ALLOUEZ — The Diocese of Green Bay will hold the Retirement Fund for Religious collection Dec. 11-12. The parish-based appeal is coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Green Bay. Proceeds help religious communities across the country to care for aging members. In Green Bay, the collection also supports senior priests of the diocese.
Last year, the diocesan collection for senior priests raised $190,737 and the retired religious collection raised $176,211, according to Tammy Danz, Bishop’s Appeal director. “Supporting this collection is a beautiful way for us to give back to those who have given so much through their ministries at our Catholic schools, parishes, hospitals and more,” she said.
There are 90 senior priests who receive retirement funds, according to the Catholic Foundation. The average priest receives $1,471 from the priests’ retirement fund.
Nationally, the 2020 appeal raised $20.7 million, and funding was distributed to 321 U.S. religious communities.
The Franciscan Friars Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province, based in Franklin, Wis., and the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity from Manitowoc received a combined total of $411,595.36 in financial support made possible by the national Retirement Fund for Religious.
“Hundreds of U.S. religious communities face a large gap between the needs of their older members and the funds available to support them,” according to the NRRO. “Historically, Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests — known collectively as women and men religious — served for little to no pay. As a result, many communities now lack adequate retirement savings.”
NRRO data shows that 26,330 women and men religious in the United States are older than age 70. The total cost for their care exceeds $1 billion annually.
To help address the deficit in retirement funding among U.S. religious orders, Catholic bishops of the United States initiated the Retirement Fund for Religious collection in 1988. Since the first collection, U.S. Catholics have donated $919 million.
Distributions are sent to each eligible order’s central house and provide supplemental funding for necessities, such as medications and nursing care. Donations also underwrite resources that help religious communities improve eldercare and plan for long-term retirement needs.
Religious orders typically do not receive diocesan funding. They are financially autonomous and thus responsible for the support and care of all members.
Parishioners are able to donate to this retirement collection at their parish on the weekend of Dec. 11-12, or a gift may be made through the Catholic Foundation online at catholicfoundationgb.org/give.