Collection this weekend for Retirement Fund for Religious


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

In 1988, Catholic bishops of the United States launched the Retirement Fund for Religious to address retirement funding for Catholic sisters, brothers and priests in religious orders. The National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO), formerly the Tri-Conference Retirement Office, was established to coordinate the annual collection and to distribute the proceeds to religious communities. The collection will take place today and Sunday in the Diocese of Youngstown.

The Diocese of Youngstown contributed $322,213.96 to the last collection. In 2016, the Antonine Sisters, Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration, Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Mark and the Ursuline Sisters 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.

The deficit in retirement funding can be attributed to three primary factors: insufficient retirement savings, rising health-care costs and declining income. Traditionally, women and men religious worked for low pay. Today, a majority of religious orders lack adequate savings for retirement. The cost of care continues to increase, especially as older religious both outnumber younger religious and are living longer. Since 2009, the total cost of care for religious past age 70 has exceeded $1 billion annually. NRRO data notes there are more than twice as many religious past age 70 as younger. By 2026, it is projected that religious past age 70 will outnumber those younger than 70 by roughly 4 to 1. Income will continue to decline as more religious reach retirement age and leave compensated ministry.

The annual appeal for the Retirement Fund for Religious, which is taken up each December in most U.S. Catholic parishes, provides vital support to religious communities in meeting current and future retirement needs. Since 1989, the NRRO has distributed $745 million to communities across the nation, including almost $659 million to help underwrite the direct care of elderly religious. More than $86 million has supported efforts by religious congregations to stabilize savings and to develop comprehensive retirement strategies. Roughly 95 percent of donations to the Retirement Fund for Religious aid senior religious.

The NRRO is sponsored by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Visit www.retiredreligious.org for more information. The annual collection is coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO), the parish-based appeal benefits nearly 33,000 senior Catholic sisters, brothers and religious-order priests whose communities lack retirement savings.

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