Peter's Pence Helps Humanity, Says Pope

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 8, 2007 (ZENIT.org).- In addition to prayer and fasting, Lent is a time to renew our commitment to the poor, Benedict XVI said when receiving the annual Peter's Pence.



The members of St. Peter's Circle presented the Pope with the annual gift of Peter's Pence, an offering gathered each year to support the charitable works of the Holy Father. It is presented after the feast of the Chair of St. Peter on Feb. 22.

St. Peter's Circle was founded in Rome by Father Domenico Jacobini and journalist Paolo Mencacci in April 1869. It arose in response to the anti-clerical climate and social crises of the time.

Today, in addition to Peter's Pence, the group assists homeless mothers of children at a pediatric hospital, distributes warm meals to the needy, so-called pope's soup, and provides hospice services to those suffering from terminal illnesses.

"Even during our times the Church continues to proclaim the Gospel and cooperate in building a more brotherly humanity," Benedict XVI explained. "And it is thanks to Peter's Pence that it can accomplish this mission of evangelization and human promotion."