Peter’s Pence collection supports victims of natural disaster, war
June 18, 2019
The Peter’s Pence Collection, which will take place at weekend Masses throughout the Archdiocese of Omaha June 29-30, is an opportunity for Catholics around the world to stand in solidarity with those who suffer and are marginalized.
The purpose of the collection, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website, is to “provide the Holy Father with the financial means to respond to those who are suffering as a result of war, oppression, natural disaster and disease.”
For example, when a strong tropical cyclone devastated southeast Africa in March 2019 and caused terrible flooding in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, Pope Francis disbursed 150,000 euros to support the thousands of wounded and hundreds of thousands uprooted from their homes.
Peter’s Pence gets its name from a ninth century English custom in which King Alfred the Great collected money, a “pence,” from landowners to financially support the pope.
In his apostolic exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate” (“Rejoice and Be Glad”), Pope Francis calls us to see in each person “a human being with a dignity identical to my own, a creature infinitely loved by the Father, an image of God, a brother or sister redeemed by Jesus Christ.” He encouraged Christians to view the poor and homeless not as problems for someone else to solve, but as people worthy of responding to with faith and charity (no. 98).
In April 2019, Pope Francis donated $500,000 from the Peter’s Pence collection to assist migrants traveling through Mexico to reach the United States. Many were being detained south of the border after attempting to apply for asylum, and funds were used to provide them with housing, food and basic necessities.