The president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes is in the Holy Land until December 19 to witness to Pope Benedict XVI’s spiritual closeness to the local Christian communities and to deliver a large financial donation.
Likewise, after the Pope’s recent visit to Bavaria, the faithful of the dioceses of Munich, Ratisbona and Passau have organized a campaign to raise funds for Christians in the Holy Land.
Archbishop Cordes will deliver a donation of $1.3 million in the name of the Pope to Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, director of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.
According to a press release from the Vatican, "The sum will be entirely used in the construction of a pastoral center in Nazareth (...) near the Basilica of the Annunciation, with ample spaces for youth and families. It will be a true center of life and activity for Christians and a point of reference for the pilgrims."
"The Christians of the Holy Land will thus feel the nearness and the support of the entire people of God in maintaining their presence in Jesus' land and in building a community of love regardless of difficulties and adversities."
In Jerusalem, Archbishop Cordes will meet with the Benedictine fathers of the Dormition Abbey, with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, and with the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Franco. In Bethlehem he will visit the seminary of Bet Jala and on Saturday 16 December the official presentation of the Pope's gift will be made to the Custody of the Holy Land. Afterward, the president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" will visit the German Benedictine fathers of the monastery of Tabga.
"On 18 December, the prelate will meet with the Greek-Melkite archbishop Elias Chacour, to whom he will give 50,000 dollars for the construction of a school in the village of Mughar, money which was collected at the Vatican during the showing of the film 'Nativity'. Christian, Druze, and Muslims, boys and girls will study in the school, which will be erected where Jesus' parents lived."