of His Excellency
Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes
few days after the beatification of two young Ugandan martyrs, Daudi
Okelo and Jildo Irwa, the President of the Pontifical Council "Cor
Unum" departed for Uganda. The
purpose of his visit is to draw attention, both within and outside the
Church, to this country afflicted with AIDS.
In February of 2001, "Cor Unum" sent a gift from the
Holy Father in the amount of €500,000
to fund projects of Catholic NGOs and the Missionaries of Charity of
Mother Theresa of Calcutta.
are at the heart of this visit. In
Uganda, 50% of them have at least one parent who has died of AIDS.
The majority of these children are at risk of being left to the
streets and turning their hands to petty crimes.
priorities of this funding initiative of "Cor Unum" are as
follows: to give a family to orphans; education through construction and
support of schools; health education for the prevention of AIDS;
professional formation, especially for young people from juvenile prison;
foundation of a house for terminally ill children due to AIDS under the
care of the Missionaries of Mother Theresa of Calcutta.
work is enlarged and can now assist more than 1,000 children.
The project is inserted into the program to battle AIDS at the
national level with respect to the parameters of the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund. Catholic
organizations, for a long time, have been engaged on this front.
Uganda has become a "laboratory-country" in the war
against AIDS and is one of the few nations where there has been a
decrease in the number of cases reported, from 9.51% to 8.3%.
These results must not be the end point, but rather the beginning
of a renewed interest in an increase of assistance projects.
October 25th, Archbishop Cordes, while in Kampala, visited the "Cowa",
a center for the professional formation of young people released from
the juvenile prison. The
following days he will be received by the Missionaries of Mother Theresa,
where a house for 60 terminally ill children suffering from AIDS will be
inaugurated. He will next
visit an orphanage, "Nsambya Babies Home", and the
professional school for orphans of parents lost to AIDS, under the care
of Cowa. On Sunday, October
27th, he will preside over the Kampala Diocesan Festival.
On the 28th, he will travel to North Uganda, to Gulu, where the
Church is involved in reestablishing conditions for peace.
For the past 15 years, this region near the border of Rwanda has
been threatened by a bloody war.
October 29th, is dedicated to a meeting with the Episcopal Conference of
Uganda and Caritas Uganda. Wednesday,
October 30th, he will visit the sanctuary of Namugongo, where the
Ugandan Martyr-Saints were killed.
from L'Osservatore Romano, October 25, 2002)