Every year, members of the U.S.-based Papal Foundation embark on a trip to Rome to meet with the Holy Father and present him with a donation. This morning, Benedict XVI received 150 members of the foundation in an audience and thanked them for their support.
The Pope expressed his gratitude to this institution, headed by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, for the "generous support the Papal Foundation offers through aid projects and scholarships which assist me in carrying out my Apostolic Ministry to the universal Church".
The aid that the foundation provides to the poor led the Pope to think of the story of the disciples at Emmaus and to emphasize that their encounter with the Risen Lord "turned their sorrow into joy, their disappointment into hope". "Their testimony of faith instills in us the firm conviction that Christ lives in our midst, bestowing the gifts that empower us to be messengers of hope in the world today".
"The very source of the Church's service of love, as she strives to alleviate the suffering of the poor and weak, can be found in her unwavering faith that the Lord has definitively conquered sin and death; and that in serving her brothers and sisters, she serves the Lord himself until he comes again in glory," the Pope added.
During the course of the audience, the members of the foundation presented the Holy Father with a check that comes from the interest generated with investments made by the foundation. The foundation members also gave Pope Benedict the first edition of the "Saint John's Bible", the hand-written and illuminated Bible commissioned by St. John's Benedictine Abbey in Minnesota (USA) from the artist Donald Jackson.
The Papal Foundation, which was created in 1990 to provide the Holy See with a stable source of income, has delivered over 41 million dollars to the Pope, which he uses to help those in need around the world.