VATICAN CITY, JULY 11, 2006 (Zenit.org).- A foundation created by Pope John Paul II to help the needy in Latin America is meeting today until Thursday to determine how the Church can best serve these peoples.
The administrative council of the papal foundation Populorum Progressio is gathered in Guayaquil, Ecuador, under the guidance of Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes.
John Paul II created this autonomous foundation as a gesture of the Church’s solidarity toward the most abandoned and needy in Latin America, such as the Indian, mestizo and Afro-American populations.
Financial assistance is given to these communities for their integral development.
The priority of education to foster development is the most significant element of the Church’s commitment in these countries.
Since the official start of the foundation’s work on Feb. 13, 1992, until last year, more than 2,000 projects were funded, amounting to almost $20 million.
The Populorum Progressio Foundation has its headquarters in the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. The council’s president is Archbishop Cordes, who is also president of the foundation and its legal representative.
At last year’s meeting, held in Lima, Peru, the foundation’s administrative council decided to finance 212 projects, which amounted to more than $2 million.
Following the Lima meeting, 60% of the projects financed were centered on formation and education, 20% on agriculture and the rest on the development of micro-enterprises.
The foundation’s administrative council is made up of the bishops of Latin America.
Every project submitted is accompanied by a letter from the local bishop who guarantees the reality of the need for which funds are requested, the completion of the project in the time allotted, his approval and the use of diocesan services.