Annual ‘Share in the Care’ Collection benefits elderly nuns, brothers, and priests

Diocese contributes to collection through United Catholic Stewardship
WASHINGTON – The annual Retirement Fund for Religious national collection will be taken up in most U.S. parishes Dec. 12-13. The collection theme is ‘Share in the Care.’ The Catholic Diocese of Wichita contributes to this collection through United Catholic Stewardship.
Now in its 22nd year, the collection is coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office in Washington and benefits thousands of elderly women and men religious whose communities lack adequate funding for retirement.
“The collection has been the most successful campaign in the history of the Church in the United States, which is testimony to the gratitude many feel for the services they have received from religious orders,” said Sister Janice Bader, a Sister of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, Missouri, and NRRO executive director.
“I am continually heartened by the overwhelming generosity of Catholics to this fund each year,” she said. “Even in these difficult financial times, Catholics across the nation find a way to give back to the women and men religious who sacrificed so much for our Church and our world.”
The 2008 collection drew over $28.2 million. Since 1988, Catholics have donated nearly $589 million to the annual appeal. Approximately 95 percent of these donations are distributed almost immediately to support the care of senior religious.
The 2008 appeal, for example, enabled the National Religious Retirement Office to distribute over $23 million to 483 religious institutes. These funds supplemented the day-to-day care of elder religious and helped religious institutes implement long-range retirement strategies. The NRRO also distributed close to $3 million in targeted financial assistance to support self-help projects, such as collaborative health care facilities, initiated by religious institutes.
The retirement crisis developed as demographics of religious institutes changed so that now there are more elderly than younger members. The problem has been compounded by skyrocketing health care costs. Today, there are more than 35,000 women and men religious over age 70, and more than 5,500 religious require skilled care.
Historically, older religious worked for years for small stipends, with surplus income reinvested in their ministries, such as schools and social service agencies. Retirement was not a priority in the past when there were enough younger members to care for older ones.
Over the next 10 to 15 years, the number of religious age 25 to 74 is expected to decrease sharply. With this decline, the income of religious institutes will drop precipitously.

Want to send a little bit more?
The contribution to this collection from the Catholic Diocese of Wichita is made possible through the United Catholic Stewardship process. Perhaps you wish to send a special gift that will be added to what is contributed from the diocese. If so, you can send the check for your special gift in care of Bryan Coulter at the Chancery Office, 424 N. Broadway, Wichita, KS 67202. Please make the check payable to the Catholic Diocese of Wichita and indicate the specific collection in the memo area of your check. Thank you for sharing with our less fortunate brothers and sisters.