Retirement Fund for Religious

Dear Fellow Parishioners:
This weekend (Dec. 12/13) we celebrate countless men and women religious through the annual collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious. As I reflect back on my life I realize how many religious sisters, brothers and priests have helped guide my formation. I/we have truly been blessed to have had these dedicated individuals serve our Catholic Church. Now in their retirement years they need our support. I encourage everyone to be generous in support of this second collection. Below is more information provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Advent Blessings,
Father Brian


In 1988, Catholic bishops of the United States launched the Retirement Fund for Religious (RFR) to address the significant lack of retirement funding for Catholic sisters, brothers, and priests in religious orders. The National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO), formerly the Tri-Conference Retirement Office, was established to coordinate the annual collection and to distribute the proceeds of this collection to religious communities in need.

The crisis in retirement funding can be attributed to three primary factors: insufficient retirement savings, rising health-care costs, and declining income. Traditionally, women and men religious worked for small stipends that furnished only the basics of daily living. As a result, a majority of religious communities now lack adequate savings for retirement. At the same time, the cost of care continues to increase, especially as older religious both outnumber younger religious and are living longer. Since 2009, the total cost of care for senior religious has exceeded $1 billion annually.

Currently, the income of younger religious supports a large portion of elder-care expenses. In the coming years, however, this will no longer be the case as more religious reach retirement age and leave compensated ministry. By 2023, religious past age 70 will outnumber those under age 70 by roughly four to one.

The annual appeal for the Retirement Fund for Religious, which is taken up each December in most U.S. Catholic parishes, provides vital support to religious communities in meeting current and future retirement needs. Since 1989, the NRRO has distributed over $660 million to religious communities across the nation, including almost $586 million to help underwrite the direct care of elderly religious. More than $74 million has supported efforts by religious communities to stabilize retirement savings and to develop comprehensive retirement strategies.

Over 93 percent of donations to the RFR aid senior religious; roughly seven percent are used for administrative expenses.
In addition to sponsoring the annual appeal, the National Religious Retirement Office offers assessment tools, educational programming, services, and resources that enable religious communities to evaluate and prepare for long-term retirement needs. The office also coordinates an extensive network of volunteer consultants, including experts in elder care and financial planning, to help religious communities plan for the ongoing care of senior members.

The NRRO is sponsored by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

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