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Polish priest to use TV cash-filled suitcase for new church

A Roman Catholic priest who won 220 000 zloties (US$70 000) in a Polish television game show has said he plans to use the money for a new church in his parish that has been under construction for the past three years.

"I watched the programme by accident, although there are no accidents in life, and I thought – why not give it a try," said the Rev. Tomasz Janicki, from Poland’s central Radom diocese. "The bishop consented to my taking part and I planned from the very beginning to donate any winnings to the church."

The 45-year-old priest was speaking after starring in "Are you playing or not?", a weekly quiz on Poland’s independent Polsat channel featuring cash-filled suitcases. He said he had opted out of the quiz at the right moment, since the final suitcase contained only a quarter of the sum he won.

"I calculated the possibilities and it turned out I’d done the right thing", Janicki told Poland’s Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper. "Some people are saying it was a bit of luck, but I know it was God’s blessing – the Lord God had a hand in this success."

After appearing on the show in plain clothes and introducing himself as a religion teacher, he later uncovered his clerical collar and admitted being a priest. He said he planned to use the money "to build a house as high as the sky, in which a thousand people will feel at home".

(c) Ecumenical News International