Diocese to hold collection to aid Catholic aging religious

On Dec. 10-11, the Diocese of Raleigh will hold the annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection in parishes throughout the diocese. Coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) in Washington, D.C., the annual appeal benefits elderly Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests whose religious congregations lack adequate retirement funding. Last year, parishioners in the diocese donated $205,433.58 to the collection.

"The care of our aging religious presents an enormous financial responsibility," NRRO Executive Director Sister Stephanie Still, a member of the Sisters of the Presentation of San Francisco, said about the upcoming collection. "It is our privilege to care for those who gave a lifetime of tireless service, and I feel we are deeply blessed by all the U.S. Catholic donors who have steadfastly contributed to this fund."

Historically, Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests—known collectively as women and men religious—served for little to no pay. With rising health-care expenses, hundreds of U.S. religious communities face a large gap between the needs of their older members and the funds available to support their care.

In a letter to the faithful, Bishop Luis Zarama encouraged support for the collection.

"In these difficult days, you may feel as though your generosity has been exhausted," Bishop Luis wrote. "I ask just two things. First, please join me in praying for God's protection for all our elderly religious. Second, please support the Retirement Fund for Religious collection as you are able—and know that women and men religious across the country hold you and your loved ones in grateful prayer."

Read the full letter from Bishop Luis (PDF).

The 2021 appeal raised nearly $28.5 million, and the NRRO distributed funding to 271 U.S. religious communities. Donations also underwrite resources that help religious communities improve elder care and plan for long-term retirement needs.

For more information, visit retiredreligious.org.