churches in Maine will join churches across the United States in holding a special collection for the Church in Latin America at weekend Masses on Saturday, Jan. 26, and Sunday, Jan. 27, according to a news release from Dave Guthro, communications director of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

The funds from the CLA collection will help churches in Latin America and the Caribbean to face challenges including poverty, violence, priest shortages, and a lack of faith formation opportunities through catechesis, family ministry, lay leadership training, prison ministry, sacramental preparation, summer camps, and other programs in nearly 30 countries. Emergency grants are also issued in response to natural disasters, according to the release.

The first collection for the Church in Latin America was held in 1966 and the annual CLA collection has been held each year since to assist people in these areas to improve their faith life and overcome obstacles on their spiritual journey.

“”This collection also helps the faithful in these countries in discovering ways in which they can share their faith,” said Bishop Robert P. Deeley, according to the release. “It is a recognition that the Church will grow and thrive as the Hispanic people within the community of the Church reach out and share the good news of the Gospel with others. We have much to learn from them.”

For more information about the collection and its funding distribution, visit www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/latin-america/index.cfm.

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