Nearly £100,000 has so far been contributed to Cardinal Hume's special appeal designed to reduce the Westminster diocese £6m debt.
Mgr Ralph Brown, Westminster's vicar-general who has been largely responsible for organising the appeal, said this week that he was astounded by the generosity and the great sacrifices made by so many of the people who could least afford it.
Donations have ranged from £1,600 raised by the Holy Cross Church, Parsons Green, which has an average mass attendance of only 600, many of whom are elderly, to £5 donated by a senior citizen who was saving it as a nest egg but decided the Cardinal needed it more. More unusual donations have included three Australian dollars from a Poor Clare Convent in Australia.
More than a third of the secular priests of the diocese have already sent personal cheques to the Cardinal and the appeal is expected to raise additional funds in the coming months as many congregations are waiting until the Cardinal visits their parish so they can present him with their collection personally.