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11/6/2012 9:54:00 AM
Collection to benefit retired religious
Benedictine Foundation photo
Mount Angel Benedictine Sisters aged 90 and older as of last year. An upcoming collection aids retired religious.
Benedictine Foundation photo
Mount Angel Benedictine Sisters aged 90 and older as of last year. An upcoming collection aids retired religious.

The Archdiocese of Portland will take up the annual collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious the weekend of Dec. 8-9.

The annual collection provides supplemental financial support for almost 34,000 retired priests, sisters and brothers in U.S. religious orders. The annual collection was launched by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1988 to address the lack of retirement funding for many religious orders. The National Religious Retirement Office coordinates the collection and distributes the proceeds to religious communities in need.

Three women's religious communities and four communities of religious men within the Archdiocese of Portland benefited from the Retirement Fund through grants in 2012. A combined total of almost $480,000 went to the Benedictine Sisters of Mount Angel, the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows in Beaverton, and the Holy Names Sisters in Marylhurst. Religious orders of men receiving retirement grants were the Benedictines in St. Benedict, the Trappists of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Lafayette, the Jesuits in Portland and the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit.

Church officials attribute the crisis in retirement funding for religious to three factors: insufficient retirement savings, rising health care costs and declining income within the orders. The total cost for care of senior Religious in the U.S. has topped $1 billion for each of the past three years.

In addition to sponsoring the annual appeal, the National Religious Retirement Office helps religious communities prepare for long-term retirement needs. The office also coordinates an extensive network of volunteer consultants, including experts in elder care and financial planning.

Last year Catholics in the Archdiocese of Portland contributed more than $170,000 to support retired Religious.  

"Parishioners are encouraged to again be generous in their support the weekend of Dec. 8-9," archdiocesan officials say. "Religious orders have made great contributions to this archdiocese since our founding, and they continue to play a large role in the ministry of the Church in western Oregon. Parishioner support for the Retirement for Religious collection is greatly appreciated."  

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