Nanjing (Agenzia Fides) - Like every year, members of the Nanjing Ark Charity Foundation, the charitable foundation of the Catholic community in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province - one of the many Catholic charities scattered throughout mainland China - provided aid, gifts and good wishes for the Chinese New Year to cured lepers, guests of the Nanjing Public Health Medical Center.
The 69th World Leprosy Day and the 30th Chinese Leprosy Day will be held on Jan. 30, the former under the theme "Forgotten diseases still exist. Help us to erase them forever", while the theme of the Chinese Day is "Caring for lepers, building a better life together". With this visit, the volunteers maintained the Catholic tradition of caring for lepers and people in need in the Nanjing community, which now dates back to the year 2000. However, this is a year-round commitment and has never been limited to Leper Day. Indeed, the volunteers of the foundation periodically visit lepers and healers, offering them not only the material goods they need, but also spiritual and moral comfort, listening to them, breaking their loneliness, sharing their worries.
In 2015, during the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Ark-Nanjing Special Education Center in the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Nanjing dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, the Nanjing Ark Charitable Foundation was officially born and has been operating for years with the approval of Nanjing Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau.
The new foundation has faithfully followed the mission of helping the disadvantaged in society: the elderly and orphans, the poor, the physically and mentally disabled, the victims of natural disasters, poor children who are offered the opportunity to study, and above all the girls and children of immigrant working parents, who are the most disadvantaged. They also manage the canteen, the laundry, the showers, vocational training to give them a chance to reintegrate into society ...
Throughout the history of assistance to lepers in China, the Chinese Catholic Church has always been at the forefront, as documented by Agenzia Fides, which illustrated, among other things, the commitment of the nuns who manage the center for lepers in Yunnan. Sister Xue Ling, of the Diocesan Congregation of the Holy Family in Lanzhou, Gansu Province, died in a flood on June 13, 2008 while helping lepers. For years, her Congregation has been assisting leprosy patients in the district of Huiyang, in the province of Guangdong (see Fides, 16/6/2008). Since 2009, the Chinese sisters led by Jinde Charity (China's largest Catholic charity organization) have started participating in the Beijing Marathon to raise funds for Catholic Church projects for the elderly, orphans, for the prevention of AIDS and also for lepers (see Fides, 24/10/2013). (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 14/1/2022)