Benedict XVI Thankful for Peter's Pence Collection

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 22, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI received today in audience members of the Circle of St. Peter who presented to him the Peter's Pence donations collected every year in the parishes and institutes of Rome's diocese.

Addressing the members of the society on the day that the Church celebrates the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the Pope emphasized that their service "has always distinguished you for your unconditional faithfulness to the Church and its universal pastor, the Roman Pontiff."

"Yours," he continued, "is a much appreciated apostolate that offers constant witness to the love that you hold for the Church and in particular for the Holy See."

The Holy Father recalled their service in the Vatican basilica during the celebrations that are presided over by the Pope, the formation they offer, and their activities of assistance and charity "that you generously maintain."

Benedict XVI expressed gratitude for the presentation of the Peter's Pence, which "represents concrete assistance offered to the Pope so that he might respond to the many petitions that come from around the world, especially from the poorest countries.

The Pontiff added, "Thank you for this service that you carry out with such generosity and a spirit of sacrifice."