VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II gave more than $1.2 million to emergency relief efforts in 1999, including a gift of $30,000 to help a group of handicapped in mainland China after their residence burned.
The Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Vatican's charity promoting and coordinating office, said the Pope also gave $555,000 for “human and Christian promotion” projects in 1999.
The annual report from Cor Unum on papal charitable giving was released at the Vatican March 8, the same day the Vatican announced the Holy Father was sending the council's president, Archbishop Paul Cordes, to Mozambique.
During his March 9-12 trip to the cyclone- and flood-stricken African country, Archbishop Cordes was scheduled to meet with officials of Mozambique's Catholic charities and representatives of the foreign relief agencies working with them.
In addition, the Vatican said, the archbishop will give Mozambique Caritas $140,000 for relief aid, a gift from the Pope and from the Vatican's Holy Year committee.
The Vatican said Catholic agencies working through the international Caritas network have already collected $1.65 million for Mozambique, an amount that “is only a start” toward what will be needed.
In the Cor Unum report on papal donations to emergency relief efforts in 1999, the Vatican listed 32 donations ranging from $10,000 to $197,600 to help the victims of war, flooding, earthquakes, drought and volcanic eruptions.
The money used for the papal donations comes from private gifts to Pope John Paul, from Lenten collections in several countries and from religious orders.
The Cor Unum report also said the Holy Year initiative, “100 Projects of the Holy Father,” supported by dioceses around the world, had raised about $20 million for what are now more than 200 “spiritual and corporal works of mercy,” including hospitals and schools.
The smaller Panis Caritatis project, which involves selling bread and giving a portion of the proceeds to Cor Unum, raised about $350,000 in 1999 and was distributed to food-related projects in Congo, Rwanda and Sudan.
ZENIT, the Rome-based news service, reported that the papal foundation Populorum Progressio financed 215 micro-projects for Indian and African American poor rural communities in Latin America, amounting to a total of $1,705,900. The other papal institution created for such purposes, the “John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel,” which is concerned with droughts and blighting of the 9 countries of that region, allocated $5,500,000 to the area.
These figures do not include the direct aid the Pope gave to Eastern churches and the missions. The previous year this amounted to $189,618,000. (From combined wire services)