Vatican sees slight increase in donations to pope’s charity fund

A man entered the Italian Hospital in Damascus, Syria, Sept. 29, 2018. The “Open Hospitals” project, which was started by Cardinal Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio in Syria, seeks to ensure free access to medical care for Syrians most in need. (CNS photo/Aldo Gianfrate, AVSI Foundation)

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Donations to the annual Peter’s Pence collection, which supports the work of the Roman Curia and funds the charitable activity of the pope, went up in 2023, with increased donations from dioceses, foundations, private donors and religious orders, the Vatican said.

Peter’s Pence allocated 13 million euros ($14 million) to support 236 projects in 76 countries and it covered about 24% of the expenses of the Holy See, that is, approximately 90 million euros ($97 million), said a report by the Peter’s Pence office, detailing its activity for 2023.

The Vatican released the office’s annual disclosure report June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, when the 2024 collection began in parishes and dioceses around the world.

“Peter’s Pence receives offerings made to the Holy Father. These donations are intended to meet the needs of the universal church and to support the numerous initiatives undertaken by the latter in favor of the most in need,” said the office, which is part of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy.

Dioceses, foundations, private donors and religious orders — in that order — gave a total of 48.4 million euros ($52 million) to Peter’s Pence in 2023, the report said. In comparison, the amount collected and donated in 2022 was 43.5 million euros ($46.7 million).

As in previous years, the report said, dioceses and individuals in the United States led the giving with 13.6 million euros ($14.6 million), an increase from 11 million euros in 2022. Donors in the United States made up 28% of all the donations coming from dioceses and individuals, followed by Italy (6.4%) and Brazil (3.9%).

Peter’s Pence reported an additional 3.6 million euros came from “financial income generated by the remuneration of assets and 51 million euros from the Peter’s Pence Fund patrimony” for 2023.

In 2022 Peter’s Pence benefited from 63.5 million euros from “financial and other” income, the 2022 report had said, explaining that “during 2022 a significant capital gain was achieved, thanks to the sale of real estate assets assigned to Peter’s Pence Fund.”

Overall, the total contributions granted from the fund for 2023 amounted to 103 million euros ($111 million), which was slightly down from last year’s total of 107 million euros ($115 million).

The fund spent about 90 million euros ($97 million) to support the work of the offices of the Holy See and the apostolic nunciatures around the world, the report said. Total expenses incurred by the 68 dicasteries, entities and bodies of the Holy See amounted to 370.4 million euros (398 million), which means the Peter’s Pence Fund covered about 24% of the total expenses.

The fund provided 13 million euros ($14 million) in direct assistance “to those who are most in need” in 2023, it said. “This includes people and families, migrants and refugees, as well as dioceses, parishes and religious institutes that are experiencing difficulties. It also encompasses entire populations that have been affected by natural calamities, wars or that are in need of humanitarian assistance.”

Through the dicasteries of the Holy See, Pope Francis also made a donation of approximately 32 million euros, of which 8 million euros was financed by Peter’s Pence, for charitable work, the report said. “This, combined with the 13 million euros earmarked for 236 supported projects, brings the total to 45 million euros” ($48 million) of direct assistance, it said.

Areas receiving the largest donations included Ukraine where about 800,000 euros was donated “to sponsor a range of pastoral and social initiatives for those affected by the ongoing conflict” and Syria where 654,000 euros went to support the “Open Hospitals” project, which seeks to ensure free access to medical care for Syrians most in need.

Among the 236 projects in 76 countries receiving assistance were: the construction or repair of a number of churches and pastoral centers in the global South; support for expectant mothers in the Archdiocese of Mexico; support for pastoral programs to address the trauma of war in the Archdiocese of Kyiv-Halych; and scholarships for priests, seminarians and religious from Africa, Latin America and Asia to pursue their studies at pontifical universities in Rome and Europe.

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