May 10, 2011

Cardinal Sarah to visit tsunami hit area

President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Cardinal Robert Sarah is scheduled to visit Japan from 13 to 17 May as a special delegate of Holy Father.  Cardinal Sarah will visit Iwaki in Fukushima on 14 morning and several tsunami hit areas in Sendai in Miyagi on 15 and 16.  He will also join the thanksgiving Mass for the beatification of JPII in Tokyo Cathedral on 14 afternoon and preside over the Sunday Mass on 15 at Sendai Cathedral. (Photo above:  right, Cardinal Sarah in 2006 as a secretary of Propaganda Fide; center, Cardinal Levada of the Doctrine of the Faith; left, Cardinal Ivan Dias of the Propaganda Fide)

Originally from Guinea in West Africa, Cardinal Sarah was appointed the Archbishop of Conakry, the capital of his native country, in 1979 when he was only 34 years old.  In 2001, he was appointed as a secretary of the Propaganda Fide and promoted to be a president of the Cor Unum in October, 2010.  He was made Cardinal in November, 2010.  As a secretary of the Propaganda Fide, Cardinal Sarah is well known among Japanese Bishops and also he is well acquainted with the situation of Catholic Church in Japan.

The Pontifical Council COR UNUM for Human and Christian Development was established by Pope Paul VI in 1971.  According to the web page of the Holy See, Cor Unum's objectives are as follows.

  • To assist the Pope and be his instrument for carrying out special initiatives in the field of humanitarian actions when disasters occur, or in the field of integral human promotion;
  • To foster the catechesis of Charity and encourage the faithful to give a concrete witness to evangelical charity;
  • To encourage and coordinate the initiatives of Catholic Organizations through the exchange of information and by promoting fraternal cooperation in favour of integral human development.

Cor Unum also oversees Caritas Internationalis.  By the way, just a related story to the photo above, Holy Father accepted today resignation of Cardinal Ivan Dias, the prefect of the Propaganda Fide, upon reaching age limit of 75.  Holy Father appointed Archbishop Fernando Filoni as the new prefect of the Propaganda Fide.  Archbishop Filoni has been serving as the substitute of the State Department of the Holy See since 2007.  Being a substitute of the State Department is quite important for entire Catholic Church's decision making process since the post is to work quite close with Holy Father.  But his new post is also quite important for local Churches in mission territory, such as Japan.  For the mission territory, local churches are under the jurisdiction of the Propaganda Fide and bishops' appointments are oversaw by the Propaganda Fide and not by the congregation for bishops.  It is important.

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