Some Financial Data for 2019

In this section of Romana we periodically provide financial information regarding the previous year. In doing so, we also wish to express our gratitude for the help given by many benefactors who assist in the work of evangelization carried out by the Prelature of Opus Dei.

Moreover, we should also remember that the faithful of the Prelature are ordinary Catholics, mostly lay people, who carry out a professional work. They support themselves like any other citizen and, to the extent of their possibilities (after providing for their personal and family support), they assist the financial needs of the Prelature and the apostolic initiatives to which the Prelature offers spiritual guidance: a university, a school, a social initiative, a residence or a center where formative activities are given... The directors of the Prelature provide information about these initiatives, their needs and how to help out.

It was the explicit wish of the founder of Opus Dei (found in number 122 of the Statutes) that the Prelature not take on responsibility for the managerial, technical or financial aspects of these activities, nor that it be the owner of the goods used for the various apostolic activities, but that it limit itself to providing Christian leaven for these initiatives. It is up to the faithful of the Work, in keeping with their secular condition, to assume full responsibility for the apostolic initiatives they organize as citizens.

Therefore we need to distinguish the finances of the Prelature of Opus Dei from the independent financial functioning of these apostolic initiatives.

In any case, although in this bulletin the Prelature’s institutional financial information is limited to its central offices in Rome, data from some other regions is also included for illustrative purposes. In addition, information is offered on some of the apostolic initiatives that receive support from the faithful of the Prelature, as well as from cooperators and friends.

Finances of the Prelature

With regard to the Prelature as such, the faithful of Opus Dei and other benefactors offer alms and donations for the support and formation of its own clergy (cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 295, § 2), for the material functioning of the prelatic curia and the governing bodies in the various circumscriptions, and for financial assistance to needy persons. The Prelature accepts only those donations required to cover these needs, with the desire not to accumulate funds.

  1. Countries where the Prelature is present

In the circumscriptions where it is established, the economic responsibility of the Prelature is limited to the support of the clergy and the functioning of the seats of government. By way of example, the total expenses for the Region of Spain in 2019 (when it had 10 delegations) were 11.6 million euros distributed as follows: support of the priests: 5,3000,000 euros (45.8% of the expenses); government and formation: 5,900,000 euros (50.5%, which covered personnel (3,600,000 euros), operation of the seats of government (1,700,000 euros), organization of formational activities (400,000 euros), miscellaneous (100,000 euros) and charitable aid (400,000 euros, 3.7%)). In order to meet these needs, total income was 12,000,000 euros, and practically all of it (99.4%) came from donations from the faithful of that circumscription.

  1. Curia of the Prelature and interregional formation centers in Rome

In 2019, the operating expenses of the central offices of Opus Dei were 1,750,200 euros, corresponding to:

  • Maintenance of the property (buildings included in the triangle formed by viale Bruno Buozzi, via di Villa Sacchetti and via Domenico Cirillo): 578,000 euros.

  • Expenses for consumption and assistance of those who take part in the work of the curia: 960,200 euros.

  • Administrative expenses (including expenses of the curia offices, the communications office, legal advice, alms, travel, etc.): 221,000 euros.

Next to the seat of the Prelatic Curia are the Roman College of the Holy Cross and the Roman College of Holy Mary, interregional centers for theological and spiritual formation, for men and women respectively. The Roman College of the Holy Cross is also the seat of the Prelature’s international seminary. With about 150 students, its financial outlay in 2019 was 2,000,000 euros. The Roman College of Holy Mary has about 100 women students from more than 20 countries. Its financial outlay was 1,005,000 euros. Both centers are supported by contributions from the faithful of the Prelature from all the circumscriptions.

Financial functioning of the apostolic initiatives to which the Prelature offers spiritual assistance

These initiatives are educational and social institutions of a civil nature, brought forward by members of Opus Dei together with many other people. The Prelature takes responsibility for the pastoral care and Christian orientation, through an agreement with the promoters of each one. The juridical and financial concerns of these initiatives are the responsibility of their directors (associations, foundations, social cooperatives, etc.) and the civil juridical entity that owns them, set up for this purpose. They are of course subject to the laws and regulations of each country, and report their financial results in accordance with the principles of transparency established by law and by their own statutes.

Each entity has its own governing bodies and is autonomous. That is to say, it has a clearly identifiable ownership and does not depend on the Prelature for its management or organization.

They are financially sustained thanks to the income generated through their own activities (for example, the payment of tuition fees at a university) and, in many cases, also thanks to private donations and public subsidies in accord with their purpose, as they are initiatives of social, educational and cultural interest.

As already mentioned, the directors of the Prelature inform the people of the Work and others about how to assist these initiatives. At the same time, they also ensure that the conditions for the correct management of goods are in place (seriousness, temperance, transparency, etc.), and that the laws and fiscal obligations are fulfilled.

The faithful of the Prelature also help out, to the extent of their possibilities, with the needs of the diocese and parish where they live. For example, through the regular collections for the missions (Domund), for Caritas, for the support of the diocesan seminary, and others that arise throughout the year to alleviate hunger or other basic needs. Many of them take part in other civil organizations dedicated to caring for the needy: soup kitchens, food banks, support associations for single mothers, medical clinics for the needy, etc.

In this issue of Romana we include, by way of example, data on some institutions of this type taken from their financial reports: Eastlands College of Technology, the University of the Andes, the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and some social assistance institutions. In subsequent issues of Romana, information on other institutions on various continents will be included for illustrative purposes. All the above-mentioned initiatives have authorized the publication of their data in this bulletin.

Eastlands College of Technology (ECT) is a vocational training center located in an industrial area of Nairobi, Kenya. Students receive high quality vocational training in plumbing, electronics, computer science, mechanics and other vocational areas, as can be seen at www.ect.ac.ke. The dual apprenticeship system combines face-to-face education (classrooms and workshops) with internships in factories in Nairobi, where many of these young people will end up working. In 2019, ECT had an income equivalent to 526,829 euros (21% of the income came from student fees, 22% from scholarships supported by companies associated with the project, 46% from donations from public and private entities for scholarships or workshop equipment, 9% as a grant from the Strathmore Trust – of which ECT is a part – and 3% from donations and services). In expenses, 390,277 euros were allocated to the day-to-day operation of the center, and the rest to the improvement and expansion of the facilities.

The University of the Andes (Santiago, Chile) publishes its annual financial report on its institutional website (www.uandes.cl). In 2019, the financial outlay of all its faculties, the university clinic and the business school was 162,000,000 euros. For further details, please consult its website.

The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Rome, Italy) offers five higher education degrees and other courses related to Theology, Philosophy, Canon Law and Communications. The students include lay people and religious from every continent, as well as diocesan priests from all over the world, sent by their bishops to obtain licentiate and doctoral degrees. The University’s website publishes an annual financial and income statement: www.pusc.it/info/bilanci.

The 2019 annual report records an income that year of 11,631,000 euros (71% of which came from donations from benefactors from around the world), and 11,909,000 euros in expenses, with a negative accounting result of 278,000 euros, covered by a decrease in the University’s endowment fund. Regarding aid for the formation of priests, it is worth mentioning that the foundations related to the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross – thanks to thousands of donors – granted this year around 1,900,000 euros in scholarships for 215 students, coming from needy countries whose bishops cannot afford to pay the full cost.

Social and charitable initiatives

Among the social assistance initiatives promoted by faithful of the Prelature are many that provide services to the needy sectors of society. By way of illustration, in 2019, the NGO Harambee International (born during the canonization of St. Josemaría Escrivá to encourage educational projects in Sub-Saharan Africa) collected 558,068 euros for projects in Africa, including Lwannunda Community Development Initiative (to strengthen women’s entrepreneurship in the Masaka district of Uganda) and a project in Rwanda to offer professional training to young mothers in the districts of Kigali, Butare and Ruhengeri, and thus help them find employment in small businesses (in cooperation with the National Secretariat for Catholic Education and the Rwandan Bishops’ Conference). Detailed information is available at www.harambee-africa.org.

Romana, n. 70, January-December 2020, p. 128-131.

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