Annual collection for retired clergy to fill a dire need

However the challenges are addressed, Knutsen said, the annual collection is “a huge part of it.”

“The collection has been around since 1988,” he said. “It’s an enormous source of support for them as well, and it’s only possible because so many generous donors have been so steadfast in their support of this collection over the years.”

The USCCB in its press release this month noted that, traditionally, Catholic religious have “dedicated their lives to Church ministries such as parishes, schools, and health care institutions, usually with little to no compensation.”

“Consequently, a significant number currently have insufficient retirement funds, combined with escalating health care costs,” the press release said.

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The U.S. bishops established the Retirement Fund for Religious collection, the press release noted, to “address this serious retirement funding need among U.S. religious orders.” Last year the NRRO raised more than $27 million to that end.

Catholics in the U.S. have donated nearly $1 billion to the fund since its inception, the bishops said; more than $800 million has been “distributed to support the day-to-day care of thousands of elderly sisters, brothers, and religious order priests.”

Knutsen said religious men and women “have been, and continue to be, on the front lines in so many ways, serving everyone, and they deserve to be cared for in their elder years.”  

“By supporting the Retirement Fund for Religious through the annual parish collection,” he said, “we can show our appreciation for the lifetimes of service given by senior religious and gratefully recognize their great dedication to the communities in which they served.”

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