Vatican City, Sep 9, 2014 / 12:27 am .- Papal blessing certificates, often bought to mark weddings and first Communions, will soon only be available for purchase directly from the Vatican where the funds will be allocated to charity.
Come January 2015, local shops surrounding the Vatican will be prohibited from selling scrolls which have been blessed by the Pope.
Until now, shops have sold the scrolls to tourists and pilgrims for anywhere between 10 and 50 euros, with only three euros going to the Office of Papal Charities.
Last April, papal almoner Archbishop Kondrad Krajewski wrote a letter informing shopkeepers that the scrolls would no longer be available for purchase outside the Vatican. The reason given for this change, he wrote, was to “exercise charity toward the poor in the name of the Holy Father.”
Those wishing to purchase the certificates can contact the office of Papal Charities directly via fax, telephone or online. The proceeds will go to help those experiencing financial difficulties. According to an article in La Stampa, around 200,000 euros were donated to the poor over the past two months.