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Archbishop Cordes Sent by the Holy Father into War Zones

The President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum will be visiting Pakistan from the 25th to the 30th of October 2001, on assignment from the Holy Father.

With this visit, Pope John Paul II wishes to confirm his closeness to all persons who suffer because of the war, and in a special way, to the refugees who are amassed in ever increasing numbers along the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  In this sense, he also expresses this message in sending the Archbishop, underlining that "the suffering of so many men, women, and children calls out with a loud voice for tangible relief.  In particular, the painful situation of so many refugees calls for immediate action on the part of all those who are in a position to help."

On October 27th at 10:00am, Archbishop Cordes will meet with the President of the Republic of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, and then with the Minister for Religious Minorities, retired Colonel S.K. Tressler.  After this, he plans to meet with the heads of Catholic humanitarian organisations and of the local Caritas.  On October 28th at 4:30pm, he will preside at the Celebration of the Eucharist in the Cathedral of Rawalpindi with the Bishops and the Catholic community of Pakistan, praying that the bonds of hate and injustice be broken and begging from God the gift of peace.  He is also planning a visit to a refugee camp in Peshawar to personally comfort the people there in the name of the Holy Father.

The President of Cor Unum, which is the Vatican office which co-ordinates Catholic humanitarian organisations, will be encouraging the often heroic efforts of those volunteers who have contributed, from the 11th of September to the present, to the saving of so many human lives.  Now, more than ever before, it is important to concretely live the love of neighbour, whether it be in the receiving of refugees, or in the help of humanitarian aid.