.- Earlier today, the Vatican made public a letter of thanks from secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, to Archbishop Seraphin Rouamba of Koupela, Burkina Faso. Rouamba is president of the Administrative Council of the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel.
Cardinal Sodano thanked him on the part of the Pope for the work that he and the Foundation have done since it was founded in 1984, and renewed the Pope's appeal to help the peoples of the Sahel.
The Sahel is the sub-Saharan region of Africa, which includes countries on the west coast and central part of the continent.
Cardinal Sodano expressed the Holy Father's gratitude to "all those who, from diverse parts of the world, responded quickly to his invitation and who generously cooperated with his concern for the many people who found themselves in truly precarious circumstances."
The Cardinal also wrote that the concrete initiatives that answered the Pope's appeal, led to the formation of the Foundation for the Sahel, "whose administration is directed by the episcopacies of the nine countries involved, whereas the legal representation is entrusted to the Pontifical Council Cor Unum."
The nine countries include, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia and Chad.
Sodano further wrote that, notwithstanding these initiatives, "the situation of these regions continues to be very worrisome. That is why the Holy Father takes this occasion to renew his appeal, encouraging the efforts used to surmount the many problems and the many needs that still persist and which concern available resources, unfortunately insufficient," especially drinkable water.
The Cardinal concluded by stating that Pope John Paul hopes that "this anniversary will be a propitious occasion for a renewed stimulus of solidarity to assure the worthy Foundation the means which will allow it to pursue its human and Christian mission with success."