PORTLAND — In an effort to promote solidarity throughout the hemisphere by providing support for pastoral projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Diocese of Portland plans to hold a special collection at all weekend Masses in Maine churches Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 22 and 23.

Last year, even at the height of the pandemic, dioceses across the country raised nearly $6 million that were distributed to 334 ministries in Mexico, Central/South America, and the Caribbean, according to a news release from the Portland diocese.

All the proceeds support evangelization, catechesis, marriage and family ministry, pro-life work, youth ministry, prison ministry, pastoral outreach, and formation for clergy, religious, and lay leaders. The collection also funds the creation and implementation of safe environment/child protection programs in the Latin American dioceses that are supported by the fund.

“I have seen first-hand the good that the continuing generosity of the faithful in the United States has accomplished throughout the world and particularly in Latin America,” Pope Francis said, according to the news release. “The collection remains a precious means of sustaining, both spiritually and temporally, the efforts of the local churches of Latin America and the Caribbean to proclaim the Gospel and to form missionary disciples imbued with zeal for the spread of God’s Kingdom of justice, holiness, and peace.”

For more information about the Collection for the Church in Latin America, visit usccb.org/committees/church-latin-america.

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