The Retirement Fund for Religious helps
religious communities care for senior members—today and tomorrow.
Message from Bishop Sullivan in support of the collection
The 30th appeal for the Retirement Fund for Religious will be held Dec. 9 – 10 in the Diocese of Camden. Coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO), the parish-based appeal benefits some 32,000 senior Catholic sisters, brothers and priests in religious orders.
Catholic bishops of the United States initiated the collection in 1988 to help address the deficit in retirement savings among the nation’s religious congregations. Proceeds are distributed to eligible congregations to help underwrite retirement and health-care expenses. Roughly 94 percent of donations aid elderly religious.
“We continue to be amazed and grateful for the outpouring of support for senior religious and their communities,” said Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, the NRRO’s executive director.
The 2016 appeal raised more than $30 million. The NRRO distributed $25 million in financial assistance to 390 religious communities across the country. Religious communities combine this funding with their own income and savings to meet a host of eldercare needs, including medications and nursing care. Throughout the year, additional funding is allocated to provide expanded assistance to religious communities with significant retirement-funding deficits. A portion of the proceeds also supports education in retirement planning and eldercare delivery.
The Diocese of Camden contributed $201,158.17 to the last collection. In 2016, the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy, Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Infant Jesus and the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception received financial assistance made possible by the Retirement Fund for Religious. Women and men religious who serve or have served in the diocese but whose communities are based elsewhere may also benefit from the annual appeal.
While support from the Retirement Fund for Religious has helped many religious communities to stabilize retirement accounts, hundreds of others continue to lack sufficient resources to fully provide for older members. Most senior religious worked for little to no pay, leaving their religious communities with inadequate retirement savings. At the same time, religious communities are challenged by the rising cost of care. Last year, the average annual cost of care for senior religious was $42,000 per person, while skilled care averaged more than $63,000, according to NRRO data. In 2016, the total cost of care for women and men religious past age 70 exceeded $1.2 billion.
Proceeds from the collection underwrite financial assistance, educational programming and hands-on consultation that help religious communities reduce funding deficits, enhance eldercare and plan for long-term needs. “Our goal is to help religious communities meet today’s retirement needs while preparing for the ones to come—so that religious young and old can continue to serve the People of God,” said Sister Still. (INFO FROM USCCB MEDIA RELATIONS)
More information is available at www.retiredreligious.org.