VATICAN CITY JANUARY 13, 2015(CISA)-The Vatican has pledged to send $3.5 million to Catholic dioceses and agencies in West Africa to help fight the spread of Ebola.
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace announced that the Holy See would be making a “financial contribution” to support Church-sponsored assistance to those affected by the Ebola outbreak, Vatican Radio reported.
The council said in a written statement: “The Holy See encourages other donors, whether private or public, to add to these funds as a sign of solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are suffering gravely in the areas affected by the disease.”
Cardinal Peter Turkson, council president, traveled to Liberia and Sierra Leone in December last year to meet with government officials and Church leaders and to demonstrate the Vatican’s support for those affected by the crisis.
The Vatican’s financial contribution will go “to purchase much-needed protective supplies, to assist with the transport of patients and to pay for the renovation of buildings,” as well as help support families affected by the virus and children who have been orphaned, the council said.
The funding also will be used to help residents in affected areas learn about and follow strategies needed to stop the spread of Ebola, train and support clergy, religious and lay pastoral workers to attend better to people’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs; and help local parishes counteract “the Ebola-related stigma now emerging as a serious problem, particularly for survivors”.
The funding, it said, will be administered by Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organisation for national Catholic charities, but will be available by request to projects run by dioceses and religious organisations.