VATICAN CITY, 26 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received members of the "Circolo di San Pietro" who gave him, as they traditionally do every year, the "Peter's Pence" collection which is raised annually in parishes and religious institutes of the diocese of Rome.
In his brief remarks to them, the Pope spoke of the recently-concluded Year for Priests, during which the Church dedicated particular attention to the figure of St. John Mary Vianney, the holy 'Cure of Ars'. He was, said the Holy Father, "a model of evangelical life, not only for priests but also for lay people, especially for those ... who work in the vast field of charity. Indeed, one specific aspect of the life of that humble priest was his detachment from material goods".
Benedict XVI expressed the hope that the example of St. John Mary Vianney may represent "a constant invitation to open our arms to all people in need of a tangible sign of solidarity". He likewise exhorted the members of the "Circolo di San Pietro" to continue "to represent this concrete sign of the Pope's charity towards those in need, in both material and spiritual terms".
Having then expressed his thanks for "Peter's Pence", the Holy Father highlighted how the collection "is an eloquent testimony of evangelical charity because it expresses, on the one hand, the affection felt by this city's inhabitants and pilgrims towards Peter's Successor and, on the other, the Holy See's real solidarity with many situations of suffering and poverty which, unfortunately, continue to exist in Rome and in many other parts of the world".
"Through your commitment to go out and meet the needs of the less fortunate", the Pope concluded, "you spread a message of hope that arises from faith and adherence to the Lord, and you become heralds of His Gospel. May charity and witness continue to be the leading aspects of your apostolate".AC/ VIS 20100628 (330)