Roman Catholic Church facing financial cutbacks

The Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada has begun to feel the squeeze of the global economic crises.

Head of the Church, His Lordship Bishop Vincent Darius spoke of the many areas in which the local dioceses is being affected by the financial crisis while addressing the faithful during the Pentecost Rally that took place on Whit Sunday at the Grenada National Stadium.

The Bishop said the days of the clergy having to rely on foreign agencies for financial assistance for the upkeep of Church buildings, and purchasing vehicles for the various parishes are drawing to a close.

“We have to stand on our own two feet. The kind of assistance that we once got doesn’t exist anymore. We have to look deep within ourselves and come up with the resources to finance our projects,” he told the faithful of the Church.

However, Bishop Darius is not daunted over the fact that foreign aid to the church is drying up as it continues, through a project called Caritas, to reach out to several sections of the Grenadian community by providing assistance in various forms.

Caritas which got off the ground after the passage of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 in partnership with Caritas International, Food for the Poor, Cross International Outreach, Catholic Radio Services, and St. Patrick’s Society has been providing relief both to the Roman Catholic Church in Grenada and the State of Grenada.

In outlining the activities that have been undertaken by Caritas for almost 10 years, Bishop Darius said the project embarked on a program called “Youth Emergency Action Committee” which focused on the unemployed between the ages of 18 and 28 who were trained in the area of Disaster Management.

The Bishop disclosed that 55 young people from the Mont Toute, Grand Anse Valley, Mt. Hartman, as well as the Gouyave and Victoria areas profited from the program.

Another project carried out by Caritas was “Catholic Youth Synergy Empowerment Project” which provided the opportunity for students who were failing in their grades to be mentored.

A total of one hundred and twenty-five primary school students in the Mont Tout and Happy Hill areas benefited from the project.

The kitchen at Uganda Martyrs Roman Catholic School in St. George’s was modified to provide additional space and to make it safe for the staff and students.

An industrial cooker was obtained along with cooking and eating utensils as procurement of meals, fresh fruits was done for more than 250 students of the school.

The Church provided sanitation materials to homes of deserving people which included internal plumbing, toilet and bath. Four homes received such assistance in 2013.

According to Bishop Darius, the funding for those entire projects amounted to US$527, 392. 17.

The Roman Catholic Bishop also spoke of the relief items the Catholic Church provides to both people and institutions.

He said that from 2012 to June 2014 the Church received and distributed over 125 containers of relief items.

Forty Four of those containers involved food stuff, twenty had clothing, twenty one of them related to household items, six with educational material, nine agricultural material and twenty medical supplies.

The total value of those containers was EC$30,117,152.78.

The beneficiaries of the items in the containers were all schools – Catholics as well as non-Catholics, other denominations, Homes for the elderly, Childcare’s Homes, Food and Nutrition Council, Her Majesty Prison, the Royal Grenada Police Force, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Religious Affairs, and the Ministry of Health and several Community organisations around the island.

The head of the local Roman Catholic church admitted that one of the Church’s biggest sin is lack of communication and conceded that communication is not working very well.

His Lordship said one of the faults of the Church is that it does not like to sing its praises.

He added that although the church keeps quiet about what it is doing, sometimes there is need for it to speak out.

“The Church is really looking after our people. So now you have no excuse not to say something (about) what the church (is) doing,” he said.

The Bishop admonished the faithful to just not settle for satisfying the physical needs of the people, but to take up the mission of evangelisation so that people can get to hear the gospel message.

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