Vatican City, 15 June 2013 (VIS) – Members of the administrative council of the "Populorum Progressio" Foundation will gather from 18 to 21 June in Arequipa, Peru, for their annual meeting to deliberate on the financing of development projects in support of indigenous, mestizo, and rural African-American communities in Latin America and the Caribbean. From its establishment in 1992, the "Populorum Progressio" Foundation has been entrusted to the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”.
The administrative council is composed of the following members: Cardinal Robert Sarah, president ex officio of the Foundation; Archbishop Edmundo Luis Abastoflor Montero of La Paz, Bolivia, and president of the administrative council; Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza of Guayaquil, Ecuador, and vice president; Archbishop Oscar Urbina Ortega of Villavicencio, Colombia; Archbishop Murilo Sebastiao Ramos Krieger, S.C.I., of Sao Salvador da Bahia, Brazil; Archbishop Javier Augusto del Rio Alba of Arequipa, Peru; and Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".
This is the council's first meeting under the pontificate of Pope Francis, who has spoken with great clarity of “a poor Church for the poor” and who lives his power in humble service, attentive to the outskirts, the villages, and the least ones who are rich only in the charity that comes from above. These will be the reference and the stimulus for the decisions that will be made. The main beneficiaries of “Populorum Progressio”, indigenous and rural communities in particular, are at risk of being the “human periphery” in a continent that is experiencing a phase of significant economic development, but which is characterized by large social inequalities that especially penalize those segments of the population that remain on the margins of such development.
In this context, it is the hope of all the Council members to organize, for next year, their annual meeting in Rome, to have the opportunity to receive direction and guidance on the Foundation's future directly from Pope Francis.
This year, 222 projects were presented by 18 countries including: Colombia, Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador. The projects are characterized by a broadly participatory approach on the part of the local communities that contribute to all the phases of the projects: from its conception to its concrete realization in the event of a project's approval. These initiatives serve to meet the needs in various areas: production (agriculture and farming, craftsmanship, micro-businesses); community infrastructure (potable water, latrines, community halls); education (training, scholastic equipment, publications); health (prevention campaigns, medical equipment for clinics); and construction (educational and health centres).
The main support of “Populorum Progressio”—alongside individual faithful, dioceses, and various institutes—comes through the Italian Episcopal Conference.