Washington D.C., Jun 20, 2013 / 02:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- More than $20 million has been distributed to U.S. religious communities to help care for their elderly and retired members this year.
“We continue to be humbled and overwhelmed by the generosity of Catholics across the nation who faithfully support our senior religious each year,” said Sister Janice Bader, a member of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O'Fallon, Mo., who serves as executive director of the National Religious Retirement Office.
“With this support, many religious communities have been able to transform their retirement crises into manageable concerns.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced on June 18 that the National Religious Retirement Office recently distributed $23 million to 439 religious communities throughout the country to help support retired priests, nuns and brothers.
The money comes from the national Retirement Fund for Religious collection, held every year in dioceses throughout the country. Last December, the collection raised $29 million for elderly religious.
The lack of retirement benefits in many religious communities has led to financial difficulties in the retirement and elder care of men and women religious in the U.S.
Religious communities must support their own senior members, and money from the Retirement Fund for Religious serves each year to supplement communities’ savings and income, as well as government programs including Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.
The retirement fund was founded in 1988 by U.S. bishops to help support retired members of religious communities. The collection and distribution of funds is managed by the National Religious Retirement Office.
The funding will go to help fill needs such as prescription medications and nursing care for communities throughout the United States.