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Pope Francis greets US Papal Foundation [full text]


(Vatican Radio) “The needs of God’s people throughout the world are great” remarked Pope Francis, addressing the US based Papal Foundation Thursday in the Clementine Hall, “your efforts to advance the Church’s mission are helping to fight the many forms of material and spiritual poverty present in our human family, and to contribute to the growth of fraternity and peace”.


The Foundation gathers lay Catholic men and women from across the United States, who each year gift the Holy Father a 'wish list', in short the funds to carry out or sponsor charitable works that are particularly dear to him. On Thursday the Foundation members - who are known as Stewards of St. Peter - met with the Holy Father and presented him a donation to fund projects throughout the world.


The stewards were led by their chairman, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington D.C., who greeted Pope Francis on their behalf outlining what the Foundation had achieved over the past year:


The Papal Foundation awarded support to over 100 programs and projects in 2012. Grants and scholarships totaled 8,575,500 and reached around the world. From major seminaries in India to retreat centers in Colombia, kitchens, clinics and schools in Tanzania, Burundi and Congo as well as homes for the elderly in Romania and restoring churches for the faithful in Ukraine.


But all of these projects are chosen by the Pope himself, constituting his very own ‘wish list’ that is drawn up each November and presented to the Foundation’s board for approval.


On Thursday Pope Francis told them: “In these years, you have contributed significantly to the growth of local Churches in developing countries by supporting, among other things, the continuing formation of their clergy and religious, the provision of shelter, medical assistance and care to the poor and needy, and the creation of much-needed educational and employment opportunities”.


ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER

To the Members of the Papal Foundation

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to meet the members of The Papal Foundation during your pilgrimage to Rome, and I thank Cardinal Wuerl for his kind words. I very much appreciate your prayers as I begin my ministry as the Bishop of Rome and pastor of the universal Church. In the twenty-five years that have passed since the Foundation was established, you and your associates have helped the Successor of Saint Peter by supporting a number of apostolates and charities especially close to his heart. In these years, you have contributed significantly to the growth of local Churches in developing countries by supporting, among other things, the continuing formation of their clergy and religious, the provision of shelter, medical assistance and care to the poor and needy, and the creation of much-needed educational and employment opportunities.

For all of this, I am deeply grateful. The needs of God’s people throughout the world are great, and your efforts to advance the Church’s mission are helping to fight the many forms of material and spiritual poverty present in our human family, and to contribute to the growth of fraternity and peace. May the fiftieth anniversary of the Encyclical Pacem in Terris, which falls today, serve as an incentive for your commitment to promoting reconciliation and peace at every level. During this Easter season, when the Church invites us to give thanks for God’s mercy and the new life we have received from the risen Christ, I pray that you will experience the joy born of gratitude for the Lord’s many gifts, and seek to serve him in the least of his brothers and sisters.

The work of The Papal Foundation is above all one of spiritual solidarity with the Successor of Peter. I ask you, then, to continue to pray for my ministry, for the needs of the Church, and in a particular way for the conversion of minds and hearts to the beauty, goodness and truth of the Gospel. With great affection I commend you and your families to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the Risen Lord.






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