of His Excellency
Paul Josef Cordes
from L'Osservatore Romano, October 25, 2002)
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
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
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
Tuesday, 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.