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placeholder Local charities
deliver holiday
season wish lists

CCHD collection
helps people to help themselves

Gifts for children,
no batteries needed

Filipino tradition celebrated in many
of our parishes

Cathedral celebrates African-American

Corpus Christi
School joins Green Apple initiative promoting
sustainable schools

Thanksgiving dinners to be served in the East Bay

Advent calendar
to be displayed at
Crèche Festival

Crèche Festival
Dec. 13-15

Our Lady of Guadalupe pilgrimage Dec. 7

Collection helps communities address retirement shortfall

the dead

Deacon Dave's lights go on Nov. 30

Annual Faith Formation Conference: Multicultural,
multilingual event

Family synod to be based on doctrine,
not public opinion

Secular Christmas seen as encroaching on Advent season

Volunteers sought
for youth detention

St. Leander Parish begins celebration
of its 150th year

become deacons

Alumnus visits

placeholder November 18, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 20   •   Oakland, CA
Collection helps communities
address retirement shortfall

The annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection will be held Dec. 7-8 in the Diocese of Oakland. Now in its 26th year, the collection is coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office in Washington, D.C., and benefits more than 34,000 senior Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests.

Last year, the Diocese of Oakland contributed $205,739.29 to this collection. In 2013, the Franciscan Friars received financial support made possible by the Retirement Fund for Religious. Additionally, women and men religious who serve or have served in the diocese but whose communities are based elsewhere may benefit from the annual appeal.

Retirement collection
Dec. 7-8, second collection to aid sisters, brothers, and religious order priests

More information:
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 are distributed to eligible communities to help underwrite retirement and health-care expenses. Since the collection began, Catholics have contributed $698 million. Over 93 percent of donations directly support senior religious and their communities.

"I am deeply grateful to the Catholics across the nation who faithfully support the Retirement Fund for Religious," said Precious Blood Sister Janice Bader, NRRO's executive director. "Their generosity allows our office to provide vital financial assistance to hundreds of religious communities each year."

The 2012 appeal raised $27 million and enabled the NRRO to distribute $23 million to 440 religious communities throughout the country. Communities utilize these funds to bolster retirement savings and to subsidize such day-to-day expenses as prescription medications and nursing care. The NRRO also allocated nearly $3.6 million to assist religious communities with the greatest needs and to promote ongoing education in retirement and elder-care delivery.

Despite the generosity to the collection, numerous religious communities struggle to provide adequate care. In the past, Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests — known collectively as women and men religious — served for small stipends that did not include retirement benefits. Their sacrifices now leave their religious communities without adequate savings for retirement. Of 548 communities submitting data to the NRRO in 2012, only 8 percent were fully funded for retirement.

The rising cost of care compounds funding difficulties. Last year, the average annual cost of care for senior religious was more than $38,000 a person, while skilled care averaged more than $57,000. The total cost of care for senior women and men religious was over $1.1 billion in 2012 alone.

At the same time, the number of religious needing care is on the rise. In 2012, 61 percent of the religious communities providing data to the NRRO had a median age of 75 or older. Accompanying the higher median age is a decrease in the number of religious able to serve in compensated ministry. By 2023, the NRRO projects that retired religious will outnumber wage-earning religious by four to one.

"As the number of wage-earning religious drops, so does income," said Sister Bader. "Our mission is to help religious communities prepare for the dramatic income reduction that will accompany this demographic shift."

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