Office of the Propagation of the Faith: Supporting the missionary work of the Church


The Society for the Propagation of the Faith for the Diocese of Richmond is part of the greater Church’s Society for the Propagation of the Faith, both in this country and around the world.

The society seeks prayer and sacrifice for the world’s missions in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and remote regions of Latin America. Help is offered for pastoral and evangelizing programs, for catechists and catechetical work, to build churches, for the work of religious communities in health care and education, and for communication and transportation needs.

In our diocese, the Office of the Propagation of the Faith is the diocesan branch of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith. This office helps in the procurement of funds for the support of Catholic missions in Virginia, the United States and in foreign countries. It also administers grants supporting the Office of Migrant Ministries, Office of Social Ministries, and Office of Marriage, Family and Life.

We would like to share a look at the activities of the Office of the Propagation of the Faith for the calendar year 2023:

Each year, on the next to last Sunday of October, we celebrate World Mission Sunday. A collection is taken up to support mission work in the United States and around the world. This year, through the generosity of the people of the diocese, $159,100 was collected. These funds were distributed to USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) Catholic Home Missions ($53,033); Black and Indian Missions ($53,033); and the National Society for the Propagation of the Faith ($53,033).

The Mission Cooperative Program allows diocesan mission parish pastors and other organizations the opportunity to make a financial appeal at larger parishes across our diocese to help support their parish projects and day-to-day operations. In 2023, $149,689 was distributed though the generosity of our host parishes. Thank you to those parishes that allowed pastors and others to make an appeal. The generosity of our parishioners is vital to this grant program.

CRS Rice Bowl is the official Lenten program of Catholic Relief Services (CRS). It was created in 1975 with the goal of entering in solidarity with our brothers and sisters overseas through prayer, fasting, learning and giving. Many of our parishes and Catholic schools in the diocese participate in CRS Rice Bowl; through their generosity, they help to fund CRS’ global initiatives.

CRS development projects throughout the world are supported by 75% of Rice Bowl donations, while the remaining 25% of the funds support local programs through the diocesan Rice Bowl Grant Program. This past year, $31,050 was distributed to various parishes and organizations.

The Diocesan Respect Life Fund is made possible by the biannual Respect Life Collection, held at parishes in the diocese since 1975. The Respect Life Fund supports activities that protect and promote the dignity of human life. In 2023, Respect Life Grants in the amount of $282,473, were distributed to 22 parishes and organizations. They include Sacred Heart, Big Stone Gap, which received a grant to open a pregnancy center in the parish; St. Thomas More, Lynchburg, for its diaper ministry; and Accomack-Northampton Pregnancy Center, which received funds for parenting classes.

The Home Mission Grant Program provides grants for repairs and small construction projects to the mission parishes and other, smaller parishes of our diocese.  The funds come from a diocesan-wide collection in June, as well as funds from the Annual Appeal. The program is administered through the office in conjunction with a grant committee and His Excellency, Bishop Barry C. Knestout.

In 2023, Home Mission Grants totaled $211,628, including to: Holy Spirit, Christiansburg, for roof repair; St. Bernard, Gate City, for handicap accessibility to parish bathroom; and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Blackstone, for parking lot repair.

The office also administers Fuel and Hunger Grants. The Catholic Community Foundation’s Annual Diocesan Appeal makes the Fuel and Hunger Fund possible, with additional support coming from special contributions. Grants are awarded to parishes and Catholic organizations that provide emergency assistance to persons with fuel and hunger needs.

In 2023, the Fuel and Hunger committee distributed $511,540 to 91 parishes and organizations, including: Sacred Heart, Norfolk; Our Lady of Lourdes Richmond; and Holy Family, Tazewell. Most of the money goes toward programs that assist people with utilities, rent and food.

In gratitude, we are called to share our faith as missionaries in our diocese and in places far away. Thank you to all who make this work possible in our diocese, our pastors, the members of the advisory and grant committees, and especially to the generous people of our parishes.



Deacon Bob Young is the director of the Office of the Propagation of the Faith and Office of Worship. He also serves at St. Joseph, Petersburg. He can be reached via email at [email protected].


Information about applying for grants for 2024 can be found on the diocesan website for the Office of the Propagation of the Faith.



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