Established as a papal society more than 100 years ago, Catholic Extension has strengthened and supported the Catholic Church in the United States. We help poor mission dioceses across the country build lasting foundations by investing in people, infrastructure and ministries.
Through our funding and initiatives, and in partnership with our donors, we help these communities build faith, inspire hope and ignite change where it's needed most.
Funding Areas - People
Catholic Extension helps curb the high cost of education for seminarians who have answered God’s call in their mission diocese. Seminarian education is a high cost for any diocese to bear - and many mission dioceses are forced to cut funding from other programs and ministries in order to support their men with vocations to the priesthood. Last year alone, Catholic Extension donors helped curb this financial burden, and supported 595 seminarians from our 94 mission dioceses. Once ordained, they will return to their Catholic faith communities to serve as shepherds where they're needed most. We also support diaconate formation programs and the advanced education of lay leaders preparing for full-time ministry so that these faith-filled men and women can increase the impact of their work in the Church.
The future of the Catholic Church is dependent on the youth of today. Catholic Extension is committed to developing these future leaders, by investing in youth and young adult ministry programs, including faith-based camps and youth events. Our support also extends to Newman Centers and campus ministries at more than 90 colleges in 38 states across the country.
Recruitment and Training
Catholic Extension helps support faithful Catholics who dedicate themselves to serving the Church. We fund the recruitment, education, ongoing formation and professional development of lay and ordained leaders in mission dioceses. In turn, these leaders use their advanced training to continue strengthening the faith in their communities through their ministries.
Funding Areas – Infrastructure
Church Building Projects
Since 1905, Catholic Extension has built more than 12,000 churches across the United States, and this number continues to grow. Donations support new church building projects and expansions in places where parishioners are celebrating Mass in storefronts or warehouses, or where the current buildings can no longer support growning numbers of faithful. We also fund repairs and renovations for churches and facilities that are in need of utility upgrades, are not up to current building codes or have been damaged by extreme weather conditions. By funding these building projects, we ensure that Catholics have a sacred space to gather together and share the fullness of their faith.
With each passing year, the practical aspects of running a diocese become more costly and complex. Catholic Extension helps dioceses manage their operational needs by providing them with the most efficient technology, such as hardware and software, as well as the training resources required to utilize it. With these updates, dioceses and parishes can operate cost effectively and better serve their faith communities.
Diocesan Support and General Operations
Catholic Extension supports strategic planning and financial forecasting within the mission dioceses, as well as other business expenses including general operations and fundraising. We also provide resources to assist dioceses with developing effective fundraising and stewardship programs. In addition, we help fund the salaries of the priests, women religous, deacons and Catholic laity who provide vital ministries that keep people in the dioceses connected to the Church and to one another.
Funding Areas - Ministry
Formational and Educational Ministries
Catholic Extension funds efforts to enhance Catholic family life by providing resources to ministries that support both marriage and family. These include faith formation and religious education programs for all ages, such as Catholic Bible studies, religion and CCD classes for young students, and classes on sacramental preparation. Catholic Extension has also created a new initiative to support Catholic schools so they can continue building solid foundations within Catholic families.
Catholic Worship and Faith Resources
Catholic Extension support defrays the cost of essential Catholic faith resources—items that are in short supply in many of our mission dioceses. These include Bibles for Bible study programs, other religious education resource materials, and funding for liturgical ministries that enhance the Church life of Catholics. Support also extends to Catholic media, such as radio and television programs, that evangelize to a broader audience in the mission dioceses.
Catholic Extension provides funding for important Catholic social outreach ministries that enrich the lives of those who need it most. Gifts help support Catholic prison ministry and substance abuse programs. Funding also supports social outreach centers, including soup kitchens and homeless shelters, as they continue to serve the poor and hungry in our mission dioceses.