Special Collection will benefit elderly sisters, brothers, and religious order priests

On the weekend of December 9-10, parishioners will have the opportunity to support elder religious men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving God and his people.

A special collection will be held during Masses in Maine churches for the Retirement Fund for Religious. The fund helps religious communities care for aging Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests, most of whom worked for little or no pay throughout their lives and have no pension plans or retirement accounts. More than 24,000 elder religious benefit from the fund.

“Throughout its history and to this day, the Diocese of Portland has benefited greatly from the dedicated service of sisters, brothers, and religious order priests. They established hospitals and worked in healthcare. They taught in schools. They served in parishes. Now, many of them need our help. Please consider giving generously,” said Bishop Robert Deeley.

In the United States, religious past age 70 outnumber those under age 70 by nearly three to one, and the annual cost to support senior women and men religious exceeds $1 billion, according to the National Religious Retirement Office.

The money from the fund goes to religious communities across the United States. It can be used for immediate expenses such as prescription medications and nursing care, or it can be invested for future use. The fund is also used to educate religious communities on how to best meet the immediate and ongoing needs of its aging members.

The bishops of the United States initiated the Retirement Fund for Religious in 1988. Since the launch of the collection, U.S. Catholics have donated over $975 million to the fund.

For more information about the collection or the NRRO, visit www.retiredreligious.org.