ASSISTANCE OF THE HOLY FATHER TO
(Projects approved in 1999)
The Administrative Council of the Populorum Progressio Foundation, established by Pope John Paul II to contribute to the human and Christian promotion of the indigenous populations and peasants most in need in Latin America, met from 10 to 14 July 1999 in Manizales, Colombia. The Annual Meeting is for the study of projects presented to the Council and to decide the level of financial support to be given them as a gesture of love and solidarity of the Church and of the Holy Father towards those most in need.
Colombia is brutally scarred by urban and rural guerrilla warfare and by drug trafficking. One hears each day the news of massacres committed by the guerrillas and armed bands against innocent victims and civil forces responsible for public order. At the same time, with open arms and a warm heart, Colombia welcomed the members of the Administrative Council of the Foundation. The Council is composed of Archbishops and Bishops coming from Mexico (Oaxaca), Brazil (Palmas), Bolivia (La Paz), Peru (Callao), Guatemala (Verapaz and Cobán) under the Presidency of His Excellency Archbishop Fabio Betancur Tirado of the centenary Archdiocese of Manizales together with its Secretary, Dr. Juan Vicente Isaza. Also participating at the meeting were His Excellency Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, President of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" and of the said Foundation, along with Msgr. Francisco Azcona, Under Secretary of "Cor Unum" and a member of the Administrative Council of the Foundation as the representative of the Dicastery. Present as Observers was a delegation of the Italian Episcopal Conference headed by Msgr. Piergiuseppe Vacchelli. In fact, it is thanks to the extraordinary contribution of this Episcopal Conference, that the Foundation is able to respond generously to the requests of the poor who acknowledge profoundly the assistance of the Catholic Church in Italy.
The opening session of this eighth meeting of the Administrative Council of the Foundation, established by Pope John Paul II in 1992 - the fifth century of Evangelisation of America and the fourth Meeting of the Latin American Episcopate - was dedicated to brief comments on the present political and ecclesial situation in their respective countries. Widespread material and spiritual poverty can be verified and call for a commitment and help from the Universal Church. The Administrative Council examined 264 projects coming from Latin America and the Caribbean Region, approving 215 projects for a total cost of US $1,800,000. Those responsible for these projects, which comply with the stated requirements and enjoy the approval of their respective local Ordinaries, will receive the funds in the near future.
Of the 215 projects for 1999: 23.64% are in the education sector (construction, communication, vocational training, materials); 19.77% are in the area of communal infrastructure (potable water, means of communication, roads, electricity, latrines and multipurpose centres); 43.80% are concerned with production (agricultural, artisans, micro-production and community businesses); health related projects account for 8.14 %; and the housing sector comprises 4.26%. A project aimed at civil registration was also approved which highlights the collaboration of the Foundation with the civil authority in harmony with the norms of civil society.
NUMBER OF PROJECTS APPROVED IN 1999 BY
THE POPULORUM PROGRESSIO FOUNDATION - LISTED BY COUNTRY
In the past 6 years, the contributions of the Foundation have totalled approximately 8 million US dollars. For each of these years, the administrative costs of the Foundation were only 1% of the total sum allocated for projects.
At the closing of the Meeting, the participants sent a brief informative message to the Holy Father, requesting His Paternal Apostolic Blessing for the benefactors, the Members of the Council, the recipients and for the faithful of the Particular Church in Manizales.