.- Last week in Lima, Peru, the administrative arm of the "Populorum Progressio" Foundation concluded its annual meeting, announcing 212 new initiatives which they hope will provide material and spiritual care to the poor of Latin America and the Caribbean. The foundation was established in 1992 by John Paul II to promote integral development among the poor, indigenous, mixed race and Afro-American rural communities of Latin America and the Caribbean. It is part of the Pontifical Council ‘Cor Unum.’
The Vatican noted today that since its creation, the group has financed more than 2,000 projects valued at nearly 20 million dollars, giving concrete form to "the Church's gesture of loving solidarity towards the most abandoned and needy - such as the poor, indigenous, mixed race and Afro-American rural communities - as the fruit of love and charity."
The projects for this coming years will focus the foundation’s attention specifically on five major areas. 36.29% of resources, the group said, “will be used for production, be it farming, small businesses, or community stores; 23.55% for communal infrastructure projects such as potable water, fencing, latrines and community halls; 18.15% for buildings such as schools, houses and health centers; 16.60% for education: training, communications, donations and publications; 5.49% for health-oriented projects, including donations and training."
Countries to be included in the new initiatives include Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, as well as Argentina, Chile and the entire Caribbean area.
Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, a Cor Unum official who participated in the Lima meeting said that one of the unique facets of Populorum Progressio is "the ecclesial nature of its projects."
"The Church," said Msgr. Tejado, "cannot be reduced to becoming a humanitarian aid organization; rather her mission embraces individuals in all their facets, both material and spiritual. Hence, the projects that are presented to the foundation have to include this component of Christian charity: the announcement that in Jesus Christ man has access to a Father full of love for the poor.”
“This testimony”, he continued, “is carried forward by providing aid in the Holy Father's name and by including all achievements within the framework of the local Church."