Pope Grateful for Peter's Pence Collection

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 24, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI expressed gratitude for the generosity of the faithful for supporting the Pope's Charity Day.

The Pontiff said this today after praying the Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square. Today, many dioceses worldwide were to take up the collection known as Peter's Pence.

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

The funds collected are allocated directly to the Pope's charitable works.

The Holy Father said: "I am deeply grateful for the prayer and support by which you participate in the evangelization and charitable work of the Successor of Peter throughout the world."

In 2005, donations to Peter's Pence totaled $59.4 million -- a 14.9% increase from the previous year.