January 9, 2001
volume 12, no. 9
Jubilee Budget Leaves Surplus Funds as Pope thanks Jubilee Volunteers

    VATICAN, Jan. 8, 01 (CWNews.com) -- On Sunday, January 7, Pope John Paul II offered his thanks and praise to the 70,000 volunteers who helped greet pilgrims in Rome during the Jubilee year.

    During the Angelus audience, the Pope proclaimed 2001 as "the international year of volunteerism." He paid tribute to all people who work as volunteers, especially those who serve the poor. He urged them to "recognize every person as a brother to be loved and served," and said that in this way they could be "builders of the civilization of love."

    Turning his attention to those who had already volunteered for the Jubilee, the Pontiff echoed the sentiments of Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who-- during a Mass celebrated for the volunteers earlier that day in St. Peter's Basilica-- had said they were a "living image" of the Jubilee spirit.

    About 8,000 Jubilee volunteers were in St. Peter's Square for the papal audience, clad in their distinctive bright blue vests. Jubilee organizers reported that a grand total of 69,272 had served as volunteers during some part of the year. Those volunteers included people of all ages and states of life.

    Despite the extraordinary expenses incurred during the Jubilee year, the Vatican has reported a positive economic balance for the celebration. The surplus funds will be used to build a new facility at the Vatican to accommodate handicapped pilgrims.

    As he presented an accounting for the Jubilee expenses at a press conference in Rome on Monday, Bishop Crescenzio Sepe told reporters that "not one lire" of the income from the celebration will remain in the Vatican coffers. The secretary of the committee that coordinated Jubilee planning pointed out that Pope John Paul II had directed the use of surplus funds for a "concrete sign" of charity. The Pope issued that order in his apostolic letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte, ending the Jubilee year.

    In another charitable gesture for the Jubilee year, the four major basilicas of Rome provided hot meals daily for 500 needy people. The sponsor of that program has now ended his support, Bishop Sepe reported. Nevertheless two of the basilicas plan to continue the program, dipping into their regular operating budgets.

    Bishop Sepe reported that the final tabulation of revenues and expenses was not yet complete. But preliminary indications made it clear that the final balance would be positive, he said.

    The plans for the new center for handicapped pilgrims are now under discussion, Bishop Sepe said.

For other news stories, see

January 9, 2001
volume 12, no. 9
News from the Vatican

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