USCCB News Release
June 16, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Christ Our Hope Theme Of 2008 Peter's Pence Collection
WASHINGTON—Christ Our Hope is the theme for this year's Peter's Pence Collection, which will be held in most parishes of the United States on the weekend of June 28-29, on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.
The Peter's Pence Collection enables the Holy Father to respond with emergency financial assistance to the needy throughout the world, especially those who suffer as a result of war, oppression, disease, and natural disaster.
The theme chosen for this year's collection echoes that of the Holy Father's apostolic journey to the U.S. last April and reflects the message of his encyclical letter Spe Salvi: An invitation for people to encounter Jesus Christ personally. In the encyclical, Pope Benedict said that faith in Christ brings well-founded hope in eternal salvation, the "great hope" that can sustain people through the trials of this world.
Archbishop John G. Vlazny of Portland, Oregon, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on National Collections noted Catholics generosity.
"We extend our gratitude to the Catholic faithful who stand in solidarity with the needs of Catholics around the world," he said. "Their generous contributions to the Peter's Pence Collection connect them to a centuries-old tradition of providing financial support to the works of the Holy Father. We are also grateful for the leadership of bishops, pastors, and Catholic communicators in this effort."
The worldwide Peter's Pence Collection began as a "pence" (collection of pennies) in ninth-century England, when King Alfred the Great collected monies from English landowners as financial support for the Pope. Pope Pius IX formally instituted the modern Peter's Pence Collection in the 1860s. Special appeals have since been held in many countries on the Sunday closest to June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. The tradition of an annual collection continues today for the charitable works of the Holy Father.
Last year the U.S. dioceses reported sending over $1.6 million to the Holy Father for this collection. This amount is almost a 6% increase from 2006.
A fact sheet on the Peter's Pence Collection and other information can be found at www.usccb.org/ppc.