The Populorum Progressio Foundation for Latin America will observe its 25th anniversary on December 12, 2017, with a conference in Rome at the Hotel “Il Cantico” entitled “25 years of service for integral human development, looking to the future”.
Entrusted, since its establishment at the behest of Saint John Paul II on February 13, 1992, to the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Foundation is now part of the pastoral mission of the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
During its 25 years, the Foundation has implemented more than 4,300 projects, to which a total of over 41 million dollars of funds have been allocated. The projects involve local communities and are targeted at various sectors, including agriculture, livestock, crafts and micro-enterprises, drinking water infrastructure, training and educational facilities, health and construction. Among the main supporters of the Populorum Progressio Foundation, in addition to individual participation, the Italian Episcopal Conference is particularly important.
Benedict XVI praised the work of the organization in a June 14, 2014, speech to its board, calling the “foundation’s exemplary work, which is a model for any aid organization.”
John Paul II “was thinking of peoples whose ancestral customs are threatened by postmodern culture, and who risk seeing the destruction of their traditions which are so ready to accept the truth of the Gospel,” Benedict recalled. And he added: “This foundation is the fruit of John Paul II’s great sensitivity toward the men and women of our society who suffer the most.”
In the inaugural session of the 2017 conference, after introductory greetings from Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery and president of the Foundation, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, will introduce some elements of the Synod dedicated to the Amazon and to indigenous peoples, scheduled for 2019. Some reflections from the Latin American Bishops present will also be heard. Professor Guzmán Carriquiry, who will present features of Latin American reality today, will also speak, among others.
The annual meeting of the Foundation’s Board of Directors will take place on 13 December, during which members will debate the funding of projects in favor of indigenous, mestizo, African-American and peasant communities of Latin America and the Caribbean for the year 2018. The meeting will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the best ways to implement the Foundation’s mandate. The following day an Audience with the Holy Father is scheduled to take place.
The members of the board are: H.E. Msgr. Edmundo Luis Flavio Abastoflor Montero, archbishop of La Paz, Bolivia, chairman of the Board of Directors; H.E. Msgr. Antonio Arregui Yarza, archbishop emeritus of Guayaquil, Ecuador, vice-president; His Eminence Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, archbishop emeritus of Santo Domingo; H.E. Msgr. Óscar Urbina Ortega, archbishop of Villavicencio, Colombia; H.E. Msgr. Murilo Sebastião Ramos Krieger, archbishop of São Salvador de Bahia, Brazil; H.E. Msgr. Javier Augusto Del Río Alba, archbishop of Arequipa, Peru; H.E. Msgr. José Luis Azuaje, bishop of Barinas, Venezuela; H.E. Msgr. Segundo Tejado Muñoz, undersecretary of the Department for Promoting Integral Human Development.