World Food Program Director Thanks Pope

Calls His Support in Favor of World's Hungry "Invaluable"

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI met with the executive director of the U.N. World Food Program, who thanked him and expressed her wishes that collaboration with the Church can continue and be strengthened.



Josette Sheeran said of today's meeting: "It is a great honor to express in person my gratitude to His Holiness for his invaluable support in favor of the world's hungry.

"I hope that the already excellent collaborative work with the Catholic Church which, like WFP, is an institution with truly global reach, can be strengthened further."

A number of Catholic organizations work with the WFP. The list includes Caritas Internationalis, which distributed 85,000 tons of food in 2006.

Sheeran said: "In crisis and conflict areas around the world -- as in Darfur, Somalia, Chad, the Occupied Palestinian territories -- WFP staff often work in dramatic situations where their own safety may be at risk, to help those who are most vulnerable.

"The moral authority of the Holy Father and his appeals for peace, justice and security are highly encouraging for us. We know we can always count on the partnership and precious help of Catholics and Catholic organizations."

During the audience, Sheeran invited the Pope to visit WFP's headquarters in Rome. Afterward, she met with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states.