PORTLAND---On the weekend of December 9-10, parishioners and community members in the Diocese of Portland donated $113,435 during a special collection held in Maine churches as well as churches across the country for the Retirement Fund for the Religious.
The annual appeal conducted by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) benefits over 32,000 elderly Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests. In total, the collection in U.S. parishes in December generated over $28 million in donations.
“Our mission is to provide financial support and educational assistance that enable religious communities to meet eldercare needs while developing long-range retirement strategies,” said Sister Stephanie Still, PBVM, the NRRO’s executive director. “We are profoundly grateful to the donors across the nation whose generosity and prayers sustain these efforts.”
In 1988, Catholic bishops of the United States launched the Retirement Fund for Religious to address the significant lack of retirement funding among religious communities. Traditionally, Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests (known collectively as religious) served for small stipends that did not include retirement benefits. Communities utilize these funds to bolster retirement savings and subsidize expenses, such as prescription medications and nursing care. In addition to providing assistance for day-to-day needs, collection proceeds underwrite initiatives to help religious communities address the factors underlying their retirement shortfalls. These efforts have facilitated solutions such as collaborative care facilities, strategic partnerships with providers of healthcare, and numerous cost-saving measures.
“Like the universal Church, our Church in Maine has been touched by the many women and men in religious life who have offered prayers for the people of the diocese and ministered to all in education, healthcare, social services, pastoral ministry, and religious education within parishes, healthcare facilities, schools and social service agencies,” said Bishop Robert P. Deeley. “With the commitment of their lives, these women and men have chosen to follow Jesus and we are constantly renewed by the lives of those who continue to witness. I want to express my profound thanks to them for responding to the call of the Lord to serve the Church as well as to all of the donors who contributed to this important fund.”
For more information about the NRRO, including ways to donate, click here.