Some Financial Data for 2022
In this section of Romana we periodically gather financial information corresponding to 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 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 Opus Dei provide information about these initiatives, their needs and how to help out.
It was the explicit wish of the founder of Opus Dei (reflected 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.
a) Curia of the Prelature in Rome
In 2022, the operating expenses of Opus Dei’s central offices amounted to €2,201,674, broken down as follows:
1. Maintenance of the buildings (buildings in the triangle formed by viale Bruno Buozzi, via di Villa Sacchetti and via Domenico Cirillo): €878,362. This amount has been increased due to some planned renovations of the oldest building. The amount does not include the investment in the renovations of the central offices, which are described below.
2. Expenses for the consumption and assistance of those who assist in the work of the Prelatic Curia: €1,143,226. This item includes a provision for the future support of people who work in these tasks and the payment of salaries for the people hired by the Prelature.
3. Administrative expenses (including expenses of the curia offices, the communications office, legal advice, alms, travel, etc.): €180,086. This amount is less than the previous year because some expenses are now included in the preceding item.
In 2022, work continued on the renovation of the building known as Casa del Vicolo (part of Villa Tevere, the Prelature’s central offices), which was reported on in issue no. 73 of Romana. The goal is the total renovation of these facilities, which date back to the 1950s and have been replaced by more efficient and less energy-consuming ones. In addition, all the rooms in the building have been remodeled. For many years, this building was the site of the Roman College of the Holy Cross, where the students shared dormitories and common services. Among other things, the renovation has made it possible to readapt the rooms and better optimize the spaces. The investment earmarked for this purpose in 2022 has increased to €4,060,000.
In addition, at the end of 2021, work began on a new building for the central offices (also described in more detail in issue no. 74 of the bulletin), in the corner formed by via di Villa Sacchetti and via Domenico Cirillo. The cost of this work (which will be spread over several years) was €4,380,000 in 2022. In both cases, the expenses have been covered by donations from the faithful and friends of the Prelature, set aside for this purpose over the years.
b) Countries in which the Prelature is present
In the circumscriptions where it is established, the financial responsibility of the Prelature is limited to the support of its own clergy, the functioning of the seats of government and the assistance of needy persons. The regions of the Prelature are financially autonomous and therefore there is no consolidation of accounts, although they all function under the same principle of not accumulating more funds than are necessary to cover the purposes indicated above.
By way of example, the total expenses of the Prelature in the region of Colombia and Ecuador during the year 2022 amounted to 3,383,940 (USD), distributed as follows: $509,791 (15.1%) for the support of priests and formation projects; $1,447,940 (42.8%) for the operation of the centers; $562,591 (16.6%) for administrative expenses; and $377,803 (11.2%) for the acquisition of material means needed for formational activities. In addition, $485,815 (14.3%) was spent on social and charitable projects. These expenses were financed by donations made by the faithful of this region, which totaled $3,270,727 (96.6%), as well as financial returns of $73,205 (2.2%) and other income totaling $40,007 (1.2%). All financial transactions in Colombia were carried out in Colombian pesos (COP), using a conversion rate of 1 USD for 4.848 COP. It should also be noted that approximately 80% of these transactions took place in Colombian territory.
c) Other initiatives in Rome
The Roman College of the Holy Cross and the Roman College of Holy Mary are interregional centers for theological and spiritual formation, for men and women respectively, with their own structures. The Roman College of the Holy Cross is also the seat of the international seminary of Opus Dei. With about 130 students, its financial turnover in 2021 was €2,457,586. The Roman College of Holy Mary had 79 women students from 30 different countries. The financial turnover was €890,180. Both centers are supported by contributions from the faithful of all the circumscriptions.
Also in Rome is the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, which offers four higher education degrees related to theology, philosophy, canon law and communication. A good part of the students are seminarians studying sacred sciences before being ordained priests, diocesan priests sent by their bishops to obtain licentiate and doctoral degrees, and religious. They come from every continent. The University’s website publishes annual financial data for each fiscal year.
The 2022 annual report records an income of €11,615,152 (70% of which came from donations from institutions related to this university in various countries, which include donations from benefactors), while expenses amounted to €11,684,506, with a negative accounting result of €69,354 With regard to aid for the formation of priests, it is worth mentioning that the foundations connected with the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (thanks to thousands of donors) granted €1,900,433 during 2022 in scholarships for 238 students, coming from needy countries whose bishops cannot afford this expense.
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, 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 line 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 legal 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 draw attention, by way of example, to the financial reports of several institutions of this type: the Centro Educacional Assistencial Profissionalizante (Brazil) and the Fundação Maria Antónia Barreiro (Portugal). In subsequent issues of Romana, information on other institutions on various continents will be included for illustrative purposes. The above-mentioned initiatives have authorized the publication of their data in this bulletin.
CEAP (Centro Educacional Assistencial Profissionalizante) plays a crucial role in the integral development of young people between the ages of 10 and 18 in the Pedreira neighborhood in São Paulo, Brazil). It provides vocational training in emerging technologies, programming, robotics, business administration and audiovisual production. Each year these programs have an impact on the lives of 1,000 disadvantaged young people, who take these courses free of charge. Their innovative educational model is based on the active participation of parents and personalized attention to both students and their families. Thanks to these efforts, more than 70% of the graduates enter the job market within 3 months of completing the course, increasing their family income by around 40%, with a consequent positive social impact. In recent years, CEAP has concentrated its efforts on restructuring its administrative management. As a result, it has obtained a SROI (social return on investment) index of 300%, certified by Ernst & Young. CEAP has been ranked among the top 100 NGOs in Brazil in recent years and as the best Educational NGO in Brazil in 2019. All its respective financial data as of 2022 can be found in the “transparency” section of www.ceappedreira.org.br.
The Fundação Maria Antónia Barreiro (FMBA) is a private institution that supports human and cultural formation projects, either directly or in collaboration with other organizations. Within the scope of the partnership agreement signed with the Prelature of Opus Dei, the FMBA has three university residences in Lisbon, where Christian formation is also offered to those who wish it: the Álamos University Residence (for women), with 31 places; the Laranjeiras University Residence (for women), with 24 places; and the Montes Claros University Residence (for men), with 67 places. With these three initiatives, the Foundation aims to contribute to solving the problem of university accommodation in the Portuguese capital and facilitate the good academic performance and personal development of students, with the recognition of the city council and the educational authorities. In 2022, the total income of the three residences amounted to just over €919,000, of which about €25,500 (2.8%) were donations. Total expenses amounted to some €900,000. The positive result will be reinvested in its entirety in the improvement of the buildings. More information can be found at: www.fmabarreiro.pt.
Other solidarity and charity initiatives
The social assistance initiatives organized by faithful of the Prelature include many that provide services to the most disadvantaged sectors of society. By way of illustration, in the year 2022 the NGO Harambee Africa International (born during the canonization of St. Josemaría Escrivá to encourage educational projects in Sub-Saharan Africa) collected €523.982 to be used for initiatives promoted by African organizations, including the awarding of scholarships in various countries to 453 people (young people and university students, both men and women); support campaigns in response to the Covid emergency, especially for the benefit of the Centre Sanitaire Walé (Ivory Coast) and Monkole (Democratic Republic of Congo); support for school education in Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique; a rural development program in Upper Katanga (Democratic Republic of Congo), another for the vocational training of women in Uganda and finally one dedicated to the training of trainers in Liberia. Detailed information is available at www.harambee-africa.org.
Romana, n. 76, January-June 2023, p. 93-98.