A Papal Foundation Aims to Help AIDS Sufferers

John Paul II Contributes $134,000 to Fund, Asks Others to Join Him

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Good Samaritan Foundation, recently established by John Paul II, aims to offer financial support to needy patients, especially AIDS sufferers.



The Vatican-headquartered foundation, established Sept. 12, has been entrusted to the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers.

With this initiative, "the Church of Christ wishes to fulfill the mandate received from Christ 'to cure the sick,' and expresses a gesture of solidaristic love in favor of the most abandoned," said Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán during a press conference today.

"The Holy Father John Paul II invites all men of good will, especially those of countries that are more economically advanced, to contribute to the foundation's objectives," the cardinal added.

In this connection, he mentioned the challenge posed by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and referred to data of a U.N. report, saying that "since the disease appeared in the 1980s, more than 22 million people have died and 27.8 million suffer from it."

The cardinal also said that "between 2001 and 2003 the number of children, mostly in Africa, who have been left orphans due to the epidemic has risen from 11.5 million to 15 million."

The Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers also has responded to the Pope's petition to bishops of the episcopal conferences of the Americas, Australia and Europe to join pastors in Africa to respond effectively to the AIDS emergency.

Cardinal Lozano Barragán said: "To establish our fund, the Holy Father has contributed the sum of $134,000, as an example of charity, to begin to provide resources and give an example which we ask all Catholics to follow."

The appeal for funds for the new foundation includes bishops and their dioceses, priests, religious institutes and charitable foundations.

Contributions can be made by bank transfer or draft in dollars or euros and sent to the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), Vatican City 00120.

International checks can be made out to "Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, President of the Good Samaritan Foundation, Palazzo S. Paolo, Vatican City, 00120."

More information is available via goodsamaritan@hlthwork.va.