The Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” often called the “office of papal charity,” announced in its annual report that financial assistance given in the name of the Holy Father for emergency aid and development to the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel and the Populorum Progressio Foundation totaled $6.482 million in 2003.
The report noted that the monies donated to the Pope for “men, women and children tried in body and spirit” came from individual Catholics, parish and diocesan offices and religious institutes around the world.
“Cor Unum” says there was great response in particular to the Holy Father’s Message for Lent 2004 on the theme “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,” in which he wrote: “With great admiration I also think of all those committed to caring for underprivileged children and those who alleviate the sufferings of children and their families resulting from war and violence, inadequate food and water, forced immigration and the many forms of injustice present in the world.”
A total of $1.680 million was donated for human development projects in 33 countries and for emergency assistance in 23 countries affected by earthquakes, floods, wars, drought and famine, refugees and migrants and victims of HIV/AIDS.
The remaining funds were given to the two foundations instituted by Pope John Paul within Cor Unum: $1.843 million to the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel, created in 1984 to help countries affected by the growing desertification of the Sahara; and $2.959 million to the Populorum Progressio Foundation, created in 1992 to help Native populations in Latin America.
The Cor Unum report also noted that “in special cases, the Holy Father has sent as his personal envoy Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, council president, to show the spiritual closeness of the universal Church and the Apostolic See to populations which have been struck and to encourage all those who are assisting the victims.”
Archbishop Cordes traveled to Vietnam in January and to Iraq from May 28 to June 3, 2003.