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On July 21-23, 2004, the annual meeting of the Administrative Council of the autonomous Populorum Progressio Foundation took place in the Archdiocese of Brasilia, Brazil.  Of the 263 projects submitted, 230 were approved for funding in the amount of (US) $1,881,000.00.  As happens each year, a substantial part of the designated funds is the fruit of the generosity of Italian Catholics, via the Italian Episcopal Conference and the Committee for Charitable Interventions in the Third World (Comitato per gli Interventi Caritativi per il Terzo Mondo).  Since February 13, 1992, the day on which Pope John Paul created the Foundation, it has been possible to finance over two thousand projects totaling approximately nineteen million dollars.  In this way, "the gesture of the Church's concrete love toward the most abandoned and needy", especially indigenous populations, those of mixed ethnic background, and Afro-American groups, is translated into reality.

This year, Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, President of Cor Unum and of the Foundation, could not be present at the meeting, as he had been sent by the Holy Father on a special mission to the Darfur region of Sudan, to help the local population, hard hit by recent tragic events.  All of the other Members of the Council were present at the meeting: His Eminence, Cardinal Juan Sandoval, Archbishop of Guadalajara (Mexico); Most Rev. Fabio Betancur, President of the Administrative Council and Archbishop of Manizales (Columbia); Most Rev. Alberto Taviera, Vice President of the Administrative Council and Archbishop of Palmas (Brazil); Most Rev. Edmundo Abastoflor, Archbishop of La Paz (Bolivia); Most Rev. Antonio Arregui, Archbishop of Guayaquil (Ecuador); Most Rev. José Luis Astigarraga, Vicar Apostolic of Yurimaguas (Peru); Fr. Segundo Tejado, Delegate of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.  Dr. Juan Vincente Isaza, Secretary of the Administrative Council, was in charge of organizing the various aspects of the meeting.  Also present was Msgr. Piergiuseppe Vacchelli, representing the Italian Episcopal Conference.

 The 230 approved projects promote the integral development of these populations and concern the following areas: 36% of the projects are for the production generated by farming activity, micro-enterprises, or community stores; 23% concerns initiatives for creating community infrastructures: drinking water, fencing, latrines, and community rooms; 18% are related to physical structures, with the building of schools, residential dwellings and health centers; 16% goes to benefit education: formation, communication, equipment, and publications; and 7% is designated for health projects: equipment and training.

 The Members of the Administrative Council were the guests of the Most Rev. João Braz de Aviz, Archbishop of Brasilia.  His Eminence, Cardinal José Freire Falcão was also present.  They were also received by the Governor of the Federal District of Brasilia, Mr. Joaquim Roriz.

 The Populorum Progressio Foundation, established by Pope John Paul II, is a component of his charitable activity; the projects are approved in his name and assistance is allocated for their realization.  In fact, many of these works are inscribed with signs that read: "Realized Thanks for the Support of the Holy Father".


Vatican City, July 23, 2004