Ladies and gentlemen, dear guests of the benefit event of the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe in the Frankfurt opera.
As patron I am very pleased with this fifth benefit concert of the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe, which has found a worthy setting in the Frankfurt opera. Today, at the start of a new year, a season has also been chosen in which many people are susceptible for things which tend to get lost in our strenuous daily lives. This is particularly the case with the disease leprosy, which still spreads fear in certain parts of the world.
The St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe has set itself the task of making people aware of this illness. The support which the fund gives those afflicted comes in many forms and takes place in a manageable area, so that something can be done for the ill. The focus of the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe’s efforts is the African continent, and for the past few years South Sudan. Various projects there have been financially supported for many years. The funds have been used for medical purposes, the construction of shelters and wells and also clothing and the education of the children of the ill.
The close personal contacts to the priests, monks, nuns, and other volunteers working in South Sudan make it possible to bring projects which have been chosen together to final completion. The proceeds of this evening will be used in the leper village near Tonji in South Sudan, a place which is regularly visited by the responsible representatives of the fund.
With some needs and catastrophes people can only offer limited help. In this case we have a rare opportunity to provide real assistance. It is right that we are gathered here today. In the interests of the suffering people and the many helpers who look hopefully to us, heartfelt thanks!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The St. Lazarus-Fonds does not just help the patients in the St. Lazarus Village in Korea, but also those ill with leprosy in many other countries.
With this benefit event great assistance will be provided to those suffering people - the distress of many of those ill can be eased.
The St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe has engaged itself for lepers in a special way with the event „For your Sake”. This act of brotherly love is a call to help support the ill, a call to stand together with the lepers in their suffering and lack of perspective.
I am pleased that the current projects in Africa are so well supported. The people there need this help. They are not just provided with water and medicine, this support also gives them hope in a situation otherwise without perspective.
Jesus taught us and showed by His own example the love for the poor and the lepers, for those ill and suffering. This selfless love can change the world and create peace again between peoples.
I wish to thank you all for your support and for visiting the concert. God bless you.
Bishop Matthias Iong-Hoon Ri
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Leprosy is an disease which is almost completely forgotten in our part of the world, but in many developing countries it remains widespread. It is very treatable, when it is detected early. It makes it worse that many of those infected with leprosy suffer from the effects of the disease, such as maimed limbs and blindness.
Many of those afflicted have no opportunity to receive appropriate medical treatment and care, either because they don’t have the money, or because there is no doctor in the area.
The St. Lazarus-Fonds is one of those players who look after such people – and I am pleased that with your visit to this benefit event you will contribute to the work of the fund on behalf of lepers. The uncounted volunteers and unsalaried helpers who work here and in the field on behalf of the people in developing countries are an important and indispensable addition to our government development programs.
The project “For your Sake” already has in its name an assignment for each of us: to ask ourselves what we can do for others. This is exactly what we want to support in the ministry – that people take a strong interest and become engaged in supporting those who need their help. The work of the St. Lazarus-Fonds is a good example.
Our society would not be possible without volunteer work.
This starts with clubs and initiatives in the districts and cities in which we live, and leads us beyond the borders of Hessen, Germany, and Europe to people all over the world who need our help. Help can be provided in many very different ways, but any kind of assistance plays an important part in forming our daily life and the world around us.
I therefore express my heartiest thanks to all those who do volunteer work on behalf of others.
The St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe supports people with leprosy, an illness which hardly anyone in Europe knows any more, but still causes great suffering in other parts of the world.
The fifth benefit concert with the motto „For your Sake“ is not just supposed to draw attention to the need for assistance and the important work of the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe. The proceeds are to directly assist those in need of help where they live. The Alte Opera in Frankfurt offers a wonderful setting for this event. I am optimistic that donations will be successfully gathered in order to offer as many people with leprosy as possible a new perspective. I wish St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe strength and success for this task.
Volker Bouffier, Premier of Hessen
Dear guests of the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe,
Support for persons in need is both a Christian and a social duty at the same time. With this fifth benefit event organised by the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe we can all make an active contribution to helping people ill with leprosy. Social disadvantages go together with this illness. The intention of the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe, to also assist those afflicted with their basic needs and vocational and school education, is therefore very valuable.
Take the opportunity to support this unique project and thereby give hope and a perspective to those with this disease. I thank all the energetic helpers who do not just make the benefit event possible, but who work daily for the success of the project “For your Sake”.
The musical program for this evening, Mozart’s opera „The Marriage of Figaro“, promises entertainment at a high level. I hope you enjoy yourselves and thank you heartily for your support for persons in need.
Your Ulrich Krebs, District Administrator of the Hochtaunus Region
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Doctors in this country only know the infectious disease leprosy from textbooks, while other people perhaps have only heard of it from the Bible.
In the 3rd book of Moses 13, 45-46, we find the instructions:
“and the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry unclean, unclean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean; he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.”
Leprosy has been a scourge of humanity for thousands of years. It is an insidious disease, which proceeds gradually over a period of years and decades. Leprosy leads, for everyone to see, to destruction of the hands and feet in particular and to helplessness. In addition to the bodily handicaps these persons suffer a social death. Even today, out of a fear of infection they are expelled from their families, and must, as in the time of the old testament, live outside of society without a livelihood.
This disease has been eradicated out of Europe for some time, and is no longer present in the social awareness of the western world. According to the World Health Organisation WHO, however, there are more than 250,000 new cases world-wide annually. It is a typical illness of the poor and there is a close connection with slums, homelessness, poor nutrition, miserable hygienic standards, and very poor awareness among those affected. South Sudan in particular with its missing infrastructure after the confusion of the independence war is one of the hardest hit leprosy areas in the world.
Fortunately there are charities such as the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe, which looks after these people in a holistic manner. In addition to covering the basic needs and medical treatment there are orthopaedic rehabilitation measures and a psychosocial care, which permits the ill and their children to take part in social life again.
The St. Lazarus-Fonds deserves huge thanks and the recognition, that it has cared for the poorest of the poor for more than ten years.
I thank you all, because you help with your donations and visits to benefit activities to make this work possible. I wish you an unforgettable evening in our Frankfurt opera and wish the St. Lazarus-Fonds all the best for its important work in the future.
Your Peter Feldmann, Lord Mayor of the city Frankfurt am Main.
Ladies and gentlemen,
the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe is a exemplary organisation. It isn’t just the work against leprosy ,one of the largest health scourges of humanity, but also the fact that the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe as part of an international religious organisation has its roots in Korea and therefore proves that people with God’s help can achieve good on an international level.
It fills me with pride that many humanitarian organisations have chosen Königstein for their headquarters. This means that assistance goes out from our prosperous city through the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe into the poorest regions of the world. Leprosy in particular is an illness which is closely associated with poverty. In European countries leprosy has been almost completely eradicated through rising prosperity and improved hygienic conditions. Now it is time to fight this disease, which is now curable, in its major habitats in Asia, Africa, and South America. The St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe has chosen Africa as the focus of its activities.
For this blessed work in the sense of Christian neighbourly love I thank the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe from my heart, and I wish the fund continued success.
Your Leonhard Helm, Mayor of the city Königstein im Taunus
Ladies and Gentlemen,
in the name of this house, I wish to heartily welcome you to the Frankfurt opera. We feel honoured that such an engaged organisation as the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe is holding its fifth benefit event with us.
In an age in which thoughts about our own advantage and egoism are often the driving force behind our actions, organisations such as the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe cannot be valued highly enough. Initiatives in which care for the needs of others comes from a humanitarian-philanthropic impulse are guiding stars for our society, a model for human relationships. The Christian principle of neighbourly love is manifested in impressive fashion in such unselfish initiatives.
Since the founding of the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe in 2001 the fund has had the goal of supporting lepers around the world. Occurrences of the illness have been cut back to a significant extent, but there are still many people who suffer from this disease or are threatened by it in some countries in Asia and Africa. With focused assistance the St. Lazarus-Fonds Europe has succeeded in improving the situation of those with leprosy. The proceeds from tonight’s event will go to the village Tonji in South Sudan.
I hope that you are comfortable in our house and enjoy an inspiring performance of Mozart’s „The Marriage of Figaro“. For the coming year and your social engagement I continue to wish you strength and all the best.
Bernd Loebe, Business Manager /Intendant Frankfurt Opera