A special collection to benefit the Retirement Fund for Religious was taken up during Masses in parishes across the Diocese of Trenton on Dec. 9 and 10.
This year’s retirement collection will prove a continuing comfort to the more than 300 retired Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests who live and serve within the four counties of the Diocese. Men and women religious in the Diocese serve mostly in the ministries of education, health care and social services. The Diocese’s retired religious are among more than 32,000 men and women who dedicated their lives to serving faithful around the United States in orders whose communities lack retirement savings.
In 2016, the faithful in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties generously donated $328,710.80 to the fund, which was the second highest amount collected among the five New Jersey arch/dioceses. Of that donation, $10,254 was allocated for direct support to the Monastery of St. Clare, Chesterfield. Learn more about retired religious in the Diocese of Trenton in this story from The Monitor.
The Catholic bishops of the United States initiated the collection in 1988 to address the significant lack of retirement funding among U.S. religious communities. Proceeds help underwrite retirement and health-care expenses. Nearly 95 percent of the donations directly support senior religious and their communities. The annual, parish-based appeal is coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office.
While support from the Retirement Fund for Religious has helped many religious communities to stabilize retirement accounts, hundreds of others continue to lack sufficient resources to fully provide for older members. Most senior religious worked for little to no pay, leaving their religious communities with inadequate retirement savings.
At the same time, religious communities are challenged by the rising cost of care. Last year, the average annual cost of care for senior religious was $42,000 per person, while skilled care averaged more than $63,000, according to NRRO data. In 2016, the total cost of care for women and men religious past age 70 exceeded $1.2 billion.
Last year, nationwide, the appeal raised $30.7 million and marked the second year in a row that contributions exceeded $30 million. As a result, the NRRO distributed $25 million to 390 religious congregations.
Learn more about the Retirement Fund for Religious and make a donation, HERE.