$1.2 Million Anniversary Gift Will Go to Holy Land

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 12, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has decided to send the Holy Land's beleaguered Catholic community the $1.2 million collected by cardinals as a gift for his 25th papal anniversary.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, sent a letter last September to all the cardinals suggesting the idea of the anniversary gift for the Pope.

The result of the cardinals' collection, announced Tuesday, amounts to 1 million euros, about $1.2 million, Vatican sources said.

Last October, during the Pope's anniversary, Cardinal Ratzinger announced that 750,000 euros had been collected to date.

The Holy Father began the distribution of the funds by allocating 100,000 euros to the Pontifical Mission for Palestine.