PORTLAND---On the weekend of December 9-10, parishioners and community members in the Diocese of Portland will have the opportunity to give to those who have given a lifetime.
A special collection will be held during all Masses in Maine churches for the Retirement Fund for Religious. The annual appeal benefits over 32,000 elderly Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests.
In 2016, the faithful of the Diocese of Portland gave over $116,000 to the fund.
“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. “These women and men have chosen to strive with the commitment of their lives 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 and encourage all who are able to contribute generously to this important fund.”
Traditionally, Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests (known collectively as religious) served for small stipends that did not include retirement benefits. Today, hundreds of religious communities lack sufficient retirement savings.
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.
“We are humbled and profoundly grateful for the love and support of Catholics across the nation,” said Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, the executive director of the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) in Washington, D.C. “I visit many religious communities and see the good works that members young and old provide. Generosity to the annual collection ensures our office can furnish support to help these communities care for older members while continuing their ministries and witness.”
For more information about the collection or the NRRO, click here.