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Pope donates funds to aid people affected by violence in Syria
Pictured: A Syrian refugee girl looks out from a tent at a refugee camp in the Turkish border town of Boynuegin March 24. Pope Benedict XVI has decided the collection taken up at his Holy Thursday evening Mass will be used to offer humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees. (CNS photo/Osman Orsal, Reuters)
The Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Vatican's charity promotion and coordinating office, announced March 31 that the pope made the donation to fund "the charitable work of the local church in Syria supporting the population" that has been hit by the ongoing violence in the country.
The council's secretary, Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, was to personally deliver the aid March 31 and meet with Melkite Patriarch Gregoire III Laham of Damascus, Syria, as well as other local church leaders.
In predominantly Muslim Syria, the Catholic Church helps all people in need through its charitable organizations but is particularly active in the area of Homs and Aleppo, the council said in a press release.
The pope also earmarked the collection to be taken up at his Holy Thursday evening Mass April 5 for use for humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees.
Syria's government has been fighting a yearlong uprising inspired by pro-democracy movements in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The United Nations says thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, and thousands more have been detained and displaced.
— Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service
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