Peter's Pence Helps the Pope to Give More

Traditional Collection to Be Taken Up This Sunday

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 27, 2003 ( This Sunday is the day of Peter’s Pence.

On the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Catholics and people of good will worldwide will offer the Pope financial assistance to help him carry out works for the Church and the neediest.

«You are aware of the growing needs of the apostolate, the requirements of the ecclesial communities, especially in mission countries, and the requests for aid that come from peoples, individuals and families in precarious conditions,» John Paul II reminded the members of St. Peter’s Circle last February. «Many expect the Apostolic See to give them the support they often fail to find elsewhere.»

«In this perspective, the Peter’s Pence Collection is a true and proper participation in the work of evangelization, especially if one considers the meaning and importance of concretely sharing in the concerns of the universal Church,» John Paul II explained.

The practice of providing material support to those charged with preaching the Gospel, thus enabling them to devote themselves completely to their apostolic mission and to care for those in greatest need, is as old as Christianity itself, as seen in Acts 4, for instance.

By the end of the eighth century, the Anglo-Saxons felt so closely linked to the Bishop of Rome that they decided to send a regular annual contribution to him. Thus, the «Denarius Sancti Petri» (Alms of St. Peter) originated and spread throughout Europe.

The custom underwent many changes over the centuries, until Pope Pius IX gave it his approval in the 1871 encyclical «Saepe Venerabilis.»

At present, the collection is taken up throughout the Catholic world either on June 29, the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, or on the Sunday closest to this solemnity.

Alms may be sent at any time by mail to His Holiness John Paul II at: 00120 Vatican City.

Contributions may also be sent through credit cards (American Express, VISA, Diners, MasterCard), communicating by fax: (+39) 06.6988.3954. Information must include donor’s full name, credit card number, date of expiry, and the amount sent.

For further information, contact:

Peter’s Pence Office
Telephone: (+39) 06.6988.4851
Fax: (+39) 06.6988.3954

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