Priests Helping Lepers, Homeless to Be Awarded


St Lazarus, Pray for Us

St. Matthew Foundation Announces Prize Recipients

From Zenit

Priests who are sheltering the homeless in Africa and aiding lepers in the Amazon will be recognized for their service to the Church and humanity.

The St. Matthew Foundation, instituted in memory of Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyen Văn Thuận, named today this year's winners for outstanding application of solidarity and social doctrine.

The awards ceremony will be Dec. 10, in the context of an event commemorating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The Cardinal Văn Thuận Prize 2008 will be given to Cornelio Sommaruga, former president of the Red Cross International Committee.

Sommaruga was born in Rome in 1932. He has a doctorate in law and served as president of the International Red Cross from 1987 to 1999.

Two priests and two institutions received the Cardinal Văn Thuận "Solidarity and Development" Prize 2008.

Father Pedro Opeka is one of the prize-winners. He founded the Akamasoa project, which seeks to give shelter to the homeless in Madagascar, Africa.

Father José Raúl Matte will be recognized for his assistance to lepers in the Amazon in Brazil.

The Gulunap project in north Uganda, a faculty of medicine in collaboration with the Federico II University of Naples, is another award-winner.

Finally, the Gruppo Ercolini project will be recognized. It is an initiative that aims to support the social and cultural integration of Gypsy youth in Rome.

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