Peter's Pence Collected $52.8 Million in 2002

Destined to Aid Third World and Needy Populations

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 9, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Peter’s Pence collection last year took in $52.8 million, which John Paul II allocated to charitable works in the Third World, and to aid populations hurt by wars or natural calamities.

The report on the collection of funds was presented Tuesday at the meeting of the Holy See’s Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Financial Problems.

According to a Vatican statement issued today, the exact amount collected last year was $52,836,693.50.

The note explained that the amount was the result of the collection taken up in all dioceses on the occasion of the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul (June 29), as well as of donations made by religious congregations and institutes, and foundations, and by the lay faithful.

The statement of the Council of Cardinals noted that one of the projects financed by Peter’s Pence is Don Orione’s Institute in Rome’s Monte Mario, which will house disabled pilgrims free of charge. The Pope wished to establish a fund to guarantee this service. The building, tailored to the needs of the handicapped, accommodates 155 people.

In 2002, donations to Peter’s Pence increased by 1.8% compared to the previous year, the statement revealed.

“The Cardinals of the Council expressed profound gratitude to all those who, with their contribution — often the fruit of costly denials and savings, have wished to respond to the Holy Father’s cry for help for those who are in a situation of poverty and need,” the statement concluded.

Present at the meeting were Cardinals Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, Camillo Ruini of Rome, Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal, Ricardo Maria Carles Gordó of Barcelona, Ivan Dias of Bombay, Edward Egan of New York, and Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem.

During the meeting, it was reported that the Holy See’s financial statements for the year 2002 registered a deficit of 13.5 million euros ($15.2 million). For its part, Vatican City (the administration of the small state with its institutions) registered a deficit of 16 million euros ($18.1 million). A fuller report will be presented to the press on Thursday.

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