.- This morning the Pope received members of the Rome-based charity organization, the Circle of St. Peter, for their traditional annual audience during which they present him with Peter's Pence, the proceeds of collections taken up in Roman churches over the last year.
In his address, Benedict XVI recalled that the tradition of collecting "Peter's Pence" was already in use "in the first Christian communities," and derives from "the awareness that each member of the faithful is called to support the work of evangelization, also in material terms, and at the same time to help the poor and needy."
"Peter's Pence is collected annually in all dioceses, parishes and religious communities," said the Holy Father, "and is then brought to the heart of the Church to be redistributed according to necessity, and to the requests that reach the Pope from all over the earth."
"May the Lord repay you and render your ecclesial service fruitful," Pope Benedict told his audience, "and may He help you to make all the initiatives of your Circle a success." In this context, the Pope recalled how for more than six years they have been "supporting the sick and their families" at the Sacred Heart Hospice. "A silent but eloquent witness of love for human life, which deserves attention and respect until its final breath."
After thanking them for their visit, the Pope encouraged the members of the Circle of St. Peter to continue their "charitable activities and their service of attending upon and welcoming the faithful in the Vatican Basilica and during the ceremonies presided by the Pope."