Nearly 80 members and guests of the U.S.-based Papal Foundation will travel to Rome to present Pope Benedict XVI with a major gift to fund his charitable programs worldwide. The presentation will be made during a private audience with the Holy Father on April 21.

The Papal Foundation was founded in 1988 to provide sustainable financial support for the Holy Father and his charitable works. Between 1990 and 2011, the Papal Foundation donated more than $70 million to support charitable works in some of the world’s poorest nations, scholarships for clergy, religious and lay Catholics from developing countries to study theology in Rome, and support for Church communications and evangelization, including the creation of the Vatican news portal,

“The annual audience with the Holy Father is a great blessing,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl, chairman of the Papal Foundation and Archbishop of Washington. “It provides the Stewards of the Papal Foundation with the opportunity to thank the successor of Peter for his pastoral care and concern for people worldwide, and to express their own solidarity with him in meeting the needs of the Church.”

Cardinal Wuerl, Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia, and five other bishops will join the Stewards on their annual pilgrimage to the Vatican.

The Papal Foundation was founded in 1988 to provide sustainable financial support to the Holy Father and his witness in the world. Donations by individual Stewards and others fund an endowment. Income from that endowment in turn is used to assist the Pope in answering immediate needs worldwide while also building sustainable resources for the future. Funded projects are identified by the Holy See and selected by the Papal Foundation board of trustees.

For more information about the Papal Foundation and its grants, visit