Peter's Pence Seen as Aid to Solidarity

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 22, 2007 ( Supporting the Pope's Charity Day is a way to foster ecclesial solidarity, according to the director of worldwide collection, known as Peter's Pence.

Monsignor Tullio Poli told ZENIT that participation in the collection "shows the affection of the faithful for the Holy Father," and added that it is "an act of ecclesial solidarity in which Catholics participate in good works."

The collection will be taken up on June 29 -- the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul -- or a date close to it, chosen by local bishops.

The monsignor said that in 2006 Peter's Pence aided "victims of war and natural disasters, displaced persons and migrants, as well as to nascent dioceses, Catholic educational centers, scholarships, orphans of genocide, war, or of AIDS in Africa, hospitality and assistance for disabled pilgrims, and health care structures in the Balkans and Caucasus."

He added: "Peter's Pence enables the Pope, the visible sign of the Church's unity, to respond to various needs with quick and effective action."

In 2005, donations to Peter's Pence totaled $59.4 million -- a 14.95% increase from the previous year.