In case any of you are wondering what is Peter’s Pence, which is collected every Sunday nearest to the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles, which falls on 29 June every year (Therefore this year Peter’s Pence is collected on Sunday, 30 June 2013, 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time), Peter’s Pence is a special collection in which the collection will not go into the local church or parish fund, but gathered from all over the world and sent to Rome, to the Holy See. Thus, the collection made during the offertory this Sunday will go directly to Rome.
What is the purpose of the Peter’s Pence collection? Exactly to support the numerous charitable activities and organisations managed by the Holy See, by our Church, all over the world. There are thousands, tens of thousands of charity under the supervision of the Church, and to be able to continue with the action, funds are definitely necessary to provide a solid backing. That is why, Peter’s Pence is done once every year, on the Sunday nearest to the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.
Why Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul? That is because on that day lie the great celebration of the two great saints and apostles that defined our Church, because they met their martyrdom in Rome. St. Peter, the Prince and leader of all the Apostles, whom the Pope is the successor of today, met his martyrdom in what is now Vatican City, through crucifixion, and St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, and author of the Epistles in the New Testament, met his martyrdom in Rome, through beheading.
Peter’s Pence itself had its origins in the late dark ages and early medieval period, particularly from England, where it got the name Peter’s ‘Pence’. Pence is the unit of money still in use until today in the United Kingdom and the related monetary units. ‘Peter’ simply point to the fact that the collection or ‘pence’ is intended to be sent to Rome, to the Pope, in order to support various Church activities.