.- The Vatican's Good Samaritan Foundation for AIDS patients was presented today in the Holy See Press Office and “all men and women of good will, especially those in more economically advanced countries,” were invited by Pope John Paul II “to contribute to the goals of this foundation." Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, underscored that AIDS "is one of the most devastating epidemics of our time," and recalled that more than 22 million people have died since its discovery in the 1980’s and 37,800,000 suffer from it.
He also pointed out that between 2001 and 2003 4.5 million children have been orphaned as a result of AIDS, taking the number to 15 million children who have been orphaned by the disease.
The Church "has always contributed to attempts to prevent the virus and to help the sick and their families through medical, social, spiritual and pastoral assistance,” pointed out the Cardinal. “Currently, 26.7 % of AIDS medical centers in the world are Catholic." However, he added, "they do not have resources for necessary medicine, and the medicine they have is insufficient for covering the urgent need."
"In order to build the foundation," he continued, "the Holy Father has donated 100,000 euros, offering an example of charity that we ask that all Catholics to follow,” and said that this call “is directed above all to all bishops and their dioceses, to priests, religious institutes and foundations that carry out charity work and all men and women of good will.”
Contributions can be made by bank transfer or draft in dollars or euros and sent to the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), Vatican City 00120. International checks can be made out to “Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, President of the Good Samaritan Foundation, Palazzo S. Paolo, Vatican City, 00120.”