WASHINGTON (January 8, 1998) -- Two projects of the Campaign for Human Development (CHD) have been selected by the Holy See's Pontifical Council Cor Unum for inclusion in "100 PLUS Projects of the Holy Father."
Cor Unum is the Vatican dicastery charged with the catechesis of charity and of the expression of the care of the Catholic Church for the needy, to encourage human fellowship and to make manifest the charity of Christ.
CHD is this nation's largest private funder of organizations that empower the poor and work to eliminate poverty and injustice.
Cor Unum undertook the "100 PLUS Projects of the Holy Father" initiative in connection with the Year of Charity, 1999, designated by Pope John Paul 11 as part of the preparation for the Jubilee of the Year 2000.
Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of Cor Unum, wrote to Catholic relief and development agencies and organizations and to Bishops in economically developing and developed countries asking them to submit projects for consideration to be on the list. According to Cor Unum, the rationale is for the projects "to serve in fostering the two-fold reality of charity through solidarity and assistance--both spiritual and material-- directed toward human needs, development and progress which unites Christians and like minded people of goodwill, as well as serving as an example to highlight those in need as the world embarks on the Third Millennium."
In a letter to Father Robert J. Vitillo, CHD Executive Director, Archbishop Cordes said two CHD projects had been selected for inclusion on the Holy Father's list:
- Promoting self-sufficiency by the development of cooperatives among low income persons by the use of start-up funds and training.
- A Youth Initiative to involve young people in social work at an early age.
Father Vitillo said the project on promoting self-sufficiency is a joint program developed by CHD, the Catholic Health Association, and Catholic Charities USA. It will develop work cooperatives among low income persons who have traditionally depended upon public assistance and/or have suffered from unemployment or underemployment.
The Youth Initiative project is an effort to encourage young people to initiate the work of social ministry at an early age. Through this project, CHD will offer an annual Youth Leadership Award, will coordiate the placement of student interns in its national offices and among its diocesan counterpart offices and CHD-funded anti-poverty, community organizing, and economic development groups throughout the country, and establish university campus chapters of the CHD.
Both projects are scheduled to begin in January, 1998 and be completed by December, 1999, Father Vitillo said.
"We can indeed be grateful for this special recognition which the Holy See has granted to the Campaign for Human Development and to its efforts to prepare for the coming of the next millennium in the spirit of our Holy Father's Apostolic Letter, Tertio Millennio Adviente", he said.
The Campaign for Human Development was founded by the Catholic Bishops of the United States in 1970. CHD raises funds through an annual collection in the Catholic parishes of the country, allocates funds to community-based self-help projects, and educates parishoners about Catholic social teaching and Christian responsibility to the poor. Grants are distributed based on need, not religious affiliation.
CHD provided more than $200 million in grants and loans to more than 3,000 self-help projects in the first quarter-century of its existence. CHD-funded groups have been instrumental in securing passage of federal and state legislation on such issues as child support, family and medical leave, community reinvestment, and housing.