Vatican continues annual Christmas raffle for charity

An employee of the Vatican Post Office shows a ticket of the pope’s raffle at the Vatican in this 2015 file photo. Pope Francis is raffling off objects he has received as gifts in order to raise money for the poor. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis’ raffle to benefit those in need will give even more people a chance to win a gift once owned by the pope.

Announcing the fifth annual raffle Nov. 30, the Vatican said tickets would be available for purchase online and in several areas accessible to the public, such as the Vatican Museums’ bookshop and the Vatican post office or pharmacy.

Tickets also will be sold at the Paul VI audience hall to those attending the Dec. 16 Christmas charity concert.

“In this way, people will have an opportunity to make a double gesture of charity,” said a statement from the Vatican City State governor’s office.

For 10 euros — about $11 — ticket buyers are eligible to win one of several items originally given as gifts to Pope Francis.

“The pope — as he has done every year — has personally donated all the prizes,” the governor’s office said.

Seminarians Andrew Tsui, left, and Anthony Giacona spin a drum barrel filled with collection envelopes as sacristan Julio Batista looks on following Mass at St. John-Visitation Church in the Bronx borough of New York in this 2015 file photo. A special drawing was used to select parishioners who received tickets to Pope Francis’ Mass at Madison Square Garden in New York City Sept. 25. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

The proceeds of the annual raffle go directly to charitable causes chosen by the pope, the Vatican said. Unlike previous years, the Vatican did not announce any specific beneficiaries of the 2017 raffle.

Last year’s raffle benefited the homeless and victims of the earthquake that struck central Italy Aug. 24, 2016.

Tickets are available for purchase on the governor’s office website: www.vaticanstate.va. The winning tickets will be drawn Feb. 2 and published on the website as well.