The dicastery, which oversees the charitable works of the Holy See, announced Saturday that it sent "a personal concrete sign to aid the relief efforts of the small but fervent Catholic presence in Gaza."

"In the face of the unrelenting conflict in the Gaza strip, which has provoked a major humanitarian crisis, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has affirmed several times His closeness to our brothers and sisters, who have already suffered so much," the council explained.

The council said the help was directed to Father Manuel Musallam, Pastor of Holy Family Church, the Missionaries of Charity and other religious congregations, "who serve those especially vulnerable in the homeland of Jesus, now being tragically scourged by death, human pain, material damage, and tears that cry out for peace."