Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – Fides has been sent a statement from the Autonomous Foundation Populorum Progressio regarding their annual meeting of the Administrative Council of the Foundation held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, July 20 to 23. This year's meeting was of special importance as it has been held not long after the earthquake that hit Haiti.
Hosted by Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, Archbishop of Santo Domingo, the meeting was attended by Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñiguez, Archbishop of Guadalajara (Mexico) and President of the Council, Archbishop Edmundo Luis Abastoflor Montero, Archbishop of La Paz (Bolivia) and Vice-President of the Council, Archbishop Alberto Taveira Corrêa, Archbishop of Belém do Pará (Brazil), Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza, Archbishop of Guayaquil (Ecuador), Bishop José Luis Astigarraga Lizarralde, Bishop of the Vicariate of Yurimaguas (Peru), Archbishop Oscar Urbina Ortega, Archbishop Villavicencio (Colombia), and new member, Monsignor Tejado Segundo Muñoz, Official of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and Dr. Juan Vicente Isaza Ocampo, Secretary of the Council, which is based in Bogota.
During the meeting, participants extensively studied 230 projects submitted in 2010 by the dioceses of Latin America and the Caribbean. At the end of the study sessions, 186 projects were approved for 20 countries for a total of $2,091,500 USD to be funded by the Italian Bishops' Conference, through the Committee for Charitable Assistance for the Third World, the main supporter of the Foundation. Another 10 projects from Haiti will be funded directly by Cor Unum through donations by the faithful for this purpose.
This year various dioceses of Haiti have submitted plans for the drilling and construction of water tanks: the Diocese of Jérémie, for the Cayemittes Islands, for example, has requested funds for the construction of three reservoirs for the collection of rainwater, with the goal of ultimately eradicating many infections among the child population which are caused by shortage of drinking water.
The visit to Haiti by the entire Council, on July 22, was one of the highlights of the meeting. The visit, which had already been scheduled prior to the earthquake last January, was an opportunity to verify its consequences on the spot. The Foundation has always had a particular regard for the nation of Haiti. In fact, since 1993, they have funded a total of 150 projects in the country.
In the spirit of what the Holy Father has said, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, as the dicastery that coordinates the various Catholic relief agencies, together with the Apostolic Nuncio, organized a meeting between various agencies in Haiti, among which were some of the Caritas organizations from Europe and America. Cardinal Sandoval was able to thank all these organizations working in collaboration with the local church on behalf of the Holy See, pointing out that this “style of presence” should characterize and give courage to those who work in charitable institutions of the Church.
The Foundation, established in 1992 by Servant of God John Paul II, seeks to be a sign of the Pope's Charity towards indigenous peoples, peasants, and African-Americans of Latin America and the Caribbean. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 04/08/2010)