- Candace Neff Director
News & Press Releases
In an effort to provide those who visit this site with up-to-date information regarding events or stories of interest happening within the diocese, the Secretariat for Communications researches and prepares articles and news releases.
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"Share in the Care" of Retired Religious
The 24th annual collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious is taken up in dioceses across the country, including the Diocese of Gaylord, on the second Sunday of December each year.. Sponsored by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) in Washington, D.C., the collection asks Catholics to Share in the Care of more than 34,000 women and men religious who are fully retired and in need of our support so they may live out the remaining years of their life with dignity and appropriate health care.
In a letter to parish leaders announcing this years collection, St. Chris Herald, OP, Coordinator for the National Religious Retirement Appeal in the Diocese of Gaylord, noted, While retirement may sound like a wonderful thing, most of those who benefit from this collection would find the concept of retirement foreign to them. Does anyone who has given their life to the Lords vineyard ever really retire?, she asked. In the declining years of their life they continue to pray for us who still actively labor for the sake of the Gospel. Their suffering and their prayers are offered to the Lord for all of us so that we might continue the great works them so proudly rendered in their youth.
The real challenge for many religious communities is a lack of retirement savings, explained NRRO Executive Director Sister Janice Bader, a member of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of OFallon, Missouri. Most senior religious worked for years for small stipends. There were no retirement plans.
As religious continue to age, fewer members are able to serve in compensated ministry, leading to a sharp decrease in income. By 2019, National Religious Retirement Office data projects that retired religious will outnumber wage-earning religious by nearly four to one.
When the collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious began 21 years ago the Gaylord diocese, on a per capita basis, was in the forefront of giving to this special collection. It is one of only a very few special collections specifically taken up in parishes and does not receive funding through the annual diocesan Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). Last year, the faithful of the Diocese of Gaylord contributed $171,665.02 to the collection which marked an increase from the previous year. Ninety-three cents of every dollar raised directly aids elderly religious.
As I look at the financial report, according to dioceses throughout the United States, it is obvious that our people truly appreciate the work of the good Sisters, Brothers and religious order Priests who worked so hard to make these people who they are today, Sr. Chris added. Our little diocese ranked third among all dioceses in the state of Michigan in gifts to the Retirement Fund for Religious. That speaks well for us and I hope everyone will keep up the good work.
You are invited to Share in the Care by contributing to the Retirement Fund for Religious Collection. Envelopes are available from your parish or you can donate online by clicking on the "Make a Gift" link on the left of this page. Please indicate that the donation is for the RFR Collection.
For more information on the work of the National Religious Retirement Office, log on to their website.